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JCCC Stories

For the love of his departed wife

February 10, 2017

Donor sets up scholarship for career programs

In life, Mindy Kampen was a study in perseverance, according to her husband, Dan. A memorial scholarship fund in her honor will help others overcome obstacles, too.

The gift funds scholarships for students interested in taking classes in Continuing Education (as opposed to credit classes).

That’s important because federal financial aid cannot be used for Continuing Education classes, yet certification programs for many in-demand careers (such as supply chain and transportation; health and human services; and computer applications) can launch students directly into the workforce.

“Many students need help paying for Continuing Education career programs. Unfortunately, our students don’t have the same financial aid opportunities as students pursuing degrees,” said Mike Souder, dean of Continuing Education. “Dan Kampen’s gift has opened up a whole new set of opportunities for students that lack the financial means to take these classes.”

Finding a fit

When Mindy died in 2013 at only 52 years old, Dan wanted to set up a memorial to honor her. He wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to do, so he called the Johnson County Community College Foundation.

Working with the Foundation “was a great experience,” Dan said. “It wasn’t just, ‘Give us the check;’ it was ‘What are you trying to accomplish, and how can we be of service to you?’”

When he heard about workforce development classes that help people learn marketable skills quickly, he knew he wanted to target the funds there. In a pilot program funded by the JCCC Foundation, before Kampen’s involvement, 20 people were helped, and of those, 19 found a job immediately.

Dan was able to read some of the letters from scholarship recipients. “When you get to read those letters, it becomes real. Here’s a newly single mother, no marketable skills, signed up (at JCCC) and worked hard, and now she’s got a career path. It doesn’t get any better than that,” he said.

Reflection of Mindy’s past

Dan said Mindy faced her own challenges in getting an education.

When Mindy was enrolled in her first year of college, her mother died of a heart attack, Dan explained. Her father had died when Mindy was just a toddler, so orphaned and devastated,

Mindy leaned on her church community to finish her degree. She accepted their support, but she also accepted her responsibility for her new independence.

Dan said he wanted the people benefitting from her memorial fund to have that same sense of responsibility for changing their lives.

“To have that drive, that tenacity, is something that Mindy demonstrates. She could have easily become the victim. She took advantage of financial aid, she reached out for support, and there were people who were there to help her every step of the way,” he said.

For more information

To learn more about Continuing Education scholarships, check online (where an application form is available) or call 913-469-3213. Applicants must show that they are in need of financial assistance.

To join Dan is supporting the Mindy Kampen Scholarship Fund, please contact the JCCC Foundation at (913) 469-3835.