Mansdoerfers find comfort in working toward scholarship

ALBUQUERQUE – Katye Mansdoerfer will never get to graduate from Wayland Baptist University or teach in an elementary school. But her parents are hoping that a scholarship fund in her memory will make her dreams possible for other deserving students.

Katye was only 19 when she lost her life last October in an automobile accident just outside of Plainview, Texas. Though enveloped in grief, her parents, Ron and Stephanie Mansdoerfer of Albuquerque, almost immediately chose to set up a scholarship fund in Katye’s name and have spent the better part of a year working to get the fund to endowed status.

“We worked to endow a scholarship in my mother's name a few years back and felt positively about that experience,” said Ron. “Katye had a great love for Wayland, so it seemed obvious that we could do something for people in her name that would help others. Our goal was to support the things she supported and give the opportunity for others to fulfill the dreams she had for herself.”

For her funeral and well afterward, family, friends, fellow classmates and members of the Mansdoerfers’ church – Northdale Baptist Church in Albuquerque – have given generously to the scholarship fund. Even so, the fund lacks about $7,500 before it can hit the $25,000 mark and reach endowment status. At that time, the corpus of the account will be invested though the Baptist Foundation of Texas, and annual interest will be pulled to provide student scholarships.

Ron and Stephanie are admittedly anxious to get the fund endowed, making sacrifices of their own in order to see their daughter’s name live on in this special way and at a place that meant so much to Katye. Working to see the scholarship completed has helped them through the grieving process.

“It's our heart's desire for the scholarship to be available during what would have been Katye's senior year at Wayland, so that perhaps someone who knew her could benefit from it,” Ron said.

The Mansdoerfers know that projects such as the endowed scholarship fund require sacrificial giving and they deeply appreciate all those who are helping to make it a reality. As educators, they understand how precious funds can be to friends and family. Ron, a special education teacher for the past 24 years at Del Norte High School, is also pastor at Northdale Baptist Church. Stephanie has taught English at La Cueva High for the past 27 years. Their older daughter, Meg Shelton, graduated from Wayland in April 2005 and now teaches in Spring, Texas.

However, the family realizes that the sacrifices they and others make now will seem minimal when the scholarship reaches the point of being able to keep Katye’s legacy alive and helping others.

“Our love for Katye and her dreams and her love for Wayland drive a lot of this, and we want to aim at the things we know are near and dear to her heart,” Ron said. “Her dream lives on through this, and that’s essential for us.”

To make a donation to the Katye Mansdoerfer Scholarship Fund, contact the Office of Advancement at Wayland Baptist University at (806) 291-3425. Gifts are tax deductible to the extent the law allows.