KSU photojournalism program receives $3 million scholarship donation

Bruce Zake and Scott Galvin help photojournalism students learn how to develop a workflow at the FocalPoint meeting Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014.

Julia Kerchenski

Kent State’s photojournalism program unexpectedly received a donation of $3 million from Wallace J. Hagedorn to be used exclusively for photojournalism scholarships.

Although Hagedorn was never a student at the university, he took a photography class as a teenager at Kent State in 1941.

“It had a major impact on his life and now he has made a major impact on our students in photojournalism,” said Thor Wasbotten, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Hagedorn died in October 2013 and left Kent State $3 million to be used for the Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarships. Two each of photojournalism freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors will receive $5,000 scholarships each year. An additional $5,000 will be given to photo illustration students. A portion of the money will also be used to provide scholarships to cover travel expenses and other needs for photojournalism students.

“For a program like ours, that’s a lot of money,” said David LaBelle, director of the photojournalism program. “It’s not every day that someone gives three million dollars to a program.”

LaBelle said he hopes the scholarship money will allow students the opportunity to attend Kent State and join the program, as well as help students that are already here.

“I’m excited that we’re going to be able to recruit some of the best students in the country that can’t afford to go out of state,” LaBelle said.

Hagedorn donated $20,000 in scholarships two years ago but the school received no indication that he was going to donate again, Wasbotten said.

“Compared to other schools we compete with, we have less funding and we still do really well,” said Graham Smith, sophomore photojournalism major. “This could be really big. We can be even better.”

Contact Julia Kerchenski at [email protected].