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$2.8 Million Gift to Establish New Scholarships for KU Medical Students


The University of Kansas School of Medicine has received a gift of more than $2.8 million from a California couple to fund scholarships for some of its medical students.

The donation came from the estate of university alumni Alton Knechtel, who earned a degree in architectural engineering from KU, and his wife Helen Knechtel, who studied music at the school.

Alton passed away due to Alzheimer’s disease in 1984, while Mueller passed away in 2018.

“Alton’s medical condition was probably the reason the couple chose to leave the gift to the medical school,” Kimberley Price, a family friend of Knechtel’s for over 40 years, said in a statement. “She felt she could make an impact on more people in the long run by supporting students to become doctors.”

According to school officials, the gift will make a substantial difference in easing the financial burden of tuition on its medical students, who graduate with approximately $180,000 in debt on average.

“Scholarship funds truly make a difference to each recipient and help lighten their financial load while in medical school and beyond,” Dr. Mark Meyer, senior associate dean for student affairs at the School of Medicine, said.

Students entering the medical school who were in the top 10 percent of their premedical school class are eligible for receiving the scholarship, while eligibility for current students will be based on merit.

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