Sun Devil Giving Stories: Kay A. Faris
Throughout her nearly 40 years at the university, Kay A. Faris held many roles of critical importance to student success. W. P. Carey interviewed Faris to learn more about the history of the school's emergency scholarship fund.
Throughout her nearly 40 years at the university, Kay A. Faris held many roles of critical importance to student success — from her first position as an academic advisor, to her time as W. P. Carey Undergraduate Dean from 2004 to 2015, and most recently as Senior Associate Dean for Students in the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU.
Faris officially retired in December 2021, and was soon after honored as the namesake of the W. P. Carey School's emergency scholarship fund, which she helped create. This fund has been and continues to be one of the top priorities for the school due to its tremendous direct-to-student impact — especially on Sun Devil Giving Day, Arizona State University's annual day of giving. W. P. Carey interviewed Faris to learn more about the history of this effort, and how she hopes to see the fund and scholarship continue to grow in the future.
What is the history of the undergraduate emergency fund?
Answer: Over my career at W. P. Carey, I worked with many students and was always focused on their success — and how to create the best experience for them. When I was the Undergraduate Dean, we were concerned about our students remaining in school and graduating. In 2014, we looked at the students who left because of emergency funding issues and what we could do to help.
We created a unique scholarship aimed at helping students with unexpected situations impacting their finances. Students plan, but sometimes emergencies arise and they need help immediately. This scholarship is unique because it isn't a loan that needs to be repaid and it is available every semester — not just during the traditional scholarship application season.
We proposed the idea and first began awarding scholarships out of this fund in 2015.
What impact have you seen the fund have in the past? How do you hope this continues in the future?
Since the beginning of this scholarship, we have awarded $144,420 to 89 students. This figure includes program fee funding since 2015 and private donor funding since 2019.
Of the 89 students awarded this scholarship, 91% are either still enrolled or have graduated. That makes all of us feel very good. I truly hope that this scholarship will continue so we can help even more students.
It is also amazing to see people who have developed a practice of giving back. They were the beneficiaries of scholarship that made a difference in their lives, and they want to do the same for students coming behind them. Giving small amounts on a regular basis really adds up. We appreciate every gift that is given, and it makes such a difference for our students.
How does it feel for this fund to be renamed in your honor?
It's unbelievable and an incredible honor especially since my primary focus has always been student success. I'm so glad that even though I am not involved in the day-to-day workings of the school, this scholarship will continue to support students for years to come.
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