Dr. Ken KetnerLouis E. Ketner Memorial Scholarship Endowment,
Ken Ketner School of Nursing Faculty Development Endowment

You Too Can Give, Just Follow Your Heart

By Danette Baker
Office of Institutional Advancement

There is not a lot of theology or deep thinking behind Ken Ketner’s giving–just the simple principle that if you feel it in your heart to do something, do it in whatever way you can.

Ketner, a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor and director of the Institute for Studies in Pragmaticism at Texas Tech’s College of Arts and Sciences, made his first gift to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences CenterSchool of Nursing 30 years ago and has given 25 years consecutively. His generosity now supports two endowments—one for student scholarships and the other for faculty sabbaticals.

He established the Louis E. Ketner Memorial Scholarship Endowment in his father’s memory. Ketner’s parents were both public school educators whose understanding of learning went beyond the transfer of information to their students.

“They were really always helping the whole person—educating the student as well as helping them become all they could be,” Ketner said. “An education is not just learning a fact you remember at one time; it’s a lifelong skill that you continually invest in. I see that same type of attitude in nurses. There’s more to it for them than just treating someone who gets sick.”

There was another group of nurses—the faculty—who also made an impression on Ketner. In the early 1990s, he became acquainted with some of the nursing professors at TTUHSC. As he got to know them, Ketner realized the tremendous role they have in educating those who would become clinical nurses and wanted to provide support for them as well.

So, he began the Ken Ketner School of Nursing Faculty Development Endowment. His goal is for the endowment to support nursing faculty on the university tradition of a sabbatical, a time for “recharging your batteries that give you a new spark for your career,” Ketner said. “It’s not a vacation; it’s truly a time to invest in your own lifelong education. It’s a time to stand down from the regular teaching and research duties and focus on something you can only do when you have that dedicated time.

“They (nursing professors) are busy as many of them also practice and they do research in addition to teaching. And then when they are presented with a need, they just find a way to add it to whatever they are already doing,” he said. “They always want to do more work and do more good. They are really an amazing group of people.”

Ketner has made a donation monthlystarting with $10 a monthincreasing over the years as his monthly budget allowed.

“It’s not about how much,” he said. “The principle of giving is that it comes from the heart.

“The Egyptians used to think way back in the ancient days that the heart was the seat of thought. If you had a hard thought it meant that you were a dogmatist in your thinkingyou were very fanatical and rigid and uncaring.

“They had a point. If your heart is hard in that sense, there will be stuff you won’t even notice. If you unharden your heart, then you can see what’s doable.”


texas tech university health sciences center
3601 fourth street STOP 6238
Lubbock, TX 79430-6238

(806) 743-2786
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