Fargo, N.D. — Dr. Kwangsoo Park, associate professor in the College of Human Sciences and Education, has been appointed to the newly-established Anne Stegner Endowed Professorship and first endowed professorship in the College of Human Sciences and Education. Park, head of the apparel, merchandising, interior design, and hospitality management department, is the inaugural holder of the endowed professorship. He was honored in a virtual ceremony on Jan. 29, 2021.
Anne Stegner, who graduated from NDSU in 1949 with a degree in textiles and clothing, believed in higher education and recognized what NDSU would need to help students succeed in the future. She established a faculty endowment through a $500,000 bequest to advance the needs and aspirations of faculty and students, contributing to NDSU’s land-grant mission.
Anne served as a trustee for the NDSU Foundation and became the board’s first woman president in the late 1980s. She was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from NDSU in 1990 thanks to her meaningful contributions to the university and beyond.
“Thank you to those of you from Anne’s family who are able to join us today,” Park said during the ceremony. “I am so grateful for her gift and how it will continue to impact our department, college, and university.”
Park earned his master’s degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, and his Ph.D. in business administration from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His research challenges students, colleagues, and industry leaders to think differently about what it means to be accessible by analyzing the areas that need to be improved to better the experiences of people with disabilities and their caregivers.
“We want to create spaces and events centered around inclusive human interactions,” Park said. “Anne Stegner’s gift will help move my research, and all of us, forward.”
His interest in this research area began when one of his students asked a question about accessibility for people with mobility issues at events.
“That question sparked many more questions,” Park said, “and I found that while 26% of adults in the U.S. have certain degrees of disabilities, accessibility is still lacking. As I continued my research, I realized the goal should not just be accessibility but more about welcoming and inclusion.”
Faculty endowments are a critical investment in the recruitment and retention of world-class educators whose research and teaching methods will educate and inspire the next generation of leaders. Benefactors who establish faculty fellowships provide a minimum of $30,000 in annual funding for at least five years.
The Anne Stegner Endowed Professorship contributes to In Our Hands, a comprehensive campaign to support NDSU students, faculty, programs, and facilities. The campaign launched publicly in Oct. 2019 and is nearing it’s $400 million goal. Visit InOurHandsNDSU.com to get involved.
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