Friday, April 27, 2012

Grad starts first endowed scholarship

Nancy and Frank KrookNancy Krook is one of WSU’s first distance graduates.
Only a rare Seattle blizzard could delay her from becoming a Cougar. And not for long.
     Leaving Washington State University Pullman to follow her husband to the West Side was a mere hiccup. Nancy Krook took classes at Skagit Valley College, then enrolled at Western Washington University.
     The 30-mile drive to Western didn’t deter her. Neither did having courses at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.  Neither did raising two small daughters. She even convinced the administration to let her apply her credits toward a WSU diploma.
     “Nancy was determined and stubborn—some say from her Norwegian heritage—so we set up baby-sitting and arrangements,” said her husband, Frank Krook, “and I arranged my schedule so we could undertake the challenge together.” 
     But that was 1969, Seattle’s snowiest year ever. A series of blizzards dropped a total of 67.5 inches of snow on the region. During one snowstorm, Nancy’s car broke down on a bad stretch of Interstate 5 near Lake Samish. She tried to flag someone down. No one would help. She got out, began to walk on the icy shoulder through the wind-whipped snow. The editor of the local newspaper stopped and gave her a ride—along with a lecture about the perils of walking beside the freeway. More...      The Cougar plan was put on hold, but not forgotten. In 1993, Frank was on the WSU alumni board and attended a meeting on WSU’s new “Extended Degree Program.” He asked the presenter to check Nancy’s eligibility. He didn’t tell Nancy. A few months later, the phone rang.
     “Unbeknownst to be me, my husband had signed me up for information on the new program in social sciences,” Nancy said, “and thus began my pursuit of a much-coveted WSU diploma.”
     The Extended Degree Program involved watching videotapes, a far cry from the interactive experience of today’s WSU Online. But the quality of the faculty made up for the low-tech delivery method.
     “The professors were outstanding and extremely interesting, which motivated me to finish the 18 required credits and graduate with the first class of 1994,” Nancy said.
     Both Frank and Nancy work in real estate, and are active in the Coug Nation. Frank was director of the Skagit, Island, and Whatcom counties district of the alumni association for two terms and, in 1999-2000, served as president of the Washington State University Alumni Association. Nancy serves on the Alumni Association advisory board.
     “Nancy knows what a special feeling exists among Cougars and alumni of Washington State University,” Frank said. “And, because Nancy was one of the first graduates of the program, we felt that we should be the first to endow a scholarship to assist future students.”
     In 2011, the Krooks created the Nancy and Frank Krook Scholarship, a $25,000 endowment that supports an annual $1,000 scholarship.
     Brian Gass of Bellingham, Wash., received the first $1,000 scholarship this spring. Gass works setting up oil exploration equipment on ships. When he’s not at sea, he volunteers in his children’s elementary school, and has helped the Lummi Tribe manage grant money. His goal is to become a CPA.
     “I have three children and a wife with multiple sclerosis, so this scholarship was a godsend,” he said. “It will allow me to graduate a semester earlier.”
     Nearly 20 years ago, in Nancy’s last WSU term paper, she wrote that someday she’d find a way to give back to the distance program.
     “We are thrilled now to offer a scholarship that helps further someone’s education and career,” Nancy said. “WSU’s program opened the door for me to finish my WSU educational career.  Without it, I would not have been able to accomplish that dream.”

     To help a WSU student, please visit WSU’s Campaign Page.
     For information about applying for the Nancy and Frank Krook Scholarship, please contact Deanna Hamilton, 509-335-5454.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy and Frank deserve a lot of credit for their generous and ongoing suppprt of the program. Nice to see this article on what Nancy went through to get her degree!