Lucile Kennedy, '21 BS, wanted her husband remembered. Her endowed scholarship has become his legacy.
BY ROBIN CHENOWETH
ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAUREN ZIMMER
For students who receive the Lucile and Roland N. Kennedy Scholarship, the couple who helped fund their education is a mystery. Except for a few mentions in Ohio State’s Makio yearbook, the details of their lives have faded.
How could nearly 500 students know that their scholarship was born from grief, a tribute to lasting love?
Lucile Wildermuth took education seriously. She joined an academic society, thrilled at hosting parties, fell in love with a boyish-faced man named Roland Kennedy at Ohio State. He was a dairy science major; she studied home economics. They married just out of college in 1922. He became a top executive who specialized in ice cream at Borden’s Dairy. Though they had no children, he helped develop Similac infant formula. They bought two farms in his native Marysville and were preparing to move there when Roland died suddenly of a coronary occlusion. He was 58.
A bereft Lucile eventually moved to Marysville, alone, and joined her husband’s family church. She wanted to honor him in some way. She lived to 89, and made sure that Roland’s name was attached to something positive, something that offers help to students who might only wonder who he was.
“They were kindly, they were self-effacing and above all they were loyal,” a friend wrote about the Kennedys. Today, their scholarship has funded 446 grants in 20 years to students studying human sciences.
Here are the stories of three of them.
MIKAELA SEIBERT: Two-time scholar-athlete got much-needed boost to attend her ‘dream school’
As a track and field star, Mikaela Seibert is used to making leaps of faith. She regularly captures medals in triple and long jumps for Ohio State Women’s Track and Field. But going to her dream school means paying out-of-state tuition, and she and her family weren’t sure how they were going to swing that expense.
The fashion and retail studies major splits her time among the track, class and her sewing machine. She hopes to become a buyer or product developer, and was thrilled to create designs for this year’s student-run Fashion Production Association show. “I love sewing and the designing,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to have a piece on a runway.”
But with her brother also in college, the junior said, her family struggled to pay her tuition. “I knew I had to help my parents as much as I could.” She applied and received both the Kennedy and the Nina Mae Mattus scholarships.
Seibert was ecstatic. “I’ll be able to focus more on athletics and academics,” she said.
JAYLEN LINDSEY: Being awarded the Kennedy Scholarship gave him one more nudge to achieve his goal
Getting the Kennedy Scholarship was validating for Jaylen Lindsey, who grew up in a “very rough environment” in Cincinnati.
“A lot of people wouldn’t believe that I would make it this far,” he said. His mother was putting herself through college when she was killed in a construction accident. “I wake up every day and go to school, knowing she’s proud of me.”
Lindsey’s tough-minded grandma raised him to be conscientious. “She had to play the mother and the father role,” he said.
As a kid, he had weight issues. “I was getting bullied.” Exercise and healthy eating helped tackle the problem; now he wants to counsel others to do the same. He graduated in spring with a BS in human development and family science and a minor in nutrition.
“I am able to counsel, but since nutrition is so important to me I can bring that knowledge to people as well,” he said.
He hopes to apply to a counselor education master’s program. “I am so blessed,” he said.
ANDREW KRALY: His lifelong goal was to study human nutrition; now he’ll achieve it with less debt
A diagnosis at age four set into motion the career Andrew Kraly would have. His mother learned to give him insulin injections; he learned to cope with shifting blood sugar levels.
“The big catalyst for me was going to a new endocrinologist and meeting a physician’s assistant who is Type I diabetic as well,” he said. She used her experience to teach him to manage the disease.
She knew tips such as which insulin pumps were best, and how carbo- loading the night before skiing would keep him energized.
“She didn’t want the disease to hold her back,” he said. “That was a huge connection.”
Now he’s obtaining his degree in human nutrition, learning how the body metabolizes food and absorbs nutrients. He’s working and taking out loans to pay for it. Getting the Kennedy Scholarship means owing less as he continues studying to become a physician’s assistant, too.
“Instead, I can think about helping kids with diabetes.”