The H.E. “Doc” Kidder Endowed Scholarship Trust has helped dozens of West Virginia University students afford their undergraduate education and pursue additional opportunities in graduate or professional school. The fund’s move to the WVU Foundation has allowed the students “Doc” Kidder mentored over his 30-plus years at WVU to recognize his profound influence and help the current generation of students succeed.
One of Kidder’s former students, Brig. Gen. Robert Jenkins, U.S. Air Force, retired, and his wife, Nicki, made a substantial contribution to the trust in 2014 and will continue to make substantial contributions to this trust over the next five years to honor the role Kidder played in Jenkins’s life.
“I was one of many individuals who was very fortunate to have known and experienced ‘Doc’ Kidder’s influence while pursuing my master’s degree in reproductive physiology at WVU,” Jenkins said.
Kidder, who taught animal science students in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design from 1954-1988, was Jenkins’s graduate committee chairman and supervised Jenkins’s work as a teaching assistant.
”’Doc’ was one of the most extraordinary men I have ever known – totally dedicated to ensuring the success of his students and to improving animal agriculture in West Virginia,” Jenkins said. ”’Doc’ put his heart and soul into advising and teaching, and his students, like myself, were the beneficiaries of his extraordinary efforts.”
In its 23 years, the trust has provided scholarships for post-graduate study for Davis College students interested in professional or graduate education, and it has also supported travel expenses for students participating in the college’s livestock, dairy, poultry and meats judging teams. The Jenkinses want to help extend the life of the trust.
“Another reason we chose to support the trust is that it provides funding for scholarships, assistantships and other funding for students who, in many cases, wouldn’t otherwise be able to pursue an advanced degree without financial support,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins’s distinguished career with the U.S. Air Force took him away from animal agriculture as a profession. He was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Virginia Tech as an undergraduate, and entered the Air Force in 1967 after completing his master’s degree at WVU. He was first and foremost a fighter pilot, fighter squadron and fighter wing commander. Upon his retirement, he was serving as director of logistics for the Headquarters Pacific Air Force at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.
“Even though unforeseen events directed my career away from agriculture and animal science, the education I received at WVU certainly contributed to the overall success of my career, and I’m indebted to WVU and the Davis College for the opportunities they provided me,” Jenkins said. “It gives Nicki and me great pleasure to be able to give back to WVU through the Kidder Trust in a way that will hopefully repay some of the debt of gratitude that we feel.”
The Jenkinses’ investment in the Kidder Trust was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $1 billion comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2017.
CONTACT: David Welsh, Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design
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