NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Carl deGraaf, retired professor of educational psychology at IU Southeast, has committed $50,000 to the institution in order to endow the Karen R. deGraaf Memorial Scholarship in support of undergraduate students in the IU Southeast school of nursing.
Chancellor Ray Wallace accepted the initial gift of $25,000 on behalf of IU Southeast at deGraaf’s home in Elizabeth, Ind., on Aug. 19. Retired since 2007, deGraaf has been a generous and consistent donor for more than 25 years.
He told of being inspired to give.
“At Founder’s Day last year (2014), I was sitting with education faculty and students who had received scholarships,” he said. “You got a feeling for the kind of human being impacted through these scholarships. The program showed the kinds of scholarships that other people had established, and it occurred to me that I could do this, too. As a consequence of seeing colleagues’ names associated with scholarships, I felt it was something I could do in memory of my wife, Karen.”
Karen deGraaf passed in 2014.
A native of Michigan, deGraaf earned his Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University in 1973. He and his wife Karen settled in Southern Indiana in the early 1980s, and he began teaching at IU Southeast. He built an enthusiastic following among students and published or co-published on topics ranging from the integration of technology into teaching to the way expectations based on ethnicity or socioeconomic status can influence outcomes in intelligence testing.
Over the years, the deGraafs also deepened their love for and affiliation with the region. The small country house on a parcel of rolling land in Elizabeth became an expanded family home for the couple and their two sons amid a bucolic 96-acre certified forest, complete with challenging hiking trails. DeGraaf’s love for the arts is well known, and another point of connection to the campus. He also began to create pottery, soon rising to the level of master potter with memberships in art associations in Kentucky and Indiana and frequent showings of his work.