Education has shaped the lives of West Virginia University alumni Ken and Annie Mrozinski. It is what brought the couple together, and for Annie, education became a lifelong career. Their love for education is what inspired the couple to make a monumental planned gift to support scholarships in WVU’s School of Theatre & Dance.
A WVU education was practically written in Annie’s DNA. A native of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, she was the 10th member of her family to attend WVU. Annie decided to study theatre, which at the time was still a major within the speech department. Ken attended WVU to study communications after receiving his undergraduate degree at Kent State University. The couple met in a speech class, and spent years as friends before falling in love.
The couple spent the majority of their life together in Manhattan, Kansas, where Ken had taken a job as a TV reporter and producer. Annie began teaching English to middle schoolers, eventually becoming department head. She then began coordinating Futures 2000, a school to work initiative for at-risk students. Children in the program would job shadow, write grants and learn about careers so they could be on track to attend college.
When the Mrozinskis started discussing what to do with their estate, Annie felt strongly that her life had been defined by her career in education. From her work, Annie also realized the financial burden placed on students trying to receive a good education. The Mrozinskis knew they could help students in need, and decided to do so at the institution where they met.
“We both had a lot of great educational opportunities and we have always enjoyed getting involved and helping others,” Annie said. “We also have been very impressed with the leadership at WVU, and it’s been amazing to see the quantum leaps in education and advancement that have happened over the last 50 years.”
Giving back has always been a fundamental pillar in the Mrozinskis’ lives.
“I was taught that when you have the ability to give, that’s what you do,” Annie said. “My father always preached the importance of endowments, because they are the gift that keeps giving, so that’s what we decided to do.”
The couple, who now reside in Fort Myers, Florida, hopes that future scholarship students will have less to worry about when it comes to financing their education, so they can concentrate on reaching their full potential.
“Education gives foundational skills and a sense of direction,” Annie said. “It’s up to every individual to decide what their sense of success is, and define their life the way they want to.”