Koli "K.K." and Margaret Amini of San Antonio, Tex., have contributed $1 million toward construction of the Amini Scholarship Hall at Kansas University, Chancellor Gene Budig announced today.
The Aminis will be recognized for their gift at the Battenfeld Scholarship Hall 50th anniversary celebration Saturday. Battenfeld Hall was established as a men's scholarship hall in 1940.
The gift will be counted toward the $177 million goal for Campaign Kansas, the largest fund-drive in KU's history.
K.K. Amini received his bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from KU in 1949. As an undergraduate, he lived in Battenfeld from 1945 to 1948. His wife, the former Margaret Wenski of Kansas City, Kan., received her bachelor's degree in journalism from KU in 1946.
The Aminis said the gift reflects their strong ties to KU and their interest in increasing housing choices for students.
"SCHOLARSHIP HALLS provide the best environment for students,'' Amini said during an earlier visit to the KU campus. "It was refreshing to see Battenfeld Hall again. I've never forgotten about living there.'' Amini, a native of Iran, first visited the KU campus in May 1945, after befriending a KU student en route to the United States. After deciding to attend KU, he was offered a place at Battenfeld Hall.
"I got a chance when I really needed it, and now I'd like to make it possible for others to find that same opportunity,'' Amini said.
At KU, Amini met his wife, who was sports editor of the University Daily Kansan, KU's student newspaper. She was assigned to write a news story about Amini, KU's first student from Iran. As an undergraduate, she was a Jayhawker yearbook staff member, chairman of the UDK board and a member of Theta Sigma Phi society.
In 1948, the Aminis were married on the "Bride and Groom Show,'' a radio program broadcast from Hollywood. Margaret Amini said she had fond memories of KU and of visiting the scholarship hall.
"Battenfeld Hall was a strong focal point for both of us at KU,'' she said. "I felt like part of the family because I knew all of the residents. It was home to Mr. Amini. He is extremely appreciative for being given the chance to live in the scholarship hall. We both feel we can give a student a chance through our gift to the university.''
BUDIG SAID KU is greatly indebted to the Aminis for their gift.
"Scholarship halls have been a vital part of life at KU for 65 years,'' he said. "K.K. and Margaret Amini understand how special the scholarship hall experience has been. We are most grateful to them for making possible the K.K. and Margaret Amini Scholarship Hall. It will be a truly special place for coming generations of KU students.''
The Office of Facilities Planning at KU expects construction of the scholarship hall to be completed by fall 1992. According to Ken Stoner, director of student housing, KU's housing now consists of nine residence halls, eight scholarship halls and three apartment complexes.
"There is a high demand for scholarship hall living at KU,'' Stoner said.
After graduating from KU, Amini worked for several firms until he started the Amini Oil Co. in 1971. He established Sage Energy Company in 1977. Currently, he is an independent oil operator in San Antonio. Margaret Amini is president of the Amini Foundation.
The Aminis are members of the Chancellors Club, KU's major-donor organization, and the Mount Oread Society, which recognizes donors of $1 million or more.
THE AMINIS have four children: Rex, a graduate of Cornell and the University of Texas law school; Sue, a graduate of Vassar University, Trinity College and the University of Texas; Ron, a graduate of the University of Texas; and Michael, a graduate of Stanford University.
The Aminis' generosity to KU includes a previously anonymous gift to aid completion of the Vietnam Memorial on the Lawrence campus in 1984.