LAWRENCE — A gift commitment from University of Kansas alumni Nancy and the late Wint Winter Sr. will provide $3.5 million to be split evenly between the KU School of Law and Kansas Athletics.
The Winters were longtime Ottawa residents. After Wint Winter Sr.’s death in 2013, Nancy Winter moved to Olathe.
The planned gift through KU Endowment will provide an unrestricted gift of $1.75 million to the law school. It also will add $1.75 million to their existing Winter Family Scholarship Fund in Kansas Athletics. The fund provides scholarships for student athletes as well for unrestricted needs.
Wint Winter Sr., a Lawrence native, played football for KU and completed an undergraduate degree in business in 1952. He then joined the Marine Corps, served for two years in Korea and returned to Lawrence to go to law school at KU, graduating in 1956. He went into law practice in Ottawa, then 20 years later joined the banking business. He served as chairman of Peoples Inc., which grew into a multi-state banking business. He also was a rancher, part-time judge and a state senator for 12 years. He died in 2013.
Nancy Winter was born in Chicago and moved with her family to Wichita when she was a child. She studied theater at KU and started a small community theater in Ottawa soon after she and her husband settled in the town.
The gift to KU was a pleasure to give, Nancy Winter said. “It’s a love of the university,” she said. “It’s so fun to be able to do it; it’s a perfectly wonderful joy.”
It was an easy decision to provide gifts for law and athletics, Nancy Winter said.
“We give to the areas we know, that we have been a part of. So we decided to split it up. I didn’t play football — I didn’t make the team,” she joked. “But I certainly was right in there, cheering, supporting and watching.”
The Winter athletics scholarships are given to students who meet a specific criteria. Preference is given to student athletes from Franklin or Douglas counties; those who have demonstrated superior academic performance; and students who play center on the football team.
All five of the Winters’ children went to KU with their parents’ encouragement: Wint Winter Jr., Lawrence, ’75, Law ’78; Mary Winter Stingley, Denver, ’77; Dan Winter, Portland, Oregon, ’80; Cece Winter, Omaha, Nebraska, ’85; and Adam Winter, Denver, ’86.
“I know that KU and KU football were huge in the lives of my mom and dad, and I grew up going to KU football and basketball games,” Wint Winter Jr. said. Like his father, he played football at KU on a scholarship, and they both played center. “We shared that, and dad was pretty proud that I decided to go play football at KU, where he played.”
Winter said his father considered law a very honorable profession.
“I know he had a lot of admiration for KU law school,” Winter said. “His best friends came from KU law school, and I ended up mirroring his KU experience.”
Stephen Mazza, dean and professor at the School of Law, expressed his appreciation for the law school’s portion of the gift.
“We are proud to count two generations of the Winter family among our graduates, and this gift is a tribute to their longstanding connection to KU Law,” Mazza said. “Their generous contribution will help the law school continue to provide students with a quality legal education at an affordable price.”
Kansas Athletics Director Sheahon Zenger expressed his gratitude for the contribution.
“The Winters’ generous gift provides opportunities for students that might not otherwise be available,” Zenger said. “The family tradition of athletics in the Winter family makes it even more meaningful that these future KU student-athletes will be able to pursue excellence both academically and athletically.”
The gift counts toward Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign. Far Above seeks support to educate future leaders, advance medicine, accelerate discovery and drive economic growth to seize the opportunities of the future.
The campaign is managed by KU Endowment, the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.