Longtime Wichita businessman and University of Kansas alumnus Paul Brooker's estate has donated $2.5 million to the school's endowment for scholarships.
The money will create two scholarships, one in his name and one named for him and his first wife, Mildred Hoffman, the KU Endowment office said in a written announcement on Wednesday.
"My parents were a really neat couple," his daughter Diane Wingate said in the announcement. "They got so much out of KU. I think they just wanted to give something back to the university."
Hoffman died in 1991 and Brooker died in 2000. The estate gift took effect in 2009 after the death of Brooker's second wife, Virginia Brooker.
Hoffman and Brooker met while studying at KU. They graduated with bachelor's degrees from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1931 and married three years later.
"My wife and I both hated to leave Lawrence and we figured some way we could come back and live there someday, but that is not going to be our situation," Brooker wrote to the endowment in 1989. "I think the best four years of our lives were spent in Lawrence, Kansas, at the university."
The couple moved to Wichita, where Brooker started Brooker Sales, which helped retail stores throughout the United States and Canada manage special promotions and store closings.
Wingate and her husband now own and operate the company, which has been renamed Wingate Sales.
It is the second time the family has endowed scholarships. In 1975, Brooker created a scholarship named for Hoffman.
Marlesa Roney, vice provost for student success, said Brooker's estate gift will make a significant difference for students who receive support from these scholarships.
"The university family is grateful to Mr. Brooker for his commitment to ensuring that others will be able to benefit from the many outstanding opportunities at KU," said Roney.