Imagine waking up at 6:00 a.m. after being up all night studying or working one of many jobs. You rush to school an hour early just to find a parking spot. Your days are filled with class after class. At night, you can look forward to studying, more work and maybe some laundry or cleaning.
Add the tasks of three 12-page papers, quizzes, five midterms, homework assignments and hundreds of pages of reading a week on top of working 40 hours plus per week. All the while, you still try to maintain a normal family and social life. Every day you keep telling yourself “only one more year.”
Now, imagine trying to accomplish all of this while undergoing chemotherapy.
That was Herron School of Art and Design student Katherine Parker’s life during Spring semester 2011.
Twenty-three year old Parker is a senior majoring in art history working on a dual minor in museum studies and music. After graduation next May, she plans to study law. However, there was a time when she wasn’t sure that she would graduate.
Parker recently shared her life experiences at a school event which brought together students, faculty and patrons as they learned about the importance of scholarship support at Herron. More importantly, they learned about the impact of scholarships on students’ lives.
Parker, recipient of the Harry R. Esamann Memorial Scholarship, so eloquently shared her story with others. She talked about being diagnosed during finals week last December and learning she had a rare autoimmune blood disorder. The following semester she underwent her first round of chemotherapy. She shared, “I didn’t know how I would be able to afford both my life-saving medical treatment and school.”
To make matters worse, Parker’s father lost his job and health insurance coverage for his family. This resulted in more than $70,000 in medical bills to be covered by the family. Soon after, Parker lost her full time job due to lengthy hospital stays.
“Receiving the Esamann Memorial Scholarship has made my life a great deal easier. I am not forced to choose between prescriptions I need to live and textbooks,” she added. “Even though a few thousand dollars does not seem like much to some people, it meant the difference between finishing my degree after four years and being forced to drop out of school due to a lack of funds.”
One cannot help but think that James Esamann would be honored knowing his gift to Herron is making so much difference in the lives of Herron’s students. The endowed scholarship fund, made possible through a bequest in James’s estate plans, recognizes his brother Harry who loved the arts and attended Herron in the 1930s.
Herron learned of this extraordinary gift in 2008. At the time it was recognized as the school’s largest endowed gift to date. The Esamann Memorial Scholarship has produced 61 scholarships worth $62,250 since it was first awarded in May 2009.
“With this gift, Mr. Esamann is not only creating a legacy, but also providing the means for students to develop as artists and designers and create their own legacies,” said Dean Valerie Eickmeier. “Remembering Herron in your estate plans is a generous and thoughtful way of supporting students and their educational and artistic goals.”
Parker, who hopes to one day work for the FBI Art Crime Division, shared, “I would like to one day repay individuals like James Esamann who reach out to help others by creating my own scholarship to help students at Herron. I thank James Esamann from the bottom of my heart.”
“Herron’s charitable patrons have enabled dedicated students, such as myself, to live their dreams of obtaining college degrees at one of the finest art schools in the country. I am honored to attend such a fantastic facility, which thanks to our donors is one of those most beautiful buildings on campus and in the city of Indianapolis. Through continued support, future generations of Herron students will impact the art world and reflect back greatly on our wonderful school and its donors.”
To learn more about creating a scholarship or remembering Herron in your estate plans visit
http://www.herron.iupui.edu/support/your-legacy or contact:
Kim Hodges, MPA
Director of Development
Glennda McGann, MNM, CFRE
Assistant Dean of Development and External Affairs