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Kawasaki lends critical support to Northwest students, programs

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation

Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corporation and its Maryville facility have helped drive the region’s economy for nearly 30 years as the county’s largest employer. Now the company is lending its support to help power dreams and opportunities for Northwest Missouri State University students.

“Kawasaki is a proud supporter of educational programs and is pleased to work with Northwest Missouri State University to enhance educational offerings and the facilities of Northwest,” Tim Melvin, manager of human resources at Kawasaki, said. “Exercising our determination as a corporate citizen, Kawasaki recognizes the priority of skilled workers in our robust manufacturing environment.”

Through a gift of $10,000 from the company to Northwest in 2016, the Kawasaki Powering Dreams Scholarship was awarded to five students. The scholarship benefits students who are “caught in the middle,” defined as students who succeed just below the highest level of academic achievement and have financial need but have just enough family resources to be ineligible for federal need-based programs such as the Pell Grant.

“Kawasaki understands and fully supports educational opportunities for today’s students,” Melvin said. “By providing financial assistance, tomorrow’s leaders are being equipped with essential tools for the development and enhancement of their skill sets.”

The scholarship is administered by Northwest’s Office of Financial Assistance to students who benefit most from the financial award. The award amount and number of recipients varies, depending on the needs of individual students.

“Many merit-based scholarships are intended for the highest-achieving students and many need-based grants are intended for students with the most significant financial need,” Charles Mayfield, Northwest’s director of financial assistance, said. “Assisting these students means Northwest is able to provide more assistance to students who are doing well in their coursework and have a family income that many would consider ‘middle class.’” 

As it has done annually for nearly 20 years, Kawasaki provided an additional $5,000 last year to support Northwest’s Visiting Writers Series, an initiative of the Department of Language, Literature and Writing that brings nationally recognized fiction writers, poets and writers of creative nonfiction to campus for presentations and readings throughout the academic year.

The funding covers an honorarium for visiting writers as well as their travel expenses and accommodations. More importantly, it helps enrich coursework while promoting community values, civil discourse and self-expression, Daniel Biegelson, a Northwest instructor of English and the director of the Visiting Writers Series, said. It provides students with opportunities to expand their understanding of the fields and disciplines they pursue.

“We know that creative, connective thinking is required within every discipline and every job, and we’re proud of the way that the Visiting Writers Series promotes and encourages these valuable skills while contributing to campus life,” Biegelson said. “The Visiting Writers Series is, in short, enormously important for our students at Northwest, and it simply would not exist without Kawasaki's support. We are so incredibly grateful for Kawasaki's ongoing investment in the lives of our students and our campus community, and we continue to see the dividends of this investment reflected in student engagement, both as students in the classroom and as responsive, responsible citizens of a larger and increasingly complicated world.”

In addition to its support for Northwest athletics, Kawasaki’s support of the University through the Northwest Foundation has totaled more than $75,000 since 2014. The company also has supported such efforts as a STEM workshop for area educators and scholarships for students studying abroad.

“Kawasaki’s support is absolutely essential to Northwest and is an example of the type of private-public partnership that is critical to the success of the higher education mission and mandate,” Biegelson said.

Said Melvin, “We feel our support of Northwest will, as it should, provide assistance for the growth of learning opportunities for Northwest and, in turn, for the enhancement of Kawasaki’s manufacturing capabilities.”