Father of NSU Provost honored with memorial scholarship

The Kenneth Johannes Handel Endowed Scholarship has been established at Northwestern State University. The scholarship was created by friends and colleagues of Dr. Greg Handel, NSU’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School, to honor his father, who passed away April 28 at his home in Freeman, South Dakota.  

“This was such a meaningful surprise to me when it was announced at our President’s Cabinet luncheon,” Handel said.  “I am so grateful for my Northwestern State family, and this is a tremendous way to honor my father.” 

Handel and his family are developing criteria for the scholarship that will be awarded to a deserving student next year. The family hopes to endow the scholarship at the $10,000 level.  

Kenneth Johannes Handel was born on February 15, 1935, in Menno, South Dakota.  His family moved to a farm northwest of Freeman, South Dakota, in 1946. He graduated from Freeman High School in 1953 and attended Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota for four years before taking a job with Fred Haar Company—John Deere. He served as parts manager for Fred Haar Company for 43 years. 

Mr. Handel served for 30 years as a volunteer fireman and assistant fire chief for the City of Freeman. He served on the Freeman City Council and the Freeman Baseball Association, playing with amateur baseball team for many years.  He enjoyed supporting his children’s love of and pursuits in sports and music, and spent many hours driving to athletic events, music lessons and concerts.  

He married Corrine Schmuck on July 12, 1960, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Freeman.  The couple reared two sons, Dr. Handel and his brother Mark.  

“My dad encouraged others to continue their education and pushed those who had stopped out to return and complete their degrees,” Dr. Handel said. “My brother and I were lucky in that our parents told us they did not want us to work during college—our job was to finish our degree. I realize how fortunate we were to have that support, and that college costs prohibit many students from not working. I know that this scholarship will help students who might be struggling or may need just a bit of extra money to finish their final semester or two. My dad would be so happy knowing that this scholarship assisted in that way.” 

Friends who wish to contribute to the scholarship can do so at https://northwesternstatealumni.com/handel-scholarship/