Couple Establishes Women’s Scholarship Fund in Memory of Late Alumnus

Thursday, February 02, 2023
Photo collage of Cindy and Kurt Kalkomey  and Charles "Ted" Thomas.

A transformative gift from Cindy Thomas Kalkomey and Kurt Kalkomey made in loving memory of her father and late alumnus Charles “Ted” Thomas will help fuel the next generation of women STEM leaders.

A scholarship fund supporting women students at Rose-Hulman has been established through a $500,000 donation by Cindy Thomas Kalkomey and Kurt Kalkomey in loving memory of her father and late alumnus Charles “Ted” Thomas. 

Cindy and Kurt Kalkomey wish to support students attending one of the nation’s top colleges for undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with a strong return on investment, as a way of fulfilling the couple’s personal mission of helping “give others the opportunity to succeed and live without fear.”

“The impact my father has had on my life wasn’t through momentous events or mighty words, but through a consistent, daily example. Dad was probably the most patient person I’ve known,” said Cindy Thomas Kalkomey. “I can only remember once in my lifetime that I had seen him angry, and that was with a lot of provocation from me. He always saw the best in people and assumed their intentions were good. I can’t even recall him ever speaking ill of someone. This quality in him seemed to bring out the best in people when they were around him.”

Cindy Thomas Kalkomey added, “My dad must have received an outstanding engineering education at Rose, because he was always able to explain to me how something worked. I still find myself today, more than 20 years after his death, wishing I had him here to answer my questions.”

Rose-Hulman President Robert A. Coons stated, “Cindy and Kurt have made a transformational gift that’s helping fuel the next generation of world-changers. Our students are getting to experience the best in STEM education because of these philanthropic gifts. Through more donor-supported scholarships, even more students will be impacted in the future.”

Since becoming a coeducational institution in 1995, women students have had a significant impact on Rose-Hulman’s student body, becoming campus leaders, academic award winners, scholars, and contributors to impactful undergraduate research and design projects. Rose-Hulman has added summer programs in recent years to help introduce more high school girls to STEM fields, including a Rose Power program that’s specifically designed for girls who have completed their freshman year in high school.    

“The support provided by Cindy and Kurt will further enhance our efforts to help diversify STEM education,” said Steve Brady, vice president for institutional advancement

A native of Clinton, Indiana, Ted Thomas graduated with high honors in electrical engineering from Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman) in 1943. He served America in the military as a first and second lieutenant in the 148th battalion of combat engineers from 1943-46, when he was part of World War II’s D-Day+4 Normandy Invasion, and a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1951-53, during the Korean War. In between, Thomas was a member of the Indiana Air National Guard.

Thomas accentuated his engineering skills with a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. His professional career started as a mechanical engineer with Thomas and Skinner in Indianapolis. However, he spent 28 years as an electrical engineer with Texas Instruments’ defense systems division, retiring from a technical leadership position in 1986. He settled in the Dallas area with his longtime devoted wife, Grace, a native of Rockville, Indiana, before his death in 1998. The couple had three children, daughters Ann Luedke of Lynchburg, Virginia, and Cindy Kalkomey of Dallas, along with son Terry Thomas of Dallas.