To honor the generous legacy of Mrs. Watkins, past residents of Watkins and Miller Halls, through Kitchen 8, established the Elizabeth Miller Watkins Memorial Scholarship Fund in 1998. The Fund that began with a few hundred dollars will this year award $80,000 in scholarships. We would like to thank all who have donated this year. It is amazing how one woman’s vision can impact so many women’s lives. Recipients of this scholarship automatically become members of Kitchen 8's group Lizzie's Legacies.

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2018 ANNUAL MEETING and EMW MEmorial Scholarship booklet


Elizabeth Miller Watkins was born in 1861 in New Paris, Ohio, daughter of a Civil War doctor. When Elizabeth was 11, her family moved to Lawrence where she enrolled in the KU Prep School. Sadly, after only 2 years, she was forced to drop out and help support her family. Elizabeth would later turn her own unfulfilled dream of an education into a legacy for generations of women to come. At 15 she began work at the J B Watkins Land and Mortgage Co. She and JB were married in 1909. They had no children of their own and after JB’s death in 1921, she turned her attention to the plans of giving she and JB had made. With a $75,000 donation in 1925, Watkins Hall opened in 1926, the first scholarship hall in America. Building on that success, Miller Hall opened in 1937. Mrs. Watkins also created and gave a trust to provide for the maintenance and upkeep of both halls, which is still active today.


Janice Gartrell lived in Watkins Scholarship Hall from 1939-1942. She was known as “Giggles” and “Garter” to her friends at Watkins. She enjoyed her roommates, taking pictures and she excelled academically. She had an outstanding career in the oil business and loved to travel. After her passing in March of 2009, the EMWMSF received the funds of the Janice Gartrell Charitable Remainder Trust, enabling Kitchen 8 to award generous scholarships to deserving young KU women. Janice Gartrell was truly a woman who embodied Mrs. Watkins’ legacy.


We want to say a big "thank you" to both our hard working Elizabeth Miller Watkins Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee Members and the generous donors to the EMW Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Elizabeth Miller Watkins Scholars are the cream of the crop. They have participated in endless hours of volunteer work, in addition to their scholastic achievement and their outside employment. They are the epitome of what Mrs. Watkins envisioned for the scholarship halls.

- Alica Thomas, Elizabeth Miller Watkins Memorial Scholarship Advisory Board Chair

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