The Collins/Kahl Future Scientists Scholarship

"Our Goal Is For You To Succeed"

Ways to Give

Joe Daprano ’86 and several of his classmates have successfully headed up an effort to endow a scholarship in honor of Don and Vicki Collins and Dean Kahl. The Collins/Kahl Future Scientists Scholarship is available to students studying science and needing financial aid.

“This is such an honor,” Vicki says, as Dean and her husband, Don, nod in agreement.“I want to express that the success of our graduates has been the real reward. The best part has definitely been the students, and seeing what they do,” Vicki says.

“It’s been a dream job,” Dean says. “I like coming to work. I like the students. I like the people I work with. The students are creative and from that arises great challenges. It’s just been so much fun.”

“We have learned so much from the students,” Don says. A student comes to us and says, ‘I’m interested in whatever….’ This allows us to get into the literature and learn about the topic and new techniques.

”Vicki continues, “And where else can you have an explosion, which is semi-controlled?”

With almost 120 years of combined service to the College, Dean, Don and Vicki have provided a strong foundation for the chemistry and physics programs, as well as grown and fostered undergraduate research at the College. Over the past 15 years Warren Wilson students have won more NC Academy of Science awards for their research papers than students at any other institution in the state. This is in large part due to the diligence of these professors. At many schools research opportunities are only available for certain top performing students. Warren Wilson’s science curriculum is unique in that a student-initiated research project is required of all students. Dean, Don and Vicki each explained that they have always had a fair amount of freedom and the chance to be creative in their classes and in the lab. That freedom has benefitted students.

“Many students come in and are afraid of the sciences; our first priority is chemistry I,” Vicki explains. “If we don’t do a good job there, we have turned them off for life.” Don says he has been having a lot of fun with the class Earth, Light, and Sky and, of course, the Physics Photo of the Week. “I love seeing students get interested in the world around them,” Don says. Dean, Vicki and Don express their gratitude to Houston Witherspoon, Hugh Verner, Roger McGuire, Hal Ferguson, John and Edith Solomon, the Beattie Foundation and so many other friends of the College for supporting the sciences.  

The Collins-Kahl team has all kinds of stories from the old Morse days when they took turns as building manager. At one point they didn’t have toilet stalls, so Vicki had students sew curtains out of “this wild fabric.” The famed Elvis Lounge began in Dean’s running days, when he brought back a large Elvis drawing from a cross country meet in Cherokee and used it to block light in the lab. Over the years, graduate after graduate sent more items, growing and diversifying the Chemistry Department’s collection of Elvis memorabilia.

Although Vicki, Don and Dean planned to be here only a couple of years, the students, the freedom to be creative in their labs and classrooms, the Swannanoa Valley and the core values of the College held them here. It is certainly a better place for all their hard work and enthusiasm.

With over 90 percent of Warren Wilson students receiving institutional assistance, scholarships are essential to our students and our College. They help Warren Wilson College attract and retain students of high academic caliber and personal merit, regardless of their financial situation, and help realize student dreams. Endowed scholarships provide perpetual, permanent funds that continue to grow and provide a stable stream of revenue above those generated from student tuition and annual giving campaigns.  

An endowed scholarship at Warren Wilson College requires a minimum of $25,000 in total funds. Once endowed, the College invests the principal for growth and allocates earnings of about five percent each year to qualifying students, with increasingly more scholarship dollars awarded each year thereafter as the endowed fund grows. All Warren Wilson students needing financial aid, with preference given to those studying science, are eligible to apply for the Collins/Kahl Future Scientists Scholarship.   

For more information or to make a gift, call Janet Doyle at 828-771-3756 or email her at If you would like to make a gift to help grow the Collins/Kahl Future Scientists Scholarship, you may do so in one of the following ways.

Ways to Give:

We hope you will consider joining your classmates and making a gift in honor of Dean, Don, and Vicki, who have helped so many students to make their way in this world in the sciences. Remember, "A day without chemistry (or physics!) is like a day without sunshine!"