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Sarah Christine Shay Memorial Scholarship established 

Sarah Shay HeadshotThe MSU Foundation has established the Sarah Christine Shay Memorial Scholarship Endowment. This generous endowment, made possible by a planned gift commitment, will provide scholarship support to aspiring art students. 

Created and endowed by Diane Engels, a 1974 graduate of MSU, the scholarship is named after her niece, Sarah. Diane's sister and Sarah's mother, Dr. Karen Engels Shay (Class of 1978), was instrumental in helping define the scholarship criteria to ensure the scholarship is awarded to a student whose passion for art aligns with the passion that her daughter portrayed as an aspiring artist. 

Sarah Christine Shay demonstrated natural artistic ability from the time she was given her first set of crayons at ten months old, she had a creative love of life and all who knew her gravitated towards her enthusiastic spirit. Her mother and her father, the late Phillip Shay (Class of 1977), and her brother Bryan, embraced and encouraged her creativity, supporting her on her path to majoring in art at MSU and her artistic endeavors.  

In January of 2006, while enrolled in the art program at MSU, Sarah passed away suddenly at the age of 19. Though her life ended too soon, her family was determined that her legacy and spirit would continue. Recipients will benefit from Sarah's creative and artistic inspiration, allowing her legacy and dreams to be fulfilled through the work of future artists. 

"Sarah had a huge imagination and easily applied this in her creativity, whether at play or work," said Karen Shay. "She was in the gifted and talented program where she excelled in her true love of art and writing. She soaked up guidance concerning art and poetry, especially from her paternal grandmother who was an artist herself. This scholarship is very special to our family and we are happy to be able to honor Sarah and our family's legacy at MSU." 

Once fully funded, the scholarship shall be awarded to junior or senior students majoring in a program within the Department of Art and Design. Recipients with the greatest financial need will be given preference. Students from Kentucky will also be given priority consideration.   

Diane Engels, the scholarship benefactor, has been a longtime supporter of MSU and committed to being a member of MSU's Visionary Society several years ago when she decided to establish the estate gift in memory of her niece. The special gift will allow her to honor her love for MSU and her family.   

"My four years at MSU were among the best years of my life. I fully embraced every facet of campus life, and MSU provided an excellent education that enabled me to succeed in my professional life," said Diane Engels. "As a scholarship recipient myself, I am aware how important this scholarship honoring Sarah will be for other students to complete their degree."   

Students interested in applying for this scholarship and other privately funded scholarships managed by the MSU Foundation should visit the online scholarship application at Individuals interested in contributing to the Sarah Christine Shay Memorial Scholarship may do so online at  

The Visionary Society recognizes individuals who remember MSU through planned gifts such as bequests, gift annuities, trusts, life insurance or another planned gift vehicle and therefore provide for the future far beyond their years. For more information on this scholarship, or to establish your own, contact MSU's Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit

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