February 25, 2008



MSU Billings Foundation, 657-2269
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The parents of a young Montana State University Billings alumnus who died suddenly last summer have established an endowment to help budding English majors follow their dreams at the university.


Ernie and Carol Kemmis established the $10,000 Karen M. Vaughan Scholarship Endowment recently to honor their daughter’s memory. Vaughan died suddenly at age 36 last spring at her home.


She was a highly-honored English student while at MSU Billings and was a long-time employee of The Billings Gazette. She started her career at the Gazette working in the newsroom where she was an editor and receptionist. She served in that capacity until May of 2000, and then took time out to devote full time to obtaining her degree. She then resumed work for the Gazette in November of 2001 as a Classified Inside Team Leader and eventually became a Recruitment Specialist in August of 2002 until she died in May 2007.


During her time at MSU Billings, Vaughan was co-editor of the Retort and “The Rook,” the university’s literary magazine. She graduated with honors and was the 2001 recipient of the Lyle Cooper award for academic excellence and personal integrity.  A plaque commemorating her achievement is displayed in the MSU Billings English Department.


According to the MSU Billings Foundation, which will administer the scholarship endowment, the first $500 scholarship will be awarded for the 2008-09 academic year to an English major.  The recipient must also be a Montana resident; be sophomore or above in college; have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA; and be enrolled as a full time student.  Financial need may also be considered.  The Department of English & Philosophy will be responsible for selecting the recipient.


For more details about the scholarship, contact the MSU Billings Foundation at 657-2244.