Interior design senior creates endowment for future architecture students

Cecilia Garzella

An interior design senior donated half her personal savings, $15,000, this semester to help future architecture students after receiving a $30,000 scholarship funding her tuition, housing and supplies. 

Katherine Kligerman endowed the School of Architecture with an excellence fund to assist students struggling with the costs of the program. She was one of 12 students nationwide awarded with the $30,000 Angelo Donghia Senior Scholarship in Interior Design in 2018. 

Architecture is a five-year degree program, so students pay for an additional year of tuition plus supplies and computer software needed for projects. Kligerman said architecture students spend at least $8,000 just on school supplies for architecture classes, not including textbooks. 

“You’re entering school, and right away you have to purchase things such as drafting supplies and computers that can handle all the technology required by the major,” Kligerman said. 

While the architecture school does provide resources to students on campus, Kligerman said many students cannot stay on campus all night to work in the architecture studios. 

“Architecture is such a time-consuming major,” Kligerman said. “Having a job is almost impossible when you’re working in studios and pulling all-nighters. It’s heartbreaking to see some people have to put up with these costs.” 

Once Kligerman began working with the School of Architecture to donate her money last fall, she learned she could make a long-lasting impact on the school.

“The initial plan was to create multiple scholarships for students using the $15,000 fund,” said Garrett Loontjer,  associate director for development for the School of Architecture. “I let (Kligerman) know that if she were able to get $25,000, she would have an endowment on her hands. This would enable her to have something that would provide support for (School of Architecture) students forever.”

In an effort to raise the additional $10,000 required to establish an Endowed Excellence Fund, Kligerman reached out to the Austin community for donations. The fundraiser, active on HornRaiser until March 21, has already raised over $14,000 since the start of this semester.

Kligerman said she hopes to see a future where it becomes easier for aspiring architects to pursue their goals without being discouraged by expenses.

“Who wouldn’t be tempted to take that $15,000 and go on a spending spree or travel the world?” Loontjer said. “Instead, Katherine chose to give that back to the (School of Architecture) in order to support students who are struggling to make ends meet.”