Mel Hambelton Endowed Scholarship:
Color outside the lines

Lisa Hambelton committed $200,000 for the fund

Thomas Dieker and Lisa Hambelton

Lisa Hambelton, owner of Mel Hambelton Ford and creator of the Mel Hambelton Endowed Scholarship, congratulates the first recipient, Thomas Dieker, a 2012 freshman majoring in aerospace engineering.

To be considered for the Mel Hambelton Endowed Scholarship, students will need to color outside the lines, think outside the box.

“There are no do-overs,” said Lisa Hambelton, Mel Hambelton’s daughter and owner of Mel Hambelton Ford, “so you have to do the best you can with what you have today. Have people walk away going, ‘Wow,’ because of the special things you do, which may mean coloring outside the lines and thinking outside the box.”

Her emphasis is on demonstrating your potential. “Give it everything you have to give — today.

And that includes getting a quality education. Through the dealership, the Hambeltons have been dedicated to sponsoring academic events for years. A college education is something Mel Hambelton never achieved, but always regretted. Lisa Hambelton wants to help future Shockers avoid that regret. She has committed Mel Hambelton Ford to a $200,000 scholarship in her father’s name, demonstrating the importance of education to the Hambelton family.

“We want to help young people who may not be able to go to college, or help students with loans so they could pay a lot less or at least have a manageable amount,” she said.

When Lisa Hambelton took the reins of Mel Hambelton Ford in 2008, she not only carried on her father’s 40-year history in the automobile industry, but also his philanthropic legacy.

Thomas Dieker accepts Hambelton scholarship

Thomas Dieker accepts his scholarship check from Wade Robinson, WSU vice president for campus life and university relations, on the steps of Morrison Hall on Aug. 9 as Lisa Hambelton and her staff look on.

Mel Hambelton Ford, a WSU Foundation President’s Club Life Member, has been donating to Wichita State for more than 30 years. Benefactors include the Shocker Athletic Scholarship Organization, Battery for Baseball and the Women’s Association Scholarship Fundraiser.

Lisa Hambelton is passionate as she talks about the people the Hambeltons have helped, including students, teachers, firefighters, police officers and children.

“I am so proud to be a part of this community,” she said with emotion. “It’s the right thing to do.”

In creating the guidelines that scholarship applicants must meet, Hambelton didn’t specify an academic major, didn’t request only A students and didn’t stipulate financial need.

“The important part is that they have the desire to go to college,” she said.

“Have people walk away going, ‘Wow,’ because of the special things you do, which may mean coloring outside the lines and thinking outside the box.”

Lisa Hambelton

But there are a few intentional requirements.

Scholarship candidates will need to demonstrate their participation in neighborhood and school activities.

“We want to see how they follow their heart with their commitment to the community.”

In addition, they must submit a letter of recommendation from a high school faculty advisor who sponsored an organization in which the student participated.

“We want to hear from someone who knows them in an academic way,” Hambelton said. “It’s an important aspect of making our choice.”

The person making the selection will be a member of Hambelton’s leadership team and will rotate each year. Hambelton was the first to choose a recipient from three students identified by WSU’s scholarship office.

Thomas Dieker, a fall 2012 freshman, is the first recipient of the $2,500 annual scholarship. He is a graduate of Trinity Academy in Wichita, participating in sports and drama. He also took a mission trip to Puerto Rico and was a crew leader for Numana, packing food for Third World countries.

At the award announcement this month, Dieker said the scholarship relieves a lot of worry about paying for school. He plans to study aerospace engineering, with the goal of becoming a test pilot.

“I chose this school because it’s in the middle of the aviation world,” Dieker said. “This is a confirmation from God that I’m going on the right path.”

Dieker can be re-awarded the assistance each year, if he maintains eligibility. In four years, all classes from freshman to senior will be represented with one recipient each, representing a $10,000 investment.

“I can’t wait,” said Hambelton. “I want to skip ahead four years to see all the students.”


circle arrow  To learn more about how you can establish a scholarship, please contact
Terre Johnson, WSU Foundation vice president for major gifts,
at (316) 978-3808 or

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