Landscape painter Karyn Dingledine knows exactly what it is like to dream about attending college but not have the means to make that dream come true. She also knows how just a little bit of support can transform a young person’s life. She’s lived it personally. And now, through the Karyn Dingledine Scholarship in Art, she is sharing the investment once made in her with students at Wake Forest.
Karyn Dingledine and her husband, Tom (MBA ’78), a member of the Board of Trustees, endowed the Karyn Dingledine Art Scholarship Fund for students planning to major or minor in studio art. Undergraduate financial aid is a major priority of Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch.
The first recipient of the Dingledine Scholarship is Amanda Bowers, a rising sophomore from Maui, Hawaii. “I am so thankful you’ve created a scholarship that supports the arts,” she wrote in a letter to the Dingledines. “I am even more thankful that it was given to me, and I am honored to be the first recipient. I want you to know that it was because of you that I was able to do so.”
Karyn Gunther Dingledine grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, the oldest girl among six children. Although her interests and abilities in art during high school landed her a scholarship to the Delaware Art Museum Studio Program, she never thought she’d be able to go to college.
“Then my senior year, I received a small grant from a local service club — $350 — for college, and that little bit got me started,” she explains. “It meant everything to me, made the difference in me going to college or not going to college. After I got that grant, I pulled the rest of it together myself and put myself through school.”
After graduating with a degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University, she moved on to graduate school at the University of Virginia for an advanced degree in special education. Once again, others helped: She was awarded a fellowship that covered her costs and included a living stipend.
She spent most of her career as an elementary art teacher and a resource teacher for children with learning disabilities at schools in Virginia. In 1999, she left teaching to further develop her own art and now focuses on painting mountain, river, marshland and seaside landscapes.
“It is not a hobby,” she says. “It is so much a part of my life and me as a person. I show some, sell some. But that is not my primary motivation. I love to do it, love to be around other artists, love going to galleries. It is my passion.”
The Dingledines, who reside in Charlottesville, Virginia, also have established the Thomas A. Dingledine Fund for Responsible Business at the Babcock Graduate School of Management to help faculty create learning opportunities to educate ethical and socially responsible leaders who will use their knowledge in service to others.
They have also funded the Dingledine Scholarship for Positive Social Impact, a full-tuition award for MBA students who have worked for a non-profit organization or agency or who have demonstrated a commitment to the community through volunteer work or social outreach.
As part of the Presidential Trust for Faculty Excellence, they have funded the Dingledine Faculty Fund for Support of International Activities for faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences for travel related to their work, with preference to those who have been recognized for their achievements in the fields of ethics and socially and environmentally responsible practices.
The Dingledines have also provided funding for a center in Managua, Nicaragua, that supports collaborative research, teaching and service focused on Central America. The center will provide space for academic programs, conferences and other scholarly activities. “Casitas,” or cottages, also are planned for housing guests on the property.
Though Amanda Bowers and future recipients of the Karyn Dingledine Scholarship in Art are by no means the only beneficiaries of the family’s deep investment in Wake Forest, this scholarship is a uniquely personal gift for Karyn Dingledine. “I hope the scholarship helps to fuel students’ passion and make their dreams come true for their college education,” she says. “I know how much it meant to me and how much it means to me to have fulfilled my dreams and be in a position to look back and help someone else along the way.”