| A new Black Hills State University photography scholarship has been established in memory of Dr. Richard Kessel, professor emeritus of the University of Iowa and longtime supporter of BHSU.
For years, Dr. Richard Kessel, professor emeritus of the University of Iowa, supported the Black Hills State University photography program donating money for new and upgraded equipment, new courses, and student support.
A new photography scholarship has now been established in memory of the longtime supporter who died last spring. The $10,000 in scholarship funds is part of $75,000 Kessel pledged to the University’s photography program three years ago. The scholarship will go to a student majoring in mass communication with a photography emphasis. Half of the scholarship will be awarded in the fall and the other half in the spring.
“We would not be in the spot we are today without his generosity,” said Steve Babbitt, BHSU professor of photography. Using some of the contributions for scholarships is especially important, Babbitt said noting that Kessel changed his college path due to a lack of financial support. Despite his love and success as a college professor, Kessel was initially drawn toward the medical profession. Kessel’s training and research for his doctorate were in the area of cell structure and function and involved the use of the transmission electron microscope – a new and important tool in the investigation of cell structure and function at the time. Kessel also published some 120 scientific research and review articles and five books.
Kessel had visited BHSU many times and enjoyed the dedication and enthusiasm of the photography students. That dedication motivated Kessel to help the program by making his many contributions to the University.
Those contributions have directly helped BHSU students and the program compete with most any photography program in the country, Babbitt said. The program, which has grown significantly in the last decade, has received national attention for students’ work in photojournalism, commercial and fine art photography. Last summer, 14 BHSU photography students were chosen as finalists in the 33rd Annual College Photographers Competition by Photographer’s Forum Magazine. One student’s photo was recognized in the top 100 out of nearly 17,000 submissions worldwide.
“It is clear from their outstanding performance in this year’s Photographer’s Forum competition and over the past 10 years that our BHSU photography students are am