Steve Frazier and Liz Leech

Alumni cite memories, college affordability as reasons they started scholarship

Spring 2016 Edition


Liz Leech and Steve Frazier returned to KU last month for William Allen White Day and met the recipients of their scholarship, the Frazier-Leech Scholarship.

Liz Leech and Steve Frazier returned to KU last month for William Allen White Day and met the recipients of their scholarship, the Frazier-Leech Scholarship.

Steve Frazier has many memories of his time at KU and the School of Journalism, but one that he appreciates more now is that the cost of college was much more affordable. Helping students afford college is one of the reasons that he and his wife, Liz Leech, give back to the J-School. 

“We thought about the value of scholarships in particular because the cost of college continues to rise, and state support of public education is not what is used to be, and tuition at KU is not what it used to be. We thought it could be helpful,” Frazier said.

Frazier was a first-generation college student from McPherson, Kansas, but through working during summers, getting scholarships and help from his parents, he graduated from the School of Journalism debt-free. 

The couple established the Frazier-Leech Scholarship in 2007, and this year, five students were recipients of the scholarship during the school’s annual Scholarship and Awards Cere­mony.

Frazier graduated from the J-School in 1978 and worked for the Wall Street Journal before getting his MBA at Northwestern University. He worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company and then at Payless ShoeSource and is currently vice president of international expansion at Amazon, where he has worked since 1999. 

Leech graduated from the J-School in 1977. After KU, she worked for the Hutchinson News and United Press International in Topeka and was the statehouse reporter for The Kansas City Times. She also was an adjunct lecturer at the J-School briefly, teaching Reporting 1. Leech, who is from Oskaloosa, Kansas, is currently doing very detailed historical research about Jefferson County, Kansas.

KU holds a special place for Frazier and Leech because they met while working on the University Daily Kansan. Athough they didn’t work closely together and went separate ways after college, had they not met at the Kansan they may not have reconnected later.

They also made lifelong friends. Their group of about 15 or 20 J-School friends still stay in close contact. They have gone to each others’ weddings and still manage to have dinner, send Christmas cards and emails, and come back to KU for J-School events. 

“I do think we went to school with a really special group of people,” Frazier said.  “We both have incredibly fond memories of our time at KU. I think we both had a particularly close connection to the school at KU with both our classmates and the faculty. We both got awards and scholarships and a lot of help along the way, and we thought it was a good way to give back.”