Sister Mary Frances Kobets, Kansas State’s newest Distinguished Alumna, teaches the wisdom of the land.
It isn’t just poverty that is destroying families in southeast Africa. A disease called AIDS wipe outs body and spirit, too. Sister Fran’s goal is to help heal people’s souls and also to nourish their bodies, too, and her skills in agriculture and economics did just that for a generation of young people left scarred by an epidemic of AIDS deaths.
Even while studying agricultural economics at Kansas State University, Sister Fran knew Africa was for her. She was one of the first two women to ever earn a bachelor’s degree from the program. This week, Kansas State is honoring Sister Fran with this year’s Distinguished Alumna Award.
“There were great professors and an opportunity to take subjects that were practical,” Sister Fran recalled of her Kansas years. “I had the opportunity to work on farms in the summer periods, so that this city girl could be more relevant.”
On Friday, Sister Fran attended an awards banquet at Kansas State after sharing with students what people in Zimbabwe face. The country has been racked by high inflation and a declining economy that is making the poverty worse.
In the face of this, said Kansas State’s David Lambert, head of the agricultural economics department, “Sister Fran has combined her knowledge of agriculture with her calling to help people.”