Karin Larson’s mother did not graduate high school, and her father did not study past the eighth grade. As the first college graduate in her family, she has honored her parents by maximizing her own opportunities and extending opportunities to others.
Karin, who spent her career with the financial services company Capital Group, rose through the ranks from secretary, to the first female research director, to chair of Capital International Research, Inc. Along the way, she made empowering and developing young talent a priority.
Karin’s professional success has enabled her to also honor her mother and father through philanthropy.
“In my charitable giving, I have four criteria I use: faith-based organizations, education, helping those less fortunate, and organizations in which I am involved personally,” she said.
Berea’s no-tuition model captured Karin’s interest, and met three of her four criteria. She has been a committed friend for more than 15 years.
Most recently, she directed her support toward the Adult Simulation Laboratory in Berea’s new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building. This new nursing lab will provide Berea nursing students with the future her mother desired, but never achieved.
“She wanted to be a nurse, but was never able to do that,” Karin explained. “In those days, you were lucky if you graduated from high school. [This gift] was my way of honoring her ambitions.”
Although Karin’s parents did not receive their degrees, education remained a Larson family value. Karin is especially proud to have supported 19 grandnieces and grandnephews through college and graduate school.
Drawing on her parents’ examples of faithfulness and hard work, Karin remains committed to investing in lives of great promise—in her own family and at Berea College.
“I was really so blessed in my career and had been given so many opportunities,” she said. “My parents didn’t even graduate from high school and were blue-collar workers. [I have] the ability to support people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to college—that’s important.”