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Trusting a college education
Dr. Karen ’74 and Larry Brungardt

Dr. Karen (Knouse) Brungardt '74 is quick to acknowledge that Lycoming College provided her with a great education and a host of wonderful memories.

She was fortunate that her family had the means to pay for her undergraduate education. But she recalls that most of the students she knew well attended Lycoming via scholarships or student loans. Brungradt says she witnessed firsthand how important it was for students to have access to these funds in order to attend college.

"This, more than anything, prompted me to start donating money to Lycoming every year toward students' needs and also in our trust, so that students can continue pursuing a college degree in the future," Brungardt said. "I hope that my gift helps fund tuition for students with a true financial need and a burning desire for a college education."

A few years after earning an art degree from Lycoming, Brungardt had an epiphany. What she really wanted in life was to be a physician. With the support of her husband, Larry, she dropped out of the master's program in art at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and enrolled at the University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kansas City, where she earned a medical degree in 1985.

After completing a year-long rotating internship, Karen and Larry moved to Torrington, Wyo., where she worked for a full-service family medical practice. Her responsibilities ranged from delivering babies and performing minor surgeries to caring for patients and serving as the county's director of emergency medical services. But after 15 years of helping others, she was forced into retirement due to health issues.

The Brungardts moved to Tucson, Ariz., about 12 years ago to help Karen get relief from her arthritis and the aftereffects of two back surgeries.

Nowadays, she is active with two watercolor art guilds and line dances three times a week, which is a great way for her to exercise. She also sells her watercolor paintings twice a year in the Saddlebrooke Fine Arts Guild Art Show and creates handcrafted items for the SaddleBrooke Gift Shop.

"I make purses from jeans, adults' and children's aprons, and various other items for the gift shop and craft fair we hold twice a year," she said. "I also have learned to trade stock options and spend a couple of hours a week on that, which is fun and a good way to make money."

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