Kenneth A. Christiansen was born in Sansarc, S.D. He received a master's degree from the University of Denver and a doctorate from the University of Missouri. After working as an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota and Indiana State Teachers College, he moved to Gainesville to serve as the first director of the campus television station, WUFT-TV, and as chairman of the broadcasting department until he retired in 1977.
Christiansen received a UF Outstanding Teacher Award in 1971 and an award for his contributions to international education television development and academic leadership in 1979. He was a member of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters and the Broadcast Education Association. The scholarship was established in his honor after he retired. Christiansen passed away in 1996 at age 8