K-State Salina
2310 Centennial Road
Salina, KS 67401-8196

Office of the Dean

November 2014


Dear K-State Salina family,

The fall semester is more than half over and the holiday season is upon us. This month in particular we are reminded to be cognizant of the blessings that make life meaningful. As I write this letter and reflect on my time at K-State Salina, we all have so much to be thankful for. Every day we get to work in a place that helps make dreams come true; we get to interact and connect with people that are going to change our future; and we get to serve a community that is loyal to our mission.

My appreciation for K-State Salina is really everywhere. Everyday, everyone contributes to our campus’s success and has had a hand in making K-State Salina thrive. We are truly grateful for the support.

In honor of Thanksgiving, I wish this month’s newsletter could recognize all of the contributions made on our campus, but I will try to keep it short and mention a few recent examples of collaborative efforts along with my gratitude for the service, participation, commitment and help so many people have given.

On October 1, the Dean’s Advisory Council met. This is a group of individuals that are committed to seeing K-State Salina develop, grow and prosper. The members volunteer their time, knowledge and ideas, and often provide financial support hoping to make a difference in the campus’s success. Without their contributions, we would be lacking in a community and an industry perspective. Thank you for your dedication and vision.

October 2, K-State Salina hosted Leadership Salina on campus. This group of individuals were sponsored and selected by various local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to participate in a specifically developed program that includes meetings, outings and projects to help them with their leadership and networking skills. Two of our employees, Eric Cole and Amy Sellers, are a part of the program this year and so far, they are very excited about the knowledge and connections they are learning from the process. Thank you Eric and Amy for representing the university and for working hard to get a full experience.

On October 7, I had the honor of thanking a couple for their significant deferred gift to the university and on Oct. 19 our campus held a dessert social to bring together scholarship donors with the student recipients of those gifts. It’s very important that our donors know how much we appreciate their generosity and hear stories from the recipients on how the scholarships have affected their lives. Because of donors’ selflessness and support, the student’s financial burden is lessened. Financial gifts to the university do not go unnoticed and it’s because of these thoughtful donations we are able to make a mark with students and in society.

K-State Salina hosted an event called The Art of the Science on Oct. 9, inviting the Salina community to explore our campus and enjoy tasty food and drink. We called it a ‘wine walk’ because there were four stops during the tour and along the way, guests could sample specialty wines from William Cole. Attendees experienced our newly renovated Welcome Center, the UAS lab and the mechanical engineering lab, and saw demonstrations from the digital media program, personal financial planning and chemistry. It was the first time we had organized The Art of the Science and the turnout was terrific. I want to thank our community and campus supporters for making the event so successful and for always showing an interest in learning more about K-State Salina.

On October 12, one of our unwavering supporters of the aviation program hosted a fundraiser for us at her home in Colorado. President Schulz and Provost Mason attended as well as did professional pilot student Ian Barnhart.  Thank you to Jan Burton, creator of the Connor Burton Aviation Foundation, for always looking for ways to further aviation education at K-State Salina.

With the university always developing, we have recently been given the green light to start focusing on building on-campus student apartments. But instead of just breaking ground and building typical college housing, we want to get feedback and opinions on student needs and practicality. On Oct. 23, Bill Bochte, director of facilities, held an open forum where students, faculty and staff could join in on the conversation with International Architects Atelier to discuss what is needed with this new project. I really appreciate everyone who gave constructive suggestions and ideas on the plans.

One of K-State Salina’s most exciting moments this year was when we learned our flight team had won the Loening Trophy at their national competition. The Loening Trophy has been around for years and universities like Harvard, Stanford and Purdue have all etched their names onto the award. It classifies its winner as the best all-around aviation program in the nation. On Oct. 25, the K-State Salina Flight Team was honored for their achievement on the field at Snyder Stadium during a timeout at a home football game. I’m so grateful our athletics organization allowed a crowd of 50,000 people to witness a group of men that have worked extremely hard to represent K-State on a national level. I also want to thank the members of the team for their dedication while training for the competition.

On a personal note, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without counting my blessings when it comes to family. On Oct. 10, my first grandchild, Piper Jane, was born in Ohio. It is a love like I’ve never known. I couldn’t be more grateful to be her Nona.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday and I hope 2014 has left you with many moments and memories in which you can give thanks. 



Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
CEO, Kansas State University Salina
Dean, College of Technology and Aviation