Office of the Dean
Dear K-State Salina family,
Wow! The end of the school year is here. And just as students must reflect back on what they've learned throughout the semester to prepare for finals, this is also time for faculty and staff to contemplate where we've been, and celebrate all that has been accomplished.
This year is extra special as we are honoring a milestone for our campus. Fifty years ago, two men, Henry Neely and Thomas Creech, altered the course of higher education in Kansas and helped create a much-needed engineering technology program to serve the residents of the state. That college was established on our campus property in April 1965, laying the foundation for our programs today. All year long K-State Salina will be paying homage to its history with a variety of signature events; but because the month of April, in particular, has significant meaning in the inauguration of the campus, we kicked off the 50th anniversary celebration at Open House on April 11 and continued the festivities through the next week, culminating at the Semicentennial Celebration – the formal dinner and dueling pianos party.
At these events, along with the Alumni Fellow celebration which took place April 16 and 17, K-State Salina welcomed back many former students as well as supporters, advisory council members, faculty, staff and community members to campus. To have so many loyal Wildcats together that believe in our mission and want to see us thrive was encouraging and inspiring, and of course, down right fun. This type of support gives K-State Salina the kind of momentum we need for another 50 years.
As I mentioned before, in the midst of the anniversary events, K-State Salina honored its newest Alumni Fellow. This year, Beverly Gatton, '86, was selected into our elite group of 23 fellows who are chosen because of how each has distinguished him or herself after graduating. Beverly has been working for more than 20 years in the information technology field and is currently a national project manager with Fidelity Information Services in Kansas City. Beverly and her husband Lee, who is also an Alumni Fellow, have always been strong advocates of K-State Salina and it was our honor to celebrate her accomplishments and all that she has done to support the campus.
One of the best ways to help our alumni invest in the university is to make sure they are engaged from the very beginning as students. Student life does an excellent job of creating opportunities for leadership development, cultural growth and camaraderie. In March, we celebrated the installation of international flags and military crests in the cafeteria – a project spearheaded by members of the Multicultural Student Union. The MSU also sponsored the Taste of Home foods fair where international students shared cuisine that originates from their heritage and included personal stories connected with their recipes and food. Students were also invited to learn about social issues affecting communities today during the Civic Luncheon Lectures in March and April, which focused on restorative justice and the applications of big data, respectively. Our student body elected new SGA leadership, with Elliot Rogers winning president and Ian Bonsall being chosen as vice president. I am excited to see how Elliot and Ian will guide our students in the coming year and I expect they will gain tremendous new skills from this opportunity.
The end of the school year also brings about inevitable goodbyes, to both students and faculty. Commencement is on May 9 and we will be sending off more than 100 graduates to their next destination. I hope that wherever they go, our students will take a big piece of K-State Salina with them – fond memories, friendships, ingenuity, confidence, innovation and the knowledge that they can do anything, if they believe in themselves and work hard. I look forward to learning more about where each graduate ends up. And I am also excited to see what the future holds for our faculty and staff that are retiring this year. On April 30, the campus honored five K-Staters – Dr. Judy Collins, John Heublein, Dr. Barney King, Mona Pool and Jaci Walsh – for their service to the university. We are so grateful for the commitment that each of these individuals have made to the campus and our students since their arrival and I wish them the best of luck with where retirement takes them.
As K-State Salina now moves into the summer semester, the campus will undoubtedly be a little bit quieter. However, summer classes will be in session; Discovery Programming begins for area youth; Upward Bound programs commence; campus representatives will head to Wisconsin in July to promote our aviation program at AirVenture in Oshkosh; and we will cut the purple ribbon on the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center.
I hope we all find some time to enjoy summer in Kansas. So I invite you to pull up a lawn chair, pour yourself a cool drink and toast to another wonderful year at K-State Salina.
Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
CEO, Kansas State University Salina
Dean, College of Technology and Aviation