Office of the Dean
Dear K-State Salina family,
The 2014-2015 school year has officially begun and the campus is buzzing with vibrant energy from new and returning students as well as a record number of international students from Brazil, Czech Republic, Japan and China. The first day of classes was August 25 and that week as well as the following were packed full of fun activities to start our students’ year off right and better acquaint them with each other. As the fall semester gets further along, you’ll be hearing about a variety of events on campus and in the community that will continue to amplify Wildcat pride.
When a new academic year commences, it’s important for the university to revisit its goals, including progress made and continued future endeavors. On August 18, the campus celebrated Fall Kickoff, a time for all faculty and staff to join together to set the tone for the upcoming school year. The group focused extensively on motivation, dedication and enthusiasm. The group examined the questions of what difference are we making in the lives of our students and what kind of impact can we have on the community, nation and world? Through numerous discussions, it was very clear that the deeper understanding of “why” is what needs to drive us. When looking at the bigger picture of K-State as a whole, the objective of becoming a Top 50 public research university by the year 2025 remains at the forefront. On August 28, our campus welcomed President Schulz and Provost Mason to present their thoughts on our current successes and ideas on how to achieve progress in the future.
A few examples of K-State Salina’s recent evolution is the renaming of a residence hall, the building of the locker room addition to the Student Life Center and the renovation of a structure on campus to become the Welcome Center. On August 29, the campus held an official unveiling of Schilling Hall. For 20 years it was simply known as Residence Hall but after a Student Governing Association initiative, the name was changed to honor the campus’s history. It was an inspiration to see our students take pride in the campus and get involved in the process. Then on September 4, a ribbon cutting and open house was held for the Welcome Center and locker rooms. A large crowd of faculty, staff, and students, members of the Salina community and media, and even alumni gathered for this exciting occasion. These two new structures will undoubtedly propel K-State Salina towards one of its goals of having state-of-the-art facilities to enhance the student experience.
And speaking of heightening the student experience, a record number of international students will do just that! On August 19, K-State Salina welcomed its largest population ever to campus, including students from Brazil, Czech Republic, Japan and China, and the energy and excitement was amazing. The Brazilian students, our largest group containing 55, are studying engineering technology as well a few electives and are continuing to improve their English. And as much as they want to experience the American culture, our students from the United States are just as anxious to learn about their traditions as well as those from the West and Far East. All of the international students were invited to join the new and returning American students for a relatively new tradition on campus. Only in its second year, Convocation is a rite of passage for all students, officially welcoming them into a new school year. Bryon Williams from the Manhattan admissions office was the guest speaker and he left his listeners with many encouraging words of wisdom.
Though students are our main focus, it’s still important to spotlight the campus’s alumni and donors who continually pledge their support to and appreciation of K-State Salina’s efforts. August 6-8 and 25-27, director of development Amy Cole and I traveled to Dallas and the Denver/Boulder area to meet with K-State advocates. It was a pleasure meeting for the first time as well as reconnecting with our faithful alumni and donors. And hearing special stories from their experiences on campus were the icing on the cake. On September 4, Amy and I didn’t have to go very far to join an alumnus from the Kansas Technical Institute days. Dennis Shreves, ’72, and his wife Sue stopped by the campus for a visit. The four of us along with Julee Cobb, alumni coordinator, had lunch in the cafeteria and swapped stories about the campus, both past and present. Dennis and his wife reunited with several faculty they know and even stayed for the Welcome Center ribbon cutting. It was truly an exciting moment to have a graduate from more than 40 years ago experience a change on campus that will last at least 40 years into the future.
The delicate balance between honoring the past and moving forward is something K-State Salina is always striving towards. Our university is grateful to those that came before and laid the groundwork, and yet change is necessary to stay relevant for our current students. Someone that knows this very well is 35-year veteran David Delker. In August, K-State Salina said goodbye to David, the former associate dean of academic programs, as he began his retirement. David was on campus for many of the changes throughout KTI, KCT and K-State Salina, and I know he was the impetus for many of them. We will truly miss David, but wish him the best as he enjoys the next chapter of his life. And in October, the next chapter of this newsletter, I can’t wait to reveal even more positive and uplifting news.
Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
CEO, Kansas State University Salina
Dean, College of Technology and Aviation