News from K-State media

K-State media:

In today’s news from K-State for Sunday March 29, 2009:

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1) Leaving a legacy: K-State President Jon Wefald’s Imprint on the University to be Evident for Years to Come

2) K-State’s First Lady Ruth Ann Wefald Leaves Lasting Legacy to University Arts, Community Service and More

3) The Jon Wefald Legacy: K-State’s Research Enterprise Grows to Substantial New Heights

1) Sources: Jon Wefald, 785-532-6221;
and Charles Reagan, 785-532-6221, Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Leaving a legacy:

MANHATTAN — Inspirational. Optimistic. Dedicated. And, above all, passionate. After 23 years as Kansas State University’s president these are only a few ways K-Staters will remember Jon Wefald.

But most of all, he gets credit for taking a university with declining enrollment, a struggling athletics program and limited research and graduate programs, and turning it into a nationally ranked top 10 land-grant university.

“At the core of his leadership is a ‘can-do,’ ‘will-do’ attitude that never gives up,” said Charles Reagan, assistant to the president. “He believes that all things are possible if you have the will to do them.”

During Wefald’s tenure, both the size and intellectual strength of the K-State student body has grown. University enrollment, which was around 16,000 in 1986, has grown nearly 50 percent to more than 23,500. At the same time, K-State produced 125 Rhodes, Marshall, Truman, Goldwater and Udall scholars — the highest among the nation’s 500 public universities and the second highest of any land-grant university in the U.S.

To enhance the university’s teaching and research pools Wefald also spearheaded a campaign to increase the number of endowed professorships and University Distinguished Professors. K-State now has three Carnegie/CASE national professors of the year, as well as seven Kansas Professor of the Year recipients and two national silver medalists, not to mention the many internationally recognized researchers in a wide array of disciplines.

“In 1986, there were no endowed professorships and no University Distinguished Professors,” Reagan said. “He started the University Distinguished Professor program and we now have 50 professors with that designation. We have raised endowments for 50 more endowed chairs.”

As K-State’s academic quality has grown, so has its ability to raise money. Private fundraising has multiplied tenfold since 1986, bringing in nearly $100 million in the last academic year. At the same time, competitive research funding has grown to $100 million, with overall research funding coming in at $220 million. In 1986, that figure was
$19 million.

“President Wefald’s management style is to hire excellent people and let them do their jobs,” Reagan said. “Gary Hellebust, president of the Kansas State University Foundation, and Ron Trewyn, vice president for research, are just two of many examples of this.”

Wefald’s impact on K-State also will be remembered in a physical sense.
More than 2.2 million square feet of new buildings have been added during a time characterized by declining funding for capital projects.
Besides contributing to the university’s academic environment, Wefald has supported a major addition to the library, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and the new alumni center. A recently started leadership studies building bearing Wefald’s name also will commemorate his visionary style of leadership.

In addition, Wefald helped resurrect K-State’s athletics program.

“Without President Wefald’s leadership, K-State would be in the Missouri Valley Conference playing basketball, instead of being a member of the prestigious Big XII Conference,” Reagan said

Excellence in academics, research and athletics mark the Wefald years at K-State and have made the university one of the top competitive research/doctoral universities in its class, Reagan said.

2) Source: Michaeline Chance-Reay, 785-532-6047, Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,


MANHATTAN — Twenty-three years ago when the Kansas Board of Regents chose Jon Wefald as Kansas State University’s 12th president, little did they know they were getting quite the package deal.

While President Wefald worked to reverse declining enrollment, resurrected a struggling athletic program, and built top-notch research and graduate programs, K-State’s first lady, Ruth Ann Wefald, worked tirelessly to support cultural and social causes on campus.

To her credit, she has helped raised money to build the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, the expansion of the International Student Center and a new university boathouse. Wefald has been an active supporter of the K-State dance program and women’s rowing team, and has spent countless hours as a volunteer for community organizations, fostering goodwill between the university and Manhattan community.

“She has improved K-State in innumerable ways. One has only to look around campus,” said Michaeline Chance-Reay, a K-State assistant professor of women’s studies and secondary education and author of “Land Grant Ladies: Kansas State University Presidential Wives.”

“There’s the Ruth Ann Wefald Gallery at the Beach Museum of Art, the Ruth Ann Wefald studio for dance in Nichols Hall and the Ruth Ann Wefald scholarship offered by the K-State Social Club,” Chance-Reay said. “She’s also the only first lady to have inspired an exhibit at both the local historical society and at Hale Library, both of which are based on my book ‘Land Grant Ladies.’ She has very much carried on the tradition of involvement initiated by her predecessors.”

Before coming to K-State, Wefald was extensively involved in a long list of organizations that provided aid for women, rural residents and the arts. The knack she had for working effectively for such causes became immediately apparent when she initiated a $6 million fundraising campaign to build the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. Talk of building a museum and centralizing the university’s art collection had been going on for years, but the commitment for such a capital project had yet to manifest itself, according to Chance-Reay.

“Ruth Ann felt a museum would be an optimal way to show our collection and share it with visitors,” Chance-Reay said.

After a decade-long capital campaign, the museum opened in 1996 — but Wefald’s campaign for the arts didn’t end there. She has stayed involved with the Friends of the Beach Museum, as well as served on the museum’s advisory and visitors boards.

“Ruth Ann Wefald has demonstrated a spirit of commitment of bringing the arts to K-State that is indeed rare,” said Lorne Render, director of the Beach Museum of Art. “She knows the arts enrich student, faculty, staff and community members’ lives, and her legacy of an outstanding museum will last for many generations to come. We are all grateful.”

In addition, K-State’s first lady has used her special brand of volunteerism for projects in the Manhattan community, including the Flint Hills Breadbasket, Cats for Cans and the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Food Drive – all projects that provide food and other resources to community members in need. For her efforts, she was named the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year in 1997.

“Ruth Ann truly enjoys being what she calls a professional volunteer,”
Chance-Reay said. “Her tireless dedication will not be forgotten.”

3) Source: Ron Trewyn, 785-532-5110, Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

The Jon Wefald Legacy:

MANHATTAN — Since Jon Wefald took the reigns at Kansas State University more than two decades ago, research has grown into a campuswide enterprise.

This last fiscal year, faculty researchers received 926 competitive grants totaling a record $118 million, according to Ron Trewyn, K-State’s vice president for research. That’s a more than sixfold increase in competitive funding since Wefald became president in 1986.
Add in $67.3 million in state and federal research funds, and $33.6 million in support from the Kansas State University Foundation, the university’s funding base for research alone was $219 million last fiscal year, Trewyn said.

“Since the beginning of his tenure, Jon Wefald has stressed excellence in research,” Trewyn said. “From attracting high-quality faculty, to investing in top-of-the-line research facilities, President Wefald has positioned K-State at the top of a distinguished list of research and doctoral universities.”

K-State’s research excellence was most recently acknowledged by the U.S.
Department of Homeland Security, when it named Manhattan the new home for the National Bio- and Agro-defense Facility. The facility, also known as NBAF, will be the nation’s premier federal animal health laboratory.

“Homeland security was looking to put NBAF in a place with an already established and well-respected research program in animal health and food safety and security. Decision makers specifically noted that the research programs at K-State’s colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine were an invaluable asset to NBAF’s mission,” Trewyn said.
“Thanks to President Wefald’s leadership, K-State was already at the forefront of food safety research initiatives two-and-a half years before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.”

Today, more than 150 K-Staters are involved in food safety and security and animal health research, with projects tackling issues in plant health, animal nutrition, infectious disease and public health.

To bolster K-State’s expertise even further, Wefald spearheaded the campaign to build K-State’s Biosecurity Research Institute — a task that took a unique combination of visionary leadership and political will, Trewyn said. Having the ability to do secure and sophisticated research helped clinch K-State’s bid for NBAF because the Department of Homeland Security could launch its research efforts before the NBAF is complete, he said.

“Over the last 23 years, Wefald created an academic environment where quality research could flourish in all disciplines across campus,”
Trewyn said. “His visionary leadership has undoubtedly made K-State what it is today — one of the most relevant and competitive research universities in the nation.”

—–Original Message—–
From: News Releases from K-State Media Relations [mailto:K-STATE_NEWS@LISTSERV.KSU.EDU] On Behalf Of Cheryl May
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 4:40 PM
Subject: Additional news from K-State media relations

In additional news from K-State for Wednesday, March 25, 2009:

1)  K-State Urging Alumni and Friends to Contact Kansas Legislators About ‘Potentially Devastating’ Budget Cuts

1) Sources: Bruce Shubert, 785-532-6226; Jon Wefald and Sue Peterson,
News release prepared by: Cheryl May, 785-532-6415,


MANHATTAN — Key Kansas State University administrators are urging alumni and friends of the university to contact their Kansas legislators to encourage them not to make devastating cuts to university budgets. The university is contacting about 27,000 alums and households.

“We understand the state of our economy and we are prepared to meet the
7 percent ($13 million) reduction in state funding as recommended by the Governor,” said Bruce Shubert, K-State’s vice president for administration and finance. “A cut of $13 million from our base budget will be extremely difficult. However, the approximate ($24 million) 13 percent recommended this week by the Kansas State Senate would forever alter the mission of our land-grant university.”

K-State President Jon Wefald said these kinds of budget cuts by the Kansas Legislature over the next 10 days would adversely impact K-State and the other state universities for years to come. “We need our alumni and friends to contact their state representative and state senator right away,” Wefald said.

“The Kansas House of Representatives has recently passed a 9 percent
($16.7 million) reduction,” said Sue Peterson, director of governmental relations and assistant to K-State’s president.

K-State’s administrative team said cuts greater than 7 percent would change the mission of K-State for years and years to come. They said a
9 percent reduction would begin to alter K-State’s mission as a land-grant university; and if the Senate position holds on to a 13 percent cut for the six state universities of Kansas, K-State’s mission as a land-grant university would be changed permanently.

“With these kinds of cuts, not only will we have to increase tuition and furlough employees, we would have a huge number of unfilled positions and layoffs which would result in reduced course offerings and reduced educational services,” Shubert said.

The six state universities of Kansas have never faced cuts of this magnitude in memory, Peterson said. In addition to these unprecedented cuts, K-State and the other state universities will have to pick up costs for utilities, employee fringe benefits and a number of additional costs. Under the Senate plan, K-State faces a $30 million challenge.

“Investment in higher education is critical,” Wefald said. “The state universities provide tremendous economic benefits to the people of our state. We hope our alumni and friends will add their voices to the discussion in Topeka and ask the Legislature to adopt the Governor’s recommendation.”

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