HAYS, KS -- Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, presented a check for $29,112.70 to Dan Stecklein, chairman of the 2001 Campaign for the United Way of Ellis County, during a ceremony Tuesday morning on the university campus.
Hammond and his wife, Viv, announced that Fort Hays State University successfully completed this year's United Way fund drive by surpassing its goal of $29,000. The $29,112.70 donated this year exceeded last year's Fort Hays State donations to the United Way by $2,180.58. Ed and Viv Hammond served as co-chairs for the United Way 2001 Campaign on campus.
"We know that even before the events of 9-1-1, some of our friends and neighbors here in Ellis County were beginning to feel the effects of a slowing economy," the president said. "The services of the local United Way agencies give people a lift when they need it most and help them fulfill their potential as individuals and as citizens."
Hammond emphasized that all the money collected in the United Way drive on campus comes from individuals. "It really is an extraordinary gesture that the campus community stepped up in such a big way to exceed last year's total," he said. "It's also significant to note that as an institution funded by student tuition and tax dollars, we are not able to provide any sort of 'corporate' match for the contributions made by our faculty, retired faculty and staff," he said.
"I was also pleased by the increase in the number of first-time givers," he added.
In accepting the check, Stecklein said he appreciated the investment in the community made by the faculty, retired faculty and staff at Fort Hays State University.
"Their support of the local agencies funded by the United Way shows their commitment to building a strong, healthy community where neighbors care for one another," he said. "Although the university cannot match the individual giving by its faculty, retired faculty and staff, the United Way was able to leverage the gifts from its first-time donors and donors who increased their giving over the last year. These gifts were matched by Williams, a leader in the energy industry, so that the total impact of university giving exceeds $29,800.
"Beginning in 1953 when Robert T. McGrath, a faculty member at Fort Hays State University, led the first United Way campaign, the university has been involved with the United Way. The faculty and staff have given not only their money but also their time to many United Way agencies.
"University faculty were instrumental in organizing the Northwest Kansas Family Shelter and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the High Plains. University leadership provided the first accessible transportation through an Easter Seals van now operated by the Western Kansas Association on Concerns of the Disabled. A strong partnership with the Hays Area Children's Center provides a learning lab for university students while giving our most vulnerable citizens an opportunity for a higher quality of life."
Stecklein said the United Way and Fort Hays State University work together as partners to care for our community. "Thank you for giving your time and money to help those in need in our community," he said. "With the Power of U we can change lives."
A total of 63 units on campus achieved a 100 percent participation rate, meaning that every employee in those units returned a pledge card. Those 63 units represent 651 employees, or 91 percent of the Tiger family. Twenty-one offices or departments achieved Gold Award status. This is recognition from the United Way that a unit made a combined gift of $500 or more, with 100 percent participation or an average gift of $25 per person.