HAYS, KS -- The series of monthly Centennial events at Fort Hays State University moves to Gross Memorial Coliseum this Saturday for an event that will include an opportunity for everyone who attends to make his or her mark on history.
The university has produced an ornate Centennial scroll that will be placed in a time capsule to be buried later as part of the continuing activities throughout 2002, the university's 100th year. Everyone who attends the game will be invited to sign the scroll, which will be available at a special table between Gate 2 and Gate 3 throughout both the women's and men's basketball contests against Regis University of Denver. The women's game begins at 6 p.m., followed by the men's game at about 8 p.m.
The scroll reads:
We, the undersigned students, faculty, staff and friends of Fort Hays State University, bear witness that we have faithfully executed the charge that was entrusted to us by those who founded this great university. Further, we challenge those who open this time capsule to honor our commitment by rededicating themselves to the educational mission of Fort Hays State University.
Attested in 2002, Our 100th year
A brief Centennial ceremony will take place during halftime of the men's basketball game. Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, has invited Kansas legislators to attend the event. They will accompany him to the basketball court, where he will say a few words about the state legislation that paved the way for the creation of Fort Hays State University, and then the lawmakers will join the president in signing the scroll.
The university conducted a Centennial event in January to commemorate the federal legislation that was signed into law on March 28, 1900, by President William McKinley, transferring the land of the vacated Fort Hays Military Reservation to the state of Kansas to be used as the site of a new university.
With passage of the enabling federal legislation, it was then necessary to get state approval. Saturday's Centennial event will commemorate the efforts that culminated on Feb. 26, 1901, when Gov. W.E. Stanley signed into law legislation creating the Western Branch of the Kansas Normal School of Emporia, which is known today as Fort Hays State University.
The school's first session -- with 34 students, two faculty members and 19 classes -- began on June 23, 1902, in old fort buildings south of Big Creek. By 1904, the new institution was ready to move north across the creek and occupy the first building, Picken Hall, in the heart of the campus.
The full story of the life of Fort Hays State University is told in the new Centennial history book, Lighthouse on the Plains: Fort Hays State University, 1902-2002, by Dr. James Forsythe, university historian.
The book will be available for purchase from the FHSU Alumni Association during Saturday night's basketball games at two tables in Gross Memorial Coliseum. One table will be located beside the table with the Centennial scroll on the ground floor. The other table will be located near Gate 2 on the second floor of the Coliseum.
As a special attraction, Dr. Forsythe will be available during the games to sign his book. He will be located at another table next to the scroll.
The book is available in both hardbound and softbound versions. Both versions are 6" x 9" library quality books. The hardbound version is suitable for special gift giving or as a collector's item. It features a black leatherette cover with a brushed gold foil stamping of the Centennial seal on the front and the same brushed gold metallic foil stamp of the title on the spine. The hardbound version also features FHSU gold headbands and footbands and gold-colored end leaf sheets. The less expensive softbound version also is quite attractive, with a black, linen-textured cover and the same foil stamping that is featured on the hardbound version.
The hardbound version is $25 and the softbound version is $15, plus a small additional charge for postage and handling. Both books can be purchased anytime from the FHSU Alumni Association. Quantities are limited.