HAYS, KS -- Former Fort Hays State University President Dr. Gerald W. Tomanek was honored Feb. 17 with the Distinguished Service Award at the Society for Range Management national meeting in Kansas City, MO.
The Distinguished Service Award is presented by the SRM to an individual for important contributions to the profession of range management. It recognizes long and faithful service in the areas of range management practices, education, administration, research, agribusiness, international affairs, legislation or public affairs.
Tomanek was born in 1921 in Quinter, KS. He received his B.S. in 1942 and M.S. in 1947, both from FHSU and both in botany, and his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Nebraska in 1951.
In 1947, Tomanek began his career at FHSU as an instructor of biology. From 1956 to 1972 he served as chair of the Biology Department before moving into administration. He served as vice president for academic affairs from 1972 to 1975 and as university president from 1975 until his retirement in 1987.
During his tenure at FHSU, Tomanek was actively involved in research and published numerous papers in state, national and international journals. He has given hundreds of illustrated talks and technical presentations on plants and animals of the prairie. He also traveled to Argentina in 1961 on a U.S. State Department-sponsored trip to help ranchers with range management issues.
Tomanek was devoted not only to research but also to teaching. Over the course of his 40 years at FHSU he made an impact on hundreds of students. Two years ago he published a book, Beyond the Classroom, which traces the paths of 330 former students who studied at FHSU during his 25 years in the Biology Department. These students are currently employed in a wide range of occupations, from natural resources to private enterprise, and are spread across the country and throughout the world. More than 60 percent of these students went on to finish their masters' degrees and 25 percent completed doctoral programs.
Tomanek's previous honors include the FHSU Alumni Achievement Award, the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas Kansan of the Year Award, the Kansas Wildlife Society Conservation Educator of the Year Award, the Kansas Association of Soil Conservation Service Districts Distinguished Service Award and the Society for Range Management Trail Boss Award. The physical sciences building at FHSU, completed in 1995, is named after him.
The Society for Range Management is a professional scientific society and conservation organization devoted to studying, conserving, managing and sustaining the varied resources of rangelands throughout the world.