FHSU's Centennial event for April will focus on Martin Allen Hall, new mural and sculptures

HAYS, KS -- The latest in the series of monthly Fort Hays State University Centennial events will have both a historic and an artistic flair.

The April ceremony will showcase Martin Allen Hall, which was re-dedicated during a pre-Centennial event on Oct. 2, 1999, after extensive remodeling. The building, named in honor of the Hays pioneer who spearheaded efforts to establish a state university in Hays, is the second oldest on campus after Picken Hall.

Martin Allen Hall has served many functions through the years. The latest and most extensive renovation won architectural awards, and the building now serves as the home of FHSU's Department of Psychology.

The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 26, on the patio adjacent to Martin Allen Hall. Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, will talk about Martin Allen and early FHSU presidents William Picken and Clarence Rarick, who provided critical early leadership for the university. Following the president, Dr. Robert Markley, chair of the Psychology Department, will speak about a new tile mural that has been created outside Martin Allen Hall.

The mural is the latest addition to the artwork that decorates the patio, which provides a commons area connecting Martin Allen Hall, Picken Hall and Rarick Hall, which is the home of the Art Department.

The emphasis on art is especially appropriate at the April Centennial event, because the "Deeply Rooted" sculpture by Linda Ganstrom, associate professor of art, was unveiled as part of the 1999 pre-Centennial event. Ganstrom also will speak about the creation of the new mural. Mick Jilg, interim chair of the Art Department, will talk about other sculptures that will be available for viewing on the patio on Friday.

The public is welcome at all the monthly events throughout 2002, FHSU's Centennial year.

April's Centennial event has another historical connection. The time and date were chosen because they coincide with a meeting of the Half-Century Club, which is a group of people who collectively know as much or more about Fort Hays State University than anyone. They will be special guests at the Friday morning ceremony.

Fort Hays State University created the Half-Century Club on Oct. 18, 1969, to convey its esteem of the university's graduates. Since its inception, the club has grown to include more than 1,800 members living worldwide. Each year, graduates of the 50-year class are formally inducted during the group's Homecoming meeting. During this ceremony, each new member receives a Half-Century Club pin, which symbolizes the lineage from the past and foundation for the future, along with a certificate.

In addition to those who have graduated 50 or more years ago, the group also includes retired FHSU faculty. One of the Half-Century Club key projects is support of academic scholarships for FHSU students. Eli Boucher of Hays is current president of the Half-Century Club.

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Kent Steward, Director   |  ksteward@fhsu.edu  |  Kurt Beyers, Assistant Director   |  kbeyers@fhsu.edu