Three Hays residents with historic ties to Fort Hays State University have donated $100,000 to the university's $30-million Centennial Campaign, earmarking the gift for the planned Alumni & Endowment Center.
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, announced the latest gift during a news conference this morning on the FHSU campus. The gift was provided by Norbert Dreiling, a prominent Hays attorney who was a close adviser to the late Kansas Gov. Robert Docking, by his wife, Jean "Jeanie" Dreiling, and by her sister, Lois Lee Myerly.
Virgil Scott, president and CEO of the Endowment Association, said the goal for the Alumni & Endowment Center is $4.5 million, and today's gift brings the total pledged to $3 million. "Again, trustees of the FHSU Endowment Association have shown their commitment and dedication to Fort Hays State University by stepping forward to help us in our efforts to build this Center for all alumni and friends of FHSU," Scott said. Norb Dreiling has long been a trustee for the FHSU Endowment Association.
"Lois Lee Myerly, who could not join us today, graduated in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and in 1966 with a master's degree in Business Education," President Hammond said. "She was a member of the FHSU family for 22 years. She served the university in many roles, primarily as an instructor of business education and as assistant to several university presidents between 1966 and her retirement in 1988. Lois Lee continued to volunteer her time for the benefit of FHSU, serving on the FHSU Endowment Association Board of Trustees from 1992 to the present, part of that time on the executive committee. She received the Nita M. Landrum Award from the FHSU Alumni Association."
The president quoted Lois Lee: "Fort Hays State has played a big role in my life. I appreciate this opportunity to give a little back to an institution that has influenced my life and the lives of so many other students."
President Hammond introduced the Dreilings, who both were in attendance at the news conference.
"Jeanie (Myerly) Dreiling graduated in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and taught in Hill City before marrying Norbert Dreiling in August of 1948. Norb graduated in 1946 with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and continued his education at Washburn University Law School, where he earned his law degree in 1949. Norb and Jeanie returned to Hays where he established the private law firm, Dreiling, Bieker and Hoffman. He served two terms as Ellis County attorney, from 1951-55, He is a member of the Democratic Party, which he served as state chairman from 1966-74."
The president pointed out that Norb and Jeanie raised four children: Jan Schuster of Bradenton, FL, Mark, of Denver, Curtis of Estes Park, and Kathy of Colorado Springs, and that several of the children also earned degrees from Fort Hays State.
"As a member of the FHSU Endowment Association Board of Trustees since 1949, Norb Dreiling has made the welfare of FHSU his concern for more than 50 years. The faith Norb, Jeanie and Lois Lee have in Fort Hays State University, and its mission in the coming century, is reflected in their gift today," the president said.
"I don't recall my first experience at Fort Hays State," Norb Dreiling said. "Growing up in Hays it was always a part of my life. My folks expected us to go to college there."
Norb Dreiling called the university a "class act."
"We appreciate the care and consideration that President Hammond and his administration have given to the physical and academic aspects of Fort Hays State. President Hammond has put FHSU on the map," he said.
Speaking for himself, his wife and his sister-in-law, Dreiling said they chose to support the Alumni & Endowment Center because they believe it will be a visible sign of the university's status as an institution of excellence. He said he was pleased that alumni, current students and faculty would have access to the facility. "It will provide the space needed for the FHSU Alumni and Endowment Associations to properly do their jobs in promoting the well-being of FHSU, and it will be available for social gatherings, educational seminars and fundraising events," he said.
Most universities have such a facility, but the FHSU Endowment Association is now located in a remodeled house in a residential block across the street from the campus, and the Alumni Association is located in one wing of a student residence hall.
All of that will change with construction of a new facility that will provide quality space for the activities of both associations. The new Alumni & Endowment Center will be located near the university's convenient entrance on the U.S. 40 Bypass.
Bill Robbins, chair of the Centennial Campaign, said today's gift brings the new Center even closer to reality. "This is a great day for Fort Hays State University and the Centennial Campaign," he said. "I want to thank Norb, Jeanie and Lois Lee for their generosity. We now have commitments for two-thirds of the funds needed for construction. Thank you again Norb, Jeanie and Lois Lee for helping us reach the $3 million benchmark and giving us momentum to raise the final $1.5 million."