A new scholarship created in the honor of a long-time Fort Hays State University dairy employee was awarded for the first time during the 2002-2003 academic year at FHSU.
The university dairy was established in 1914 when a herd of Ayrshire cows belonging to a nearby farmer was used to teach practical aspects of dairy and creamery practice. Through the years the dairy has become an occupation and home to many but none more so than Albert Graf.
Graf began his career at the Fort Hays State dairy as a part-time helper in 1939 and on April 1, 1942, he became the manager. More than 40 years later, on April 17, 1982, Graf retired but still remains involved today.
In honor of Graf's dedication and work the Kansas Dairy Commission and Dennis Metz, FHSU alumnus, teamed up to create the Albert Graf Scholarship.
"I appreciate the dedication of the scholarship and all of the help I received from the students, university and everyone. I couldn't have done it alone," said Graf.
The $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Shelly (Vandiver) Howland. Howland is a sophomore from Atchison who is majoring in animal science.
The Graf Scholarship is awarded on the basis that recipients must be agriculture or agribusiness majors who are classified as sophomores, juniors or seniors. Students must be Kansas residents who have an interest and/or experience in the dairy field and who show academic promise.
"The Kansas Dairy Commission created the Al Graf Scholarship to remember the significant contributions that Al has made to the dairy industry, to the university and to the lives of many FHSU students," said Metz.
The Kansas Dairy Commission's goal behind creating the scholarship for FHSU was not only to recognize Graf but also to help any student who may be interested in the dairying industry, said Metz. The commission also wanted to recognize and show gratitude to FHSU for its years of service in supplying dairy cattle for the state fair, he said.
"We are quite pleased that Mr. Metz and the Kansas Dairy Commission have created this scholarship within the FHSU Department of Agriculture," said Dr. John Greathouse, chair of the department. "It will provide important financial support for students who have a strong interest in the Kansas dairy industry. Furthermore, it will serve as a continual reminder of the positive impact that Al Graf has had on the lives of so many students who have passed, and continue to pass, through this institution."