A vision of many Fort Hays State University faithful a few years ago, the project commonly referred to as "a place to call home," has been named after a couple who have demonstrated their affection and support for the university for many years.
The "W.R. and Yvonne Robbins Alumni & Endowment Center" will carry the name of Great Bend couple W.R. "Bill" and Yvonne Robbins. Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, and Virgil Scott, president and CEO of the FHSU Endowment Association, thanked Bill and Yvonne Robbins during a ceremony Friday afternoon at the building site near the university entrance from U.S. Highway 183 Alternate north of Gross Memorial Coliseum.
"It is only fitting that the new center, which will become the focal point of alumni activity while symbolizing support for the university, will be named after a couple who have given so much of themselves to Fort Hays State University during their lifetime," said President Hammond. "Bill and Yvonne Robbins have been dedicated supporters of Fort Hays State University and the Fort Hays State University Endowment Association for three decades. They have been dream builders and dream makers. The leadership Bill has provided the FHSU Endowment Association and the tremendous positive influence it has had on Fort Hays State University is nothing short of phenomenal. There are more scholarships for more students, enhanced programming at the university and soon a place to call home for Tiger alumni and friends, because of the leadership and extraordinary efforts of Bill Robbins."
Bill and Yvonne Robbins are owners and officers of Farmers Bank & Trust, Great Bend. Bill Robbins graduated from FHSU in 1959. He received the highest honor bestowed upon FHSU graduates, the Alumni Achievement Award, in 1997. Bill Robbins has been a member of the FHSU Endowment Association's Board of Trustees since 1974, serving as the chair from 1992 to 1994. In 1999 Mr. Robbins chaired the steering committee for the university's comprehensive capital campaign, the Centennial Campaign. Mr. and Mrs. Robbins were among the seven lead donors to the Alumni & Endowment Center project when the public phase of the fundraising campaign was launched in 2001.
"The Robbins Center will host many alumni activities in the future, enhancing the abilities of both the FHSU Alumni and Endowment Associations to provide services to our growing alumni base," said President Hammond.
Bill Robbins added, "The students and the future of Fort Hays State are the real winners here. The visibility that the new center will give to both associations and the university will lead to more support from more people to advance the efforts of Dr. Hammond and Fort Hays State University to provide a quality, affordable education for our students."
Scott agreed that the 25,000-square-foot facility would be a tremendous asset in furthering the work of both associations for the university. "We rely on the time, talent and treasure of our alumni and friends to enhance what Fort Hays State University has to offer," he said. Scott said that the center architect, Horst, Terrill & Karst of Topeka, would seek bids for the project in December and expects to break ground early in 2006. Estimated completion is spring of 2007.
Fundraising for the project has exceeded 95 percent of the goal.
Yvonne Robbins commented: "Fort Hays State University is such a special place and means so much to western Kansans. Bill and I have been extremely happy to play a role in advancing the mission of the university, and we are very honored to have our name recognized with this place that will indicate vision and strength and play an important role in the successful future of Fort Hays State University."