HAYS, KS - A place to call home The Fort Hays State University Alumni and Endowment Associations need a home where they can work more efficiently for the benefit of the university and where alumni and friends can gather. 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 in the not-too-distant future 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.
Plans for the new Alumni/Endowment Center were unveiled this morning during a news conference in the Dreiling Lobby of Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus.
"This new Alumni/Endowment Center will greatly enhance the quality of service that our two associations can provide to the alumni and supporters of Fort Hays State University," said Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president. "This project has required cooperation from several entities. A land swap agreement between the university and the Endowment Association has been approved by the Kansas Board of Regents and is currently going through the legislative process for approval. We hope to break ground in the fall of 2002, and we expect construction to take approximately 12 to 14 months."
The president said that seven donors had pledged and or contributed a total of $2 million to the project. The total goal for the building is $4.5 million.
Bill Robbins, chair of the university's ongoing Centennial Campaign, announced that with the latest $2 million in gifts, the campaign has reached $25.5 million of its $30 million goal. Robbins explained that creation of the Alumni/Endowment Center was Pillar 3 of the campaign's six pillars. "We will now be entering the public phase of the building campaign," he said.
Virgil Scott, president and CEO of the Endowment Association, said the new home would be a tremendous asset in furthering the work of the association. He explained that the building committee, which includes representatives from the Alumni and Endowment Associations, had recommended the architect, reviewed the design and layout of the building and, in general, was instrumental in the creation of the new facility. Scott introduced the architects from Horst, Terrill & Karst Architects of Topeka, the firm that also designed the award-winning Tomanek Hall at FHSU. Scott also thanked the Endowment Board of Trustees for its leadership.
Debra Prideaux, director of alumni/governmental relations for FHSU, explained how the Alumni/Endowment Center would benefit her organization's operation and activities, and she thanked the Alumni Association Board of Directors for its support on this and other projects.
The news conference also included remarks from the donors, who have all served as trustees of the Endowment Association.
Darrel Rolph of Wichita, who was also speaking for his wife, Dee, said, "The FHSU Endowment Association offers friends and alumni of the university an opportunity to enhance the quality and direction of public education through private funding. A new Alumni/Endowment Center will increase the visibility and awareness of that opportunity. The center will provide a home for FHSU alumni and friends, and much needed work space for the alumni and the endowment staffs."
Robert E. Schmidt of Hays expressed similar sentiments on behalf of himself and his wife, Patricia. "Pat and I are pleased to join others in supporting the construction of the FHSU Alumni/Endowment Center," he said. "The center will be a source of pride and a beautiful home for alumni and friends of the university. We congratulate the leadership of Bill Robbins, Darrel Rolph and others who have lifted this project from the paper stage to reality."
Don Bickle of Hays called the new center an investment in the future. "Cecilia and I are pleased that we can appear with such an august group in support of this dynamic structure," he said on behalf of himself and his wife. "Yes, it is an investment in our future. Students, alumni and friends of the university can gather there for various activities. The common spirit generated by these activities will reinforce their commitment to becoming financially involved not only with Fort Hays State University now, but also for generations to come."
Richard Diamond of Mankato said he looked forward to completion of the new facility. "As Fort Hays State University approaches its Centennial celebration in 2002, the construction of the FHSU Alumni/Endowment Center is another asset added to the growth of the university. The combined efforts of the Alumni Association and the FHSU Endowment Association in construction of the center indicate a vision of additional strength and planning. The architects' design of the new center is excellent and a welcome addition to the campus."
Jim Thurman of Great Bend offered a historical perspective. "When I was discharged from the service in 1946, I arrived home on a Friday and my mother had me enrolled at Fort Hays State on Monday," he recalled. "I have been an enthusiastic supporter ever since. My wife and I had five children who graduated from Fort Hays, and we now have two grandsons attending Fort Hays State. It is a great institution. I am excited about the Alumni/Endowment Center. It will be an asset to the university."
And finally, Yvonne Robbins spoke on behalf of herself and her husband, Bill. "We are happy to be a part of the force propelling Fort Hays State University into the future," she said. "The new Alumni-Endowment Center will put Fort Hays State on equal footing with other Regent institutions as we compete for students. A building designated for alumni and endowment activities shows a commitment to the future of the university and its growing family."
An additional donation came from the late Dale Shade of Hays, who served as president of the Endowment Association and was a member of the Executive and Investment Committees.