Major gift to FHSU's Centennial Campaign will help students from Rush and Ness counties

HAYS, KS -- Dr. Edward H. Hammond, president of Fort Hays State University, announced at a news conference today that the Centennial Campaign had received a gift of $1,087,000 to assist FHSU students from Rush and Ness counties.

The money, from the estate of R.L. (Ralph Lawrence) "Sam" Young, will be placed in an endowed fund at the FHSU Endowment Association, with income from the investment used to assist students.

University officials, directors of the Centennial Campaign and other guests gathered in Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus this morning for the announcement of this latest gift, which brings the campaign total to $27.25 million. The Centennial Campaign was launched in September 1999 with a goal of raising $30 million. It will conclude next year when Fort Hays State University celebrates its 100th year.

President Hammond said that Sam Young, who was born in March 1904 and died May 25, 2000, was a long-time friend and supporter of the university. He attended Fort Hays State before transferring to Washburn University, where he earned both undergraduate and law degrees. Young had received financial help while attending Washburn law school.

Sam Young married Ada Andrews on June 10, 1934. They had no children. She preceded him in death. He was an attorney in Alexander, LaCrosse, Larned and Ness City, and was a member of the Kansas Bar Association.

"Sam always believed that buying land was a good investment, and he accumulated land in five counties," President Hammond said. "Sam felt a special closeness to the Bannister family, who were farm neighbors in Rush County." Dr. Marcia Bannister is chair of the Department of Communication Disorders at FHSU, and her husband, Bill, is a prominent member of the Hays community, having recently served on the school board. Three of their four sons have been student body presidents at FHSU. One of those sons, Dr. Mark Bannister, is chair of FHSU's Department of Information Networking and Telecommunications.

Hammond noted that Young once said of the Bannisters in a letter, "All of us were always good friends all our lives."

Sam Young was a charter member of the Lyman Dwight Wooster Society at the FHSU Endowment Association. He had expressed an interest in helping students attend Fort Hays State. So, upon his death, the majority of his estate was divided between the FHSU Endowment Association and the Washburn University Endowment Association. Ronald Pridey was the conservator for Young and the administrator of the properties.

Bill Robbins, chair of the Centennial Campaign, spoke about the importance of the gift. "We are grateful to the late Sam Young for his generosity to Fort Hays State University," Robbins said. "The former student remembered Fort Hays State well by bequeathing a major portion of his estate to the FHSU Endowment Association for support of the university. The gift will be endowed and the earnings will provide scholarships for students from Rush and Ness counties. Bequests and other estate planning gifts make significant contributions to the university each year. We are fortunate to have friends and alumni who believe in the university, and who have the foresight to make Fort Hays State a part of their estate plans."

Virgil Scott, president and CEO of the Endowment Association, said he enjoyed knowing Sam Young. "It was always a special occasion to tour his farmland with him and hear a few of his many stories," Scott said. "He had a love for the land, and helping future students receive their higher education was a priority."

Scott introduced Larry Tittel of Ness City, executor of the Young estate, who presented the check to President Hammond.

Craig Karlin, director of Student Financial Assistance at FHSU, said the gift would be highly effective. "The Fort Hays State University student population is one of the most needy in the state," he said. "As such, our students rely heavily on all forms of assistance -- especially scholarships. Scholarships help lower accumulation of debt. The Sam Young Scholarship is a fantastic gesture of support for the citizens of Ness and Rush counties to help them attain their educational goals."

Money raised in the campaign is aimed at strengthening the university in six areas, called pillars:
Pillar One: Endowed Scholarships and Fellowships. $11.8 million. This will be used to endow the Bronze Award and the Award of Excellence ($2.5 million) and endow scholarship funds for each of the colleges ($2 million each). Another $650,000 will be used to endow departmental scholarship funds, and $650,000 will endow an outreach student scholarship fund.

Pillar Two: Faculty Enhancement and Research. $3.7 million. Money in this pillar will endow two chair positions, two professorships, four graduate assistantships or fellowships, and one artist or executive in residence.

Pillar Three: Buildings and Renovations. $8 million. Featured in this section is a new Alumni/Endowment Center, development of new collections and infrastructure improvements to Forsyth Library, and exhibits at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

Pillar Four: Curricular Enhancement and Co-Curricular Initiatives. $2 million. Money for this pillar will endow lecture series, seminars, colloquia or publications, and develop international programs.

Pillar Five: Intercollegiate Athletics. $2 million. For this section, $1 million will endow athletic scholarships and $1 million will be used to renovate seats in Gross Memorial Coliseum and complete the renovation of Lewis Field.

Pillar Six: Campus of the Future. $2.5 million. This money will be used to invest in technology, equipment and programs to reach learners throughout Kansas and the world.

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