Kansas State University


Student Stories

What Makes K-State Great: Dr. Emily Lehning


Associate Vice President for Student Life and

Director of New Student Services

From Olivet, Kansas

Strengths: Maximizer, Arranger, Individualization, Learner, and Achiever

This phenomenal woman is someone that you need to know.


Not only is she a great resource to have for all things professional and K-State, she is also an amazing person! Her musical interests are broad (Angus and Julia Stone, George Strait, Ray LaMontagne, and 80’s hair bands are just a few), and her spirit animal is the Nashville (TV show) character Connie Britton’s hair! Dr. Lehning finished a half-marathon last spring, enjoys canning food, and loves traveling. At K-State, she is always helping others, giving presentations, or just generally improving the university.

Here’s a bit about Dr. Emily Lehning, in her own words:

“I consider myself really lucky to have a job that I love, and my passions for helping people and serving K-State fuel me. I am able to work long hours and manage many commitments because I feel a strong sense of responsibility and purpose in my work. Outside of K-State, you will find me working on projects around my house, working in my garden, cooking, baking, reading, or learning about a new topic or hobby. Doing what I love for me means that I often lose track of time and feel energized by the activity.”

Here’s another cool thing about her: Dr. Lehning and her husband, Jeremy, raise alpacas. (You know, the furry, loving, llama-like creatures that have super soft fur?) In addition to their alpaca herd, the Lehnings are also involved in vintage collections, gardening, and restoring a church in Emily’s hometown. To learn more about these cool hobbies of your favorite Associate VP for Student Life/Director of NSS, check out the Prairie School Farms blog:


Another great trait that Dr. Lehning possesses is the ability to assess herself.

“Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has a principle of happiness that is “Be Gretchen.” It has taken me a lot of years to try to understand what “Be Emily” means for me. I think that as I have grown up, I have come to accept some things about myself and to better understand my strengths. For example, I know that I am not an easy going person. I used to TRY to be easy going, but in the end, I am naturally intense and driven and someone who wants to fix things and work on things. Once I accepted this about myself, I learned that I can manage this tendency and have to make a conscious choice about when I need to dial back the intensity or when I need to let things go or not be too attached to an outcome.”

Self-assessment is an ability that is important for everyone, not just K-State Administration. We can all follow Emily’s lead by trying to better understand ourselves, determine what being ‘me’ really means to each of us, and learning to accept and put to use our self-discoveries!

Here are some flash facts about Dr. Lehning:

  • If she could live anywhere, she’d pick MHK! (“I am really proud of the fact I live somewhere that I love and there is no place that I would rather be.”)
  • She loves watching high school basketball: “The game is just so pure and the emotions are real. It’s my favorite Friday night date with my husband.”
  • She has a kind heart.

When asked if she would rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job, she said: “I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive. I would love to win the lottery and then my job would be to give away all of my money! My husband and I always say when there is a huge lottery award, “think of all the good we could do with that!”


I’d like to say a huge thank-you to Dr. Lehning for helping me kick of the What Makes K-State Great blog series. She is truly a wonderful woman, and if you have the opportunity you should take the time to introduce yourselves to her and get to know her. We’re lucky to have her here in the Little Apple, and she truly does make K-State SO great.

Also a big thank-you to Amy Perry for her awesome photography skills! 

About Malorie

My name is Malorie Wagner, and I am a junior majoring in English. I believe that everyone here has a story, and I hope to share some of the stories of those that make our university so great with you through my blog. Go ‘Cats!

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