I had a terrific 10 day trip to the East Coast to visit with K-State folks, attend a board meeting, and to visitnmy parents. I have not really done any blog entries in over a year, and I am going to try and do one per week for the rest of the semester. Go Cats!
April is always one of the busiest months of the academic year, as we have all of the “end-of-the-year” events. It is always fun to watch another set of successful K-State graduates walk across the stage at graduation and go out and make their way in the world.
I do love Spring in Kansas (at least when it stays for more than a day or two). While the First Lady and I have been out walking around campus over the last week, the transformation from winter to spring has been remarkable and beautiful. If you have a chance to walk around our campus and enjoy the scenery, please do so – it is incredible to see how pretty our campus is with the flowers blooming and the trees budding.
I promise it won’t be another 4 months until my next entry!
Good morning and welcome to the new year! I have been pretty delinquent with my blog postings – and I am going to do a better job during this upcoming semester.
So, what is ahead at K-State for the upcoming year?
First, let me welcome Dr. April Mason as our new Provost and Senior Vice President – today is her first day – so please join me in welcoming April to K-State and Manhattan.
Second, we will be starting our K-State 2025 Visionary Planning process over the next couple of months, so please be watching for more information on this – we want all of our alumni and friends to participate.
Finally, a big congratulations to Coach Patterson and the Women’s Basketball Team on a big win over the University of Kansas at home on Saturday!
Every Man a Wildcat!
Well, here we are 8 games into the college football season, and where does Kansas State sit in the standings – leading the Big 12 North! It is great to see our fans come out, our team improving every week, and a strong sense of excitement among the Wildcat faithful.
I just returned from a Big 12 Board of Directors meeting. The Presidents/Chancellors all get together three times per year to discuss items like conference policy, TV deals, and other issues which effect the national impact and scope of the Big 12 conference. The discussions are always productive, and it is amazing the similarity in athletics issues between the different schools. One of the next challenges we have is to determine ways in which we can collaborate more effectively on scholarly work across the conference – while we already do a lot of this – we need to take this to the next level.
Saturday was certainly more like the Kansas weather I expected moving here from the south. It was a cloudy, cool day – a perfect day for some Wildcat football at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
We often talk about how athletics is the “front porch” to the university – and I believe this is a true statement. However, often, we don’t do enough to get people to walk in from the front porch to check out the rest of the house – things like our academic programs, research, and engagement activities.
So, to try and work on getting people to come through the front door, each of our colleges had a display set up on Saturday outside of Arrowhead stadium. There were neat display tables, interactive things to do, and students and faculty visiting with alumni and friends of the university. It was wonderful to see K-State “on parade” Saturday at the game – both athletically and academically.
Noel and I just returned from 3 days out in the Los Angeles area. We took American Airlines out of Manhattan to Burbank, CA for around $325 each (not bad!) – and it was nice not having the 2 hour drive after landing.
We have a lot of very successful alumni who live on the west coast, and this long weekend was a great opportunity for us to reconnect with several people. Noel and I went to a lunch on Friday, where we had the opportunity to visit with about 20 couples (most were all K-Staters), and then we followed this up with a smaller dinner that night with about 12 couples (again, all were K-Staters). During my talks, we visited about marketing and communications (one of my favorite current topics), endowment building (for faculty enhancement funds and scholarships), and the opportunities we have in Olathe.
On Saturday, Pat Bosco hosted a student recruitment event in LA, and we had about 7 to 8 prospective students and their parents who had driven up to 2 hours to come and visit with us and learn more about K-State.
Prior to the UCLA – K-State football game, we had nearly 450 alumni gather for a pregame event. Over the course of the weekend, I would guess that I was able to visit with several hundred alumni and friends.
So – we had a great trip – but there is significant opportunities for K-State in the Los Angeles area – and we have taken some of the first steps forward on increasing our relationships with our West Coast alums.
Last night, Noel, Andrew, and I had the opportunity to tour the newest exhibit at the Beach Museum entitled “Renewal – K-State Art Faculty Biennial”. This exhibition is a display of art produced by our own art faculty members. Generally, to be included, these are new works of art that had not been previously displayed. There is a tremendous variety of different styles presented – and there is certainly something for everyone to enjoy.
In the engineering and sciences, we generally define scholarship as grant funding, peer-reviewed journal publications, and graduate student advising. However, this type of definition of scholarship doesn’t fit some of our other programs at K-State, such as Art and Music (among others). Indeed, exhibition of faculty art is scholarship – and illustrates the diversity of our faculty creativity at Kansas State University.
So, I would encourage all of you to go by the Beach Museum, pick up a guidebook, and take a look at the scholarly work of your colleagues.
I wasn’t sure what 50,000 purple clad K-Staters would look like sitting in Bill Snyder Family Stadium – but it is an awesome sight! It was great to see such great support for our university – and while I did shake many hands – I wish I could have thanked all 49,999 other fans for coming out and supporting us. The KC Star put it best – The Game Ball does go to John Currie, our AD, and all of our Athletic Department Staff, on a great weekend all the way around.
Noel and I also hosted two events at the Prez Rez (Presidential Residence) on Saturday. After months of work, it is great for the house to be used to promote Kansas State University. Both events were successful – and we learned a great deal about how many people we can host at one time.
Enjoy the week – and Geaux Wildcats – beat the Cajuns on Saturday.
I really thought I had a handle on my schedule – until the Fall Semester started – and it has been non-stop fun since that time. During the past week I have had the opportunity to visit with students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends in venues from the front lawn of Anderson Hall to the American Airlines Museum in Dallas, TX.
I had the opportunity to attend a fundraiser for the Olathe Chamber of Commerce on Saturday night – and the excitement in Johnson County for the opening of the K-State Olathe campus is very high. We have selected a design/build firm, and hope to be in a brand new state-of-the-art educational and research facility in January of 2011.
We also had our first university event (at least in some time) on the lawn in front of Anderson Hall. A week ago, we had nearly 1500 of our women students involved in the Greek system on bid night. It was a great event, and showcased that this part of campus has been somewhat under utilized for campus activities. I have asked our Student Government Association to come up with a set of guidelines for activities which will take place in the central part of campus – and I hope the use of this area becomes part of a rich set of K-State traditions.
Noel and I are having a great time – and looking forward to our kick-off against the University of Massachusetts on Saturday.
Have a great week!
I just came back from spending the morning with our Department Heads. I sincerely believe that this is the most challenging administrative job on campus – and I appreciate the many excellent department heads that we have.
Today, we had the opportunity to talk about some of the upcoming challenges for this academic year. Among the items we discussed was our budgeting process, fundraising, marketing and communications, faculty morale, and ensuring that all of our students have a great educational experience.
I do believe we have a strong sense of optimism as we move forward – and it is always fun to work with talented K-Staters.