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Kansas State University

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Several K-State professors will soon be lecturing to a new type of student as they venture off campus to Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.

Starting this summer K-State's Center on Aging will host an ongoing faculty lecture series at the retirement facility to enlighten residents about research currently being conducted at the university.

"We are a land-grant institution, and that's kind of our goal," Gayle Doll, director of the Center on Aging, said. "We tell people about what we do in hopes that they will be able to use that information in some way."

The series begins with a presentation by Marty Vanier, director of operations for the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, at 4 p.m. Thursday in the facility's Community Room. She will speak about her work with the center in the field of bioagriculture. Vanier's presentation and all lectures in the series are free and open to the public.  

The idea for the lecture series originated from a source outside the gerontology department. Jim Stack, professor in plant pathology, came up with the idea after his daughter took a gerontology class last semester that met at Meadowlark Hills every other week. When his daughter came to him raving about the people she had met, Stack thought the lecture series would be a great opportunity to interact with the members of the retirement community.

Stack recruited the initial seven faculty members currently in the series, but more participants are still needed, Doll said.

"The seven that are lined up are pretty much focused on bioagriculture, and I think one of them is in horticulture," she said. "So we're focusing now on balancing that out with the humanities. We have some lectures that we anticipate will come from the English department and the music department. We'll even be willing to teach a few out of our own department."

In addition to the regular lecture days, Meadowlark Hills residents will also be invited to a tour of Pat Roberts Hall on July 8. The tour will be followed by presentations from multiple professors on the inner workings of Pat Roberts Hall.

Doll said she believes this lecture series will be benefit both the presenters and Meadowlark Hills residents. The series allows K-State faculty to share their research locally and in return receive wisdom and feedback from some very informed individuals from the retirement facility, she said.

As for Meadowlark Hills residents, the lecture series will not only provide them with mental stimulation, which Doll said is important for continued growth at any stage of life, but it will also give them the opportunity to voice their opinions on a variety of subjects.

"One of the things that I'm seeing a lot in my work with elders at Meadowlark is that they really want the opportunity to give back," she said. "What I think that we haven't done enough with them is to ask their opinion. So to be able to go out there and share our research and ask their opinion to get that validation is really an important thing for us to do as researchers."

For more information about the Center on Aging's Faculty Lecture Series at Meadowlark Hills or on how to become a presenter in the series, please contact Shelby Griffin at or 785-532-2776.