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Kansas State University

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Former Fort Riley Commander Lt. Gen. Robert E. Durbin and his wife, Diana, will address the importance of military families in a lecture marking the official opening of K-State's new Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families.

The lecture, "Army Family Strong: Lightening Their Load," will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall. The lecture is one of several events that are part of the College of Human Ecology's Celebration of Excellence.

The institute's inaugural lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on the challenges military families face, moderated by Briana Nelson Goff, director of the new institute and associate dean of the College of Human Ecology. Panelists include Maj. Gen. Vincent Brooks, current commander of Fort Riley and the First Infantry Division, and his wife, Carol; Carl and Mary Ice, K-State alums who will provide the civilian employer's perspective; and Col. George Dilly, chief dietitian for the U.S. Army and a college alum who will talk about troop and family nutrition. Most of the panelists also will be receiving awards from the College of Human Ecology as part of the Celebration of Excellence.

The Celebration of Excellence, Oct. 1-2, is an annual event that recognizes the outstanding achievements and contributions by alumni and friends of the college.

A full schedule of Celebration of Excellence events and activities is available at


The International Wizard of Oz Club is bringing its national convention to Kansas, and K-State's department of English is helping with the "Recreating Oz" conference Saturday, Oct. 3.

Conference presentations throughout the day will explore the transformation of Frank Baum's classic Oz tales and include: "Which Witch?: The Incredible Makeover of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North"; "Finding Oz: How L. Frank Baum Discovered the Great American Story"; "Oz and Adaptation: The Wicked Aesthetic Delights of Oz Revisions"; and "A Heroine's Unmaking: The Diminishing Role of Dorothy in Four Tales of Oz."

Special conference guests Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, creators of the new Marvel comic "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," will present a free public lecture on the history of Oz comics and the development of their own comic at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 in the ballroom of the K-State Alumni Center. A book signing will follow.

The conference is sponsored by K-State's department of English, Children's and Adolescent Literature Community, the office of the president and Hale Library. The one-day conference is part of the International Wizard of Oz Club's national conference Oct. 2-4, and also is being held in conjunction with Oztoberfest in Wamego Oct. 3-4. Registration is free for K-State students and $40 for K-State faculty, staff and members of the Manhattan community. More information is available at

In conjunction with the conference, there is also an exhibition at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art exploring the ways in which artists have adapted the Oz story to the comic book form.

"Recreating Oz in Comics" will feature the work of Shanower and Young, as well as selections of Oz-related comic books and graphic novels from K-State's L. Frank Baum Collection at Hale Library.


Free fire extinguisher training and other hands-on activities will help K-Staters "Stay Fire Smart" during Fire Prevention Week Oct. 4-10.

This year's theme, "Stay Fire Smart," is designed to raise awareness on campus about how to prevent and survive building fires, said Randy Slover, K-State's fire marshal.

Slover said K-State takes fire prevention efforts seriously with regular testing of fire alarm and sprinkler systems, and routine inspection of campus buildings for fire and life safety hazards.

Fire prevention activities on the Manhattan campus will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, south of Derby Dining Center, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, and Wednesday, Oct. 7, on the Bosco Plaza in front of the K-State Student Union. Fire safety activities at K-State at Salina will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, east of the College Center.

Besides fire extinguisher training, various pieces of fire-fighting equipment will be on display, door prizes and educational materials will be available, and children can get a free fire hat. Fire department personnel also will be on hand to answer questions.

Activities for Fire Prevention Week at K-State are sponsored by K-State's Division of Public Safety in conjunction with the Manhattan Fire Department, State Fire Marshal's office, Kansas Forestry Service and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.


K-State's Division of Human Resources is hosting the annual Benefits EXPO Thursday, Oct. 8, in the K-State Student Union Ballroom. Additional special events will take place in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall.

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., representatives from Board of Regents voluntary and mandatory retirement providers; Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, or KPERS; health insurance providers; life insurance companies associated with K-State; and many other agencies will be available in the ballroom of the K-State Student Union.

Identical open enrollment health insurance informational meetings will be held at 8:30 a.m. and again at 3:30 p.m. in the K-State Student Union's Forum Hall. This is an opportunity for employees to learn about any changes, review a new plan provider and get updated information for 2010.

Chris Biggs, Kansas securities commissioner, and Esther Maddux, a certified financial planner and professor in K-State's College of Human Ecology, will be giving a joint presentation about smart investing starting at 10 a.m. in Forum Hall. Biggs will present "Don't Get Scammed - Investigate Before You Invest," to be followed by Maddux's "Enough Money in Retirement:  If it’s to be…It’s up to me!"

At 12:30 p.m. in Forum Hall KPERS members may also take part in a special session presented by Alan Schuler, KPERS field representative for the state of Kansas. Those in KPERS retirement plans who want information on the plan's calculations, time in service, and retirement dates should attend this session. Employees within five years of their anticipated retirement will benefit most, but all are welcome to attend.

In addition, flu shots will be offered again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the ballroom. The shots cost $20.

Questions about the event can be addressed to Stephanie Harvey at 532-6277 or by e-mail at