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Kansas State University

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James CoffmanThe dedication ceremony for Kansas State University's Coffman Commons, an outdoor plaza with seating and garden areas south of Hale Library, will be 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11.

In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to Hale Library's Hemisphere Room. The event is open to the public.

The Coffman Commons is named in honor of James Coffman, K-State provost emeritus. Coffman; his wife, Sharon; and their three sons will attend; other members of their extended family have been invited as well.

"We're pleased to recognize the many accomplishments of Provost Emeritus Coffman by formally dedicating the Coffman Commons in his honor," said April Mason, K-State provost and senior vice president. "As provost, Dr. Coffman emphasized K-State's strength as a true student-centered research university. He advocated and furthered the importance of diversity in teaching and learning and in research and service, all so vital to K-State's goal of becoming a top 50 public research university."

Jana Fallin, professor of music and Coffman Chair for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2002-2003, came up with the idea for naming the area Coffman Commons.

"As provost, Jim Coffman loved teaching so much, and he believed in good teaching," Fallin said. "A lot of universities don't put much emphasis there. He was so encouraging to teachers and really helped them to reach their full potential.

"Coffman Commons is a real crossing point on campus. It is almost the center, or the heart, of the university. That's what Jim Coffman believed teachers are. We presented this idea to him, and he was very moved. He's a brilliant, lovely man."

"K-State is a great place with great values. It is a real privilege to be part of it," Coffman said. "Having the Coffman name in this beautiful spot in the middle of the campus is exciting and very humbling. I appreciate it more than you can imagine."

Coffman, who earned his bachelor's degree, master's degree, and a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from K-State, has served the university in many capacities, including as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1984 to 1987 and as provost from 1987-2004.

"Dr. Jim Coffman's academic leadership as a veterinarian, faculty member, department head of clinical sciences, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, and provost of Kansas State University is, simply put, amazing," said Ralph Richardson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "He led by example. He fostered a climate of inclusiveness and academic excellence.

"It is a privilege for the College of Veterinary Medicine to play a small part in the recognition of Dr. Coffman's positive impact on our university by contributing a bronze plaque for the dedication of Coffman Commons," Richardson said. "It is my hope that all those who walk by and enjoy this wonderful area of our campus will appreciate the opportunities that Dr. Coffman has made possible for all of us."

"My association with the College of Veterinary Medicine is something I really treasure, going clear back to my days as a student. And I am truly grateful for the further opportunity to have worked with so many wonderful people across all the disciplines at K-State," Coffman said.

As chief academic officer of K-State, Coffman's interests included developing flexible approaches to the application of faculty time and talent; rethinking the academic reward system so that both outstanding research and outstanding teaching were recognized and rewarded; and service and development of intellectual property.

Coffman has authored or co-authored more than 120 scientific papers and two books, and has served as an editorial board member or editor of three major veterinary journals. In 1979 he became involved in a study on laminitis in ponies at the University of Missouri. Before coming to K-State, Coffman was a faculty member at the University of Missouri-Columbia and spent five years in private equine practice in Wichita and in Oklahoma City, Okla.

He was the 2004 recipient of the Iverson Bell Recognition Award for National Leadership in Diversity in Veterinary Medical Education, has been honored as a Norden Distinguished Teacher in veterinary medicine, and has received the College of Veterinary Medicine's E.R. Frank Award. He has memberships in the Phi Zeta, Gamma Sigma Delta, Phi Kappa Phi and Gold Key honor societies. Coffman has served as president of both the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. He chaired the American Veterinary Medical Association Professional Liability Insurance Trust. He is also one of 10 founding members of the National Academies of Practice, Veterinary Division. One of K-State's major teaching awards is named in his honor, the Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars.




WWII MemorialAfter eight years of planning, the design for Kansas State University's World War II Memorial has been chosen.

The design will be unveiled in a ceremony at the eventual site of the memorial, in the center of the circular drive in front of McCain Auditorium, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10. The ceremony is open to the public.

The memorial design, "Tags of Honor," was created by Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the Fort Hays State University Foundation and a former employee of the KSU Foundation.

"When asked to design a piece that would be symbolic of the branches of the military and represent the men and women who served, images of other wonderful memorials came to mind," Chapman said. "But the committee wanted something unique, something worldly."

Chapman's design encompassed what the K-State World War II Memorial committee was seeking. The memorial will consist of a large pair of dog tags sitting on a pentagonal-shaped base. The design of the tags is historically accurate for World War II.

Surrounding the piece will be three bronze plaques designed by Dan Hunt, sculpture professor at K-State. The plaques will represent the military services by air, by land and by sea.

"Numerous concepts and proposals for the memorial have been considered by the committee since 2002," said Art DeGroat, K-State's director of military affairs. "A significant effort was made to ensure the most acceptable and appropriate memorial was selected to honor the more than 8,500 K-State students who served in World War II. Tim Chapman's design was considered by the committee to be nontraditional, but it made the most compelling impression upon us all.

"I showed this design to current military veteran students and our ROTC cadets for their impression, and they had an overwhelming positive reaction. The 'Tags of Honor' had an enduring appeal to our current generation of military students, while deeply honoring the service and sacrifice of the World War II veterans."

The sculpture will be placed upon sacred soil -- actual soil from the final resting places of K-State World War II veterans.

"We gathered soil from every state veterans' cemetery in Kansas, Arlington National Cemetery and some private family plots," DeGroat said. "With full military honors, performed by our Army and Air Force ROTC cadets, we committed these soils to the ground at the epicenter of the site where the 'Tags of Honor' will rest. A plaque highlighting this feature will be placed upon the memorial.

"The World War II Memorial is an enduring symbol of K-State's commitment, as an institution of higher education, to supporting the men and woman that serve in our nation's military," he said.

The ceremony will conclude with the playing of taps, the traditional bugle call often played at military funerals.

"The World War II Memorial honors the sacrifice and service of many K-State students and faculty," said Fred Cholick, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. "The sculpture will recognize all branches of the armed forces and create a moving centerpiece for the memorial. We are very grateful to the alumni and friends whose contributions helped build the memorial. It will provide current and future generations of K-Staters with a place for reflection and pride in the sacrifices of those who went before them."

The memorial will be completed in May. A dedication ceremony is planned for Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2011.