Kansas State University May 2015 graduate receives Phi Kappa Phi fellowship to study agriculture, public policy law
Thursday, July 2, 2015
MANHATTAN — A May 2015 Kansas State University graduate has received a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship to study agriculture, business and public policy law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
Charles "Reagan" Kays, summa cum laude graduate in agribusiness and pre-law and former Student Governing Association president, Weir, is one of 51 students to receive a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi 2015 fellowship. In the past 30 years, 26 Kansas State University students have received the fellowship.
"I feel blessed to have received this honor," Kays said. "The Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship will allow me to work less and dive deeper into the material presented to me in law school. I am excited for the next step in my academic career."
Each university can nominate one candidate to the national competition and selection is based on the applicant's expected success in graduate or professional study as determined by academic achievement, service and leadership experience, career goals and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.
"I am so pleased that Phi Kappa Phi has chosen to recognize Reagan Kays for all of his hard work and service here at Kansas State University," said Daralyn Gordon Arata, coordinator of the university's Office of Pre-Law Advising. "I am very proud that he will be continuing his education at Georgetown University Law Center, a wonderful law school, and look forward to all of the good that Reagan will accomplish as he enters the legal profession."
Kays became interested in agriculture policy and Kansas politics during his classes, which inspired him to take an active role in the 2015 Kansas legislative session. As an undergraduate and president of the university's Student Governing Association, he spearheaded a medical amnesty bill for underage students who reported life-threatening situations while intoxicated. The bill, nicknamed Lifeline 911, was passed 34-5 in the Kansas Senate but became overshadowed by other legislative actions in the state's House of Representatives and died on the House floor. Despite that setback, Kays was able to enact parts of the Lifeline 911 as university policy to help Kansas State University students who live on campus.
"During the past year, I discovered creating policy has a deeper purpose and I want to be a positive change agent in the policy arena in my future," Kays said.
Kays also helped to refine the university's Academic Freedom Statement, worked to protect a referendum requirement for student dollars to be used for academic buildings and started a push to add a notation of non-academic misconduct on transcripts.
"Reagan has a bright future ahead of him," said Barry Flinchbaugh, professor of agriculture economics. "He has wonderful people skills and a deep belief in the democratic process. The future of Kansas — and perhaps the nation — will benefit from his outstanding leadership."
As an undergraduate, he also served as president of the university's Blue Key Senior Honor Society and an ambassador for the College of Agriculture. He was a member of the Kansas State University Student Foundation and the national undergraduate director of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.
"Reagan Kays displays the finest qualities of a leader: He listens, he cares, he strives for understanding and he seeks compromise," said John Crespi, professor in agricultural economics.
Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 and is one of the oldest and most selective collegiate honor societies. It recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education. The fellowship will be applied to Kays' first year of law school at Georgetown University Law Center.
"I have a great deal of people I would like to thank for their help during my years at K-State," Kays said. "In short, I'd like to thank James Hohenbary, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Scholarships; Daralyn Gordon Arata, Barry Flinchbaugh and John Crespi."
Students interested in learning more about competing for future Phi Kappa Phi awards or other scholarships can contact Hohenbary at firstname.lastname@example.org.