Letters to campus

October 2013

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Happy Halloween! I hope this note finds you well as we are nearly three quarters of the way through the fall semester.

Just the other night, I was walking along a tree-lined sidewalk near the president's residence when I happened to hear a horse walking. I was immediately concerned that a horse from the K-State equestrian team had gotten loose. Knowing that my horsemanship skills are virtually non-existent, I naturally decided to jog toward the horse and see if I could help.

Imagine my surprise when I came upon the horse with a headless rider sitting in the saddle (for the sake of this letter we will call him the "headless horseman – HH for short"). In his hands he was holding a carved purple pumpkin. Imagine my surprise when a voice cried out from the pumpkin …

HH: Hey – you there – the one with the purple shirt … Have you seen a skinny school teacher with a big head anywhere around here with the name of Willie "Ichabod Crane" Wildcat?

Prez: No, I haven't seen him.

HH: By the way, where am I right now?

Prez: You are on the Manhattan campus of Kansas State University – home of the Wildcats!

HH: That is the school that is looking to become a Top 50 Public Research University by the year 2025 – I know all about K-State!

Prez: For a headless horseman you are very well informed! It was a great weekend to celebrate several key K-State 2025 successes. Theme 6 is focused around facilities and infrastructure, and we have several key projects which are moving forward.

Demolition is underway underneath West Memorial Stadium as a first step in the construction of our new Purple Masque Theatre – which should be complete in December 2014. We cut the ribbon on Mary and Carl Ice Hall, which provides much needed research space for faculty and staff in the College of Human Ecology. Additionally, we broke ground for our new $50 million, 140,000 sq. ft. College of Business Administration building and our new $40 million, 107,000 sq. ft. College of Engineering addition. We cut the ribbon on the new K-State Rowing Center, providing much needed equipment and practice space for nearly 100 student-athletes. Finally, we dedicated Kirmser Hall, the renovated McCain 204, which is a premiere location for recitals by students, faculty, guests, as well as a venue for teaching and rehearsals. For more information on these projects, check out the "Building the K-State of the Future" website.

HH: That is very impressive – and it will be fun to see these projects all done. I can't decide if I want to look for Ichabod to the East or to the West – any suggestions?

Prez: One of the cool things about Kansas State is that we have locations to both the East and the West! I have the opportunity to visit with our faculty, staff and students monthly on our Salina campus. There are many good and exciting things happening in Salina that contribute to our overall K-State 2025 goals. This year's American Society of Engineering Education Midwest Regional Conference was held in Salina and brought over 85 educators to campus to share their ideas, network and talk about the latest trends happening with engineering education. We continue to add additional degree opportunities for our Salina students with Gerontology added as our newest secondary major. We are planning a new facility in Salina that will benefit companies that design and utilize systems for bulk solids. Primary partners in the projected $3.5 million, 13,000-square-foot facility are K-State, the Salina Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Corporation and several private companies. The facility will be called the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center. Finally, K-State has created a partnership with Cessna in the Cessna Pilot Center Initiative to provide educational opportunities for students pursuing careers in aviation. This connection will allow students to use their flight training completed at any of the domestic Cessna Pilot Center flight schools toward completing a baccalaureate degree in technology management. Many great things are happening on our campus to the West.

HH: That all sounds great! So – I will ride toward the West!

Prez: Wait! We also have a campus toward the East in Olathe that has a strong mission to serve the Greater Kansas City Metroplex. Like Salina, I visit the Olathe campus monthly to help build partnerships with the business community and our alumni. Our Olathe campus continues to see significant growth in programs with a slate of eight graduate degrees and 20 classes ranging from biological and agricultural engineering to horticulture, food and veterinary biomedical sciences.

K-State Olathe was recently named an Economic Development Administration University Center. A five-year $1.25 million grant will launch the K-State Olathe Innovation Accelerator through partnerships between K-State's Advanced Manufacturing Institute, Office of Corporate Engagement, and the Institute for Commercialization. This program will accelerate development and commercialization of innovations, cultivate networks and facilitate business expansion in the areas of agriculture, animal and human health, food safety and biosecurity. We also are growing our research presence in Olathe. The Sensory and Consumer Research Center at K-State Olathe has conducted more than 25 studies since opening in 2012, netting more than $300,000 in total revenue. These projects have involved universities across the U.S., local and global food and beverage companies, pet food manufacturing companies and others. Lots of great things are happening on our new urban serving campus!

HH: I have been here talking way too much! I am off to find Ichabod and to send him packing so I can marry Katrina. Good luck with that 2025 stuff – I am sure you will be successful.

Prez:(to himself) You see the strangest things on campus this time of year! Time to head home and write this story up for my October Letter to Campus – I am sure no one will believe it!

Go Cats!

Kirk