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K-State Today

January 5, 2012

Kansas History: Journal of the Central Plains editorial offices migrate westward to K-State with gift from K-State alumnus

By Andrew Zender

Kansas History publishes new research on Kansas and western history.

The state of Kansas — its history, culture, people and places — has been well served for several decades with the publication of Kansas History: Journal of the Central Plains. Edited by Virgil W. Dean, Ph.D., of the Kansas Historical Society for the past 21 years, the editorial offices of the peer-reviewed journal are moving 45 miles westward from Topeka to Manhattan in January 2012, a move being underwritten by K-State alumnus Mark Chapman with a gift of $150,000.

Kansas history is a source of great passion for Chapman, who has long played an essential part in providing K-State with needed resources to link its community of learners with the communities of the past. In 2008, working with faculty in the K-State department of history, Chapman underwrote the establishment of the Chapman Center for Rural Studies — housed in 109-112 Leasure Hall — which specializes in researching, preserving and sharing the history of rural Kansas.

It was two years ago when Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, director of the Chapman Center, and James Sherow, historian of Kansas, brought together the staff of the journal, the Kansas Historical Society and the Kansas Historical Society Foundation, the offices of the provost and the vice president for research, and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to consider making K-State the new editorial home of Kansas History.

"It was clear to everyone that bringing Kansas History to K-State and to the Chapman Center would be a great move and a tremendous opportunity," Lynn-Sherow said. "And Mark Chapman's gift has now made it a reality. Students working in Kansas history will have the opportunity to learn the publication side of what it means to be a scholar of Kansas."

The Kansas Historical Society will continue to provide layout, printing and copy-editing support, and its foundation will remain the journal's owner and publisher, but the editorial offices of the quarterly publication will move to Manhattan. K-State will share the journal's masthead with the society. The K-State Graduate School, with the support of the provost and the vice president for research, will oversee two selective graduate student editorial assistantships following a national search process.

Chapman, whose gift will support the professional editorial staff for the next five years, is a native of Clay Center, Kan., and currently lives in Cat Spring, Texas, where he works as an independent investor. He believes the journal will help position K-State as the preeminent research institution devoted to Kansas history and provide new opportunities for students to learn what it means to communicate with the state's community of scholars.

"We created this center to preserve the memories and histories of an early segment of rural Kansas," Chapman said. "This journal will firmly establish K-State as the prominent center of rural Kansas history while affording generous amounts of undergraduate research and professional collaboration."

"This is a rare opportunity that will give our students professional experience and an edge over other history programs statewide and nationally," Lynn-Sherow said. "And it also fits beautifully into President Schulz's goal of becoming a top research institution by the year 2025. Everyone is very excited to see it finally happen."