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Source: Ralph Richardson, 785-532-5660,

Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010


MANHATTAN -- The 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."

"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.