K-State Current

K-State Current - June 8, 2022

K-State Current is a weekly news update for the Kansas Board of Regents to apprise the Regents on a few of the many successes and achievements made by K-State faculty, staff, and students.

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K-State News

K-State Legend, Trailblazer Veryl Switzer Passes Away

Veryl SwitzerA charter member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame and K-State Football Ring of Honor, former Wildcat halfback Veryl Switzer passed away on Saturday at the age of 89.

One of the best overall athletes in K-State history, Switzer was also a trailblazer and opened the doors for many that followed him, as he was the first African American scholarship player to graduate from K-State.

"Today is a sad day for Kansas State University," Athletics Director Gene Taylor said. "Veryl was one of the most influential and impactful K-Staters in our lifetime and helped pave the way for so many others to follow in his footsteps. He will be forever remembered as a true trailblazer as we keep his family and friends in our thoughts and prayers."

Switzer's K-State legacy began in 1950 when he accepted an athletic scholarship, and he went on to pick up All-America honors in three consecutive seasons from 1951 to 1953. One of the most well-rounded players in the school's history, he was a team leader in practically every statistical category. He led the team in rushing in 1952 and 1953, while he was one of the best punt returners in school history. Nearly 70 years after his final season as a Wildcat, he still ranks in the top 10 for a career in five punt-return categories: touchdowns (t2nd; 3), longest return (t3rd; 93), yards (6th; 596), average (6th; 14.2) and attempts (9th; 42).

Voted the team's most inspirational player in 1953, the Wildcats broke a string of five straight seventh-place finishes in the Big Seven that year by skyrocketing to second.

Switzer's success wasn't limited to the football field though. He was the Big Seven Indoor Long Jump Champion in 1952 and garnered three letters in track and field.

Following his senior season, Switzer was a favorite invitee of the college all-star games. He co-captained the West team in the 1954 East/West Shrine Game and was the runner-up for MVP honors. He earned the same honor in the Chicago Tribune's College All-Star game against the World Champion Detroit Lions.

Switzer was the first halfback and the fourth player overall selected in the 1954 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. To this day, he remains the highest drafted player in school history. During his rookie season, Switzer topped the NFL in punt returns with a 13-yard average. However, professional football was interrupted for Switzer from 1956 to 1958 as he entered the U.S. Air Force as a first lieutenant. It was back to the gridiron in 1958 when he played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. He completed his pro stint in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes from 1959 to 1960.

Following his playing days, Switzer spent a decade working at the Chicago Board of Education before returning to K-State in an administrative capacity in 1969. At first, he was charged to develop the school's first university-wide student minority program. Additionally, Switzer wrote the original grant proposal and was awarded one of the nation's comprehensive federal programs for minority student support, which went to educational supportive services and talent search.

Many programs – some that are still in motion today – were developed under Switzer's leadership, including Ebony Theater, United Black Voices, Hispanic advocacy groups and Black Student Union. For decades, the university enjoyed increased student enrollments and graduation rates and attracted more faculty and staff of color, all a direct product of Switzer's energy and passion for students. He then went on to work in the athletic department until his retirement.

Switzer graduated from K-State in 1954 with a degree in physical education, while he earned his master's in education from K-State in 1974.

Switzer was a charter member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame (1990) and K-State Football Ring of Honor (2002). He is also a member of the Kansas All Sports Hall of Fame and the Big Eight Sportswriters Football Hall of Fame.

A visitation will take place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave.

Services will be Friday, June 17:

  • 9-11:30 a.m. First United Methodist Church, 612 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Repast, First United Methodist Church.
  • 4:30 p.m. Interment, gravesite, Nicodemus, Kansas.


K-State Faculty Highlights

Management professor to be Fulbright U.S. scholar to Nigeria

Ike EhieIke Ehie, professor of operations and supply chain management and faculty fellow in the College of Business at Kansas State University, has been named a Fulbright U.S. scholar and will spend January to August 2023 in Nigeria working with a Nigerian university.

"The main objective of my Fulbright award is to assist the faculty in developing an outcome-based student-oriented assurance of learning program for a newly launched bachelor's in supply chain management at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri in Imo State, Nigeria," Ehie said. "This is the first time a Nigerian federal university has received approval from the country's National University Commission to offer a degree in supply chain management."

K-State has had a long history of collaborations with universities in Nigeria dating back to the 1960s. More recently, Ehie was a recipient of a U.S. Agency for International Development grant to revamp the business curriculum at the University of Lagos, in Lagos, Nigeria.

Ehie is an international expert on supply chain management and has served as a consultant with several manufacturing companies in Nigeria to help improve their competitiveness. His research has been published in the European Journal of Operational Research, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, International Journal of Agile Systems and Management and more. He teaches courses in supply chain management, managerial decision analytics, operations management, and project management.

To develop the assessment of the new degree program at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Ehie will involve both internal and external stakeholders in developing an assurance of learning program.

"In consultation with the stakeholders and adhering to the mission of the university, the college and the faculty, key learning objectives will be identified and incorporated throughout the curriculum," Ehie said. "Learning outcomes will be assessed on an approved timeline that spreads over a five-year planning period.

Ehie also plans to teach courses on logistics and warehouse management and take part in a research project on containerization/cargo optimization while in Nigeria.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Ehie has the opportunity to work on this project through the Fulbright program," said Bill Turnley, professor and head of the management department. "Given his expertise in supply chain management as well as his direct involvement in our assurance of learning processes, this project seems tailor-made for Dr. Ehie."

The Fulbright program is the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program and is supported by the U.S. and partner countries around the world. The program is funded through an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations around the world also provide direct and indirect support to the program. Fulbright U.S. scholars teach, conduct research, or do both while serving. Alumni of the Fulbright include 61 Nobel Laureates, 89 Pulitzer Prize winners, 76 MacArthur fellows and thousands of leaders and world-renowned experts in academia and many other fields across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.


K-State Student News

ASCE Concrete Canoe team to represent K-State at national competition

Concrete Canoe teamThe K-State Concrete Canoe team poses in front of their canoe, built with the Triton's Trireme theme, at the Mid-America Student Symposium in Ames, Iowa, in May. Back row, from left: Dalton Wilbrandt, faculty advisor Christopher Jones, Cody Meyer, Ben Garnmeister, Luke Vohs, Nathan Streeter, Lindsay Schupp, Isabelle McCann and Kayleigh Bednar. Front row, from left: Amelia Mullin, Abbi Clark, Maddie Akers, Quinn Underwood and Hunter Prochaska.

The Kansas State University Concrete Canoe team will compete at the 35th annual American Society of Civil Engineers' Concrete Canoe Competition finals after a second-place finish at the regional Mid-America Student Symposium in May.

The competition, which will feature 19 qualifiers from 10 regions, will be June 3-5 on the campus of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana.

The competition challenges teams to create a functioning canoe made of concrete. The process includes designing a hull, performing structural analysis and finally designing a concrete mixture that satisfies the strength requirements found in the structural analysis. Teams are judged for their final product, design paper, oral presentation and race finishes. Races include men's and women's sprints and endurance races.

The canoes are also built around a theme, with K-State choosing Triton's Trireme as its theme for 2022.

"As a team, we feel honored to represent K-State at the competition," said Maddie Akers, senior in civil engineering and geology. "Seeing our hard work pay off has been a tremendous reward."

Hunter Meier, senior in civil engineering, said the team bonded as it prepared for regional competition on the Iowa State University campus in Ames, Iowa.

"Our team had grown close during the weeks and months leading up to the competition in Ames," he said. "To advance to the national competition in Ruston will further solidify this bond and we look forward to competing again next year."

Christopher Jones, Wallis-Lage Family Cornerstone teaching scholar and associate professor in the civil engineering department at K-State, is the team's faculty advisor.

Members of the K-State ASCE Concrete Canoe team include the following students:

Hunter Prochaska, junior in civil engineering, Beloit; Aidan Torrez, sophomore in civil engineering, Bucyrus.

From Greater Kansas City: Luke Vohs, senior in civil engineering, Lenexa; Isabelle McCann, senior in civil engineering, Mission; Quinn Underwood, senior in civil engineering, Overland Park; and Amelia Mullin, senior in architectural engineering, Shawnee.

Hunter Meier, senior in civil engineering, Lincoln; Dalton Willbrant, May 2022 graduate in civil engineering, Manhattan; Lindsay Schupp, freshman in general engineering, Oskaloosa; Cody Meyer, junior in civil engineering, Sabetha; Nathan Streeter, sophomore in civil engineering, Salina; Abbi Clark, junior in civil engineering, Wamego; and Kisan Patel, senior in civil engineering, Wichita.

From out of state: Ben Garnmeister, junior in civil engineering, Arlington Heights, Illinois; Kayleigh Bednar, sophomore in industrial engineering, Kansas City, Missouri; Ciara Hogsett, May 2022 graduate in civil engineering, Willow Springs, Missouri;andMaddie Akers, senior in civil engineering, Omaha, Nebraska.


K-State Crops and Soils Judging teams complete successful spring season

Kansas State University Crops and Soils Judging teamsThe Kansas State University Crops and Soils Judging teams competed in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Judging Conference in early April. The conference, in North Platte, Nebraska, was hosted by the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture. Forty-two four-year and two-year schools competed in 13 contest areas with over 500 students and faculty members in attendance.

The Crops Judging Team competed in three events, placing first in precision agriculture and second in the crops contest and the ag knowledge bowl. The Soils Judging Team took second place in the soils contest.

Members of the Crops Team were Evan Bott, Palmer; Jaden Strohl, Cunningham; Kel Grafel, Oberlin; and Austin Hobbs, Buffalo. All are seniors majoring in agronomy. Alternate members of the Crops Team were Macy Hoskinson agricultural education, Hutchinson; Josie Harris, animal sciences and industry, Burrton; and Grant Graber, agronomy, Wichita. Graber was also an alternate in precision agriculture. The knowledge bowl team members were Harris, Bott, Strohl, Grafel and Hobbs.

In the precision agriculture contest, Bott placed second overall, first in component identification, second in problem-solving and third in lab practical. Strohl was the third-place individual, tying for first in component identification and receiving second in both the lab practical and exam. Hobbs placed fifth overall and second in the exam. Grafel placed fifth in both math and lab.

In the crops contest, Bott was the second-highest individual, placing first in the math practical, second in the lab practical and fourth in identification. Grafel was fifth place overall, tying for second in lab practical and receiving fourth in the agronomic exam. Strohl placed fifth in the lab practical.

In the soils contest, Emily Kovar, an agronomy and environmental science major from Lenexa, was fourth overall individual and placed first on one of the four soil pits evaluated. Jacoby Kerr, an agronomy student from Manhattan, placed 10th. Additional members of the second-place team in the soils contest were Sydney Baughman, agricultural education, Moberly, Missouri, and Isaiah Euler, geology, Overland Park. Alternate members competing in soils were Evan Hutley, wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, Maple Hill; Kaitlyn Peters, agronomy, Lakin; Shelby Richard, agronomy, Tucson, Arizona; and Braden Hudelson, agronomy and environmental science, Lenexa.

The judging conference concluded the spring competition season for the K-State teams. Earlier in the season, the Crops Judging Team placed second in the West Texas A&M Invitational Contest in February at Canyon, Texas, and second in the KACTA Regional Contest at Kansas State University in March.

The Crops Team was coached by Kevin Donnelly, professor of agronomy. The Soils Team was coached by DeAnn Presley, professor of agronomy, and Colby Moorberg, associate professor of agronomy. Agronomy graduate students Luke Ryan, Solomon, and Sarah Zerger, Abilene, assisted with the Crops Team. The Soils Team assistant coach was Kendra Stahl, New Washington, Ohio.





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