K-State Current

K-State Current - January 11, 2023

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

Amy Button Renz ’76, ’86 to retire after 45+ years of service to the K-State Alumni Association

Amy Button RenzK-State Alumni Association president and CEO Amy Button Renz ’76, ’86 will retire from the K-State Alumni Association after more than 45 years of service to Kansas State University.

Her last day will be at end of the Alumni Association’s fiscal year on June 30.

Renz began her career with the Alumni Association in 1977. She was named president and CEO in 1994, becoming the first female alumni director in the Big Eight and later the Big 12 conference.

Renz was instrumental in the creation of many programming efforts including the Student Alumni Board and the K-State Student Ambassadors. She served as the lead fundraiser for the Alumni Center building campaign. The $12.7 million facility was dedicated in October 2002. Additionally, she chaired search committees that brought several administrators to K-State: two athletic directors, John Currie and Gene Taylor, respectively, and vice president for student life and dean of students, Thomas Lane.

Under her leadership the Alumni Association has raised more than $6 million for student scholarships and recognition through the K-State License Plate program. Since 1996, the program has expanded to include four states. Additionally, the Alumni Association has raised more than $3.7 million for student scholarships through Wabash CannonBall galas in Kansas City, North Texas, Houston and Colorado.

She has served as a member of the CASE International Board of Trustees twice. In 1995, she received the District VI Distinguished Service Award from CASE. Additionally, Renz served as president of her peer organization the Council of Alumni Association Executives from 2001-2002.

Over the course of her career Renz has been recognized for her service and leadership many times. Some of her accolades include: In 2009 she received the Staley School of Leadership Mike Holen Outstanding Leadership Award. The K-State Marching Band selected her for the Directors Award in 2012. That same year, she was honored by K-State with the inaugural Amethyst Award, the highest honor bestowed by the university in recognition of extraordinary contributions. In 2014 she was named the Blue Key Oustanding Faculty Advisor. In 2016 she received the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Brandon L. Clark Alpha X-Cellence Award. In 2020, Renz was recognized with the Lyle Butler Distinguished Leadership Award from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce.

Renz is a third-generation K-Stater. She earned two degrees from K-State, a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1976 and master’s degree in public administration in 1986. Her husband, Allen Renz ’87, is also a graduate of K-State, as are their three children. They have three grandsons and four granddaughters - including one K-State graduate and one current K-State student.

“I have given my decision considerable thought and while it is a bittersweet decision, as I truly love my job, I feel the time is right,” Renz said. “I want to spend more time with Allen and our family. Our grandchildren already have lots of plans to spend more time with us and we can’t wait! I have been blessed with a wonderful career at the K-State Alumni Association and have enjoyed my time here.”

K-State’s leadership offers the following congratulations to Renz for her upcoming retirement:

“Amy defines what it is to be a K-Stater. She has been an incredible champion for inspiring and cultivating lifelong connections between our alumni and our university, and her leadership and vision transformed our Alumni Association into what it is today, always holding the university’s traditions and values at its core. We couldn’t be more grateful for all she has accomplished in service of the spot she loves full well,” said K-State President Richard Linton.

“There is no one more passionate about K-State than Amy! She has been an excellent leader for the Alumni Association for many years. Her passion for creating a link for life for all K-Staters – prospective and current students, alumni and fans everywhere – has impacted thousands of people. Additionally, she has been a leader in alumni relations nationwide. Her expertise and counsel has benefited many other universities and associations. We congratulate her on all that has been accomplished over her 45 years with the Alumni Association,” said Candace Hart Duncan ’75, chair of the K-State Alumni Association board of directors.

“Amy epitomizes K-State and has made a lasting impact on our entire university community. The partnership we have with the Alumni Association has been nothing short of phenomenal and that is because of her leadership and love for her alma mater. Personally, I will forever be indebted to Amy as she served as the chair of the search committee that brought my family to K-State, which has enriched our lives in ways unimaginable. She will be missed but her mark and support will forever be felt," said Gene Taylor, director of athletics.

"Amy’s passion for Kansas State University has inspired me since the day I arrived in 2015. Much of the DNA of our institution has been derived from her decades of exceptional leadership and shining example. I couldn’t have asked for a better colleague and partner to work with to advance K-State through alumni engagement and philanthropy. I’m honored to have served with her and am grateful for our friendship," said Greg Willems president and CEO, KSU Foundation.

“Amy is a shining example of lifelong service and commitment to Kansas State, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to learn from her experience. From Homecoming to Student Alumni Board and everything in between, the K-State student body is extremely grateful for Amy's passionate support of students through her leadership at the Alumni Association. Beyond that, you will be hard-pressed to find a more thoughtful, caring, kind, intentional and purple-proud role model for students than Amy Button Renz — we wish her the best in retirement," said Parker Vulgamore, K-State student body president.

The K-State Alumni Association’s board of directors will announce details on the search to replace Renz at a later date.


Higher education leader to speak at Kansas State University Jan. 20

Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia UniversityKansas State University is hosting a conversation with Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University and renowned leader in higher education.

Gee's lecture will cover the past, present and future of land-grant universities and begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 20, in Regnier Forum located in Regnier Hall on K-State's Manhattan campus.

The lecture is free, and members of the university community and the public are invited to attend. A livestream will also be available. Immediately following the lecture, an informal reception will be held in Regnier Atrium until approximately noon. The K-State community is encouraged to attend as schedules allow.

Gee is serving as West Virginia University's president for the second time and has also served as president of Vanderbilt University, Brown University, the University of Colorado and twice at The Ohio State University. In 2009, Time magazine named Gee one of the top 10 university presidents in the United States.

He is the co-author of over a dozen books, including "What's Public about Higher Education, Leading Colleges and Universities" and "Land-Grant Universities for the Future." He has also authored many papers and articles on law and education. Gee has extensive service in education-governance organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the National 4-H Council and the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America. Gee served as the 2017-2018 chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors Executive Committee and is a Big 12 representative on the College Football Playoff Board of Managers.

Gee graduated from the University of Utah with an honors degree in history and earned his Juris Doctor and doctorate in education degrees from Columbia University. Before starting his career in higher education, he clerked under Chief Justice David T. Lewis of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and was a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he worked for Chief Justice Warren Burger.


National search for dean of the College of Arts and Sciences

Calvin Hall, Home of College of Arts and Sciences

The Office of the Provost announces a national search for the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kansas State University. The university has engaged the services of Academic Career & Executive Search, an executive search firm, to support the search committee with the process.

The successful candidate must have the experience and vision to inspire, guide and facilitate a strong and diverse faculty in the advancement of high-quality teaching, research and engagement while providing leadership that assures the integrity, excellence, relevance and success of the college's multifaceted programs for the 21st century. The dean reports directly to the provost and executive vice president and serves as a member of the Deans Council.

The dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will serve as the chief academic and administrative officer of the college, providing leadership, strategic vision and direction, and support for the college. In addition, the dean provides university leadership to support and promote the academic mission of the university. Specific responsibilities of the dean will include:

  • Leading all academic programs in the college.
  • Promoting high-quality undergraduate and graduate experiences for resident and online students.
  • Building continued excellence and growth in research and engagement.
  • Supporting effective academic advising.
  • Being actively involved in the recruitment and retention of high-caliber, diverse students, faculty and staff to the college, as well as promoting equity and a welcoming and inclusive environment.
  • Working productively with students, faculty, staff, department heads, deans, administrators and the broader community on interdisciplinary and collaborative initiatives.
  • Providing strategic leadership for developing and advancing the college's strategic plan and goals in alignment with the university's vision to become a next-generation land-grant university.
  • Proactively working to address the budget planning, resource allocation and financial management needed for the college to thrive.
  • Leading fundraising efforts in collaboration with the K-State Foundation on behalf of the college with a high degree of personal involvement.
  • Maintaining and strengthening strategic relationships with the community, alumni, benefactors and industry.
  • Working closely with constituents on issues related to the enhancement of the college and the university.

The full position description, including required qualifications, may be found on the provost's website.

Inquiries, nominations and applications will be treated confidentially. For full consideration, application materials must be received by Feb. 20. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and should include a cover letter and curriculum vita. Please do not email applications. Instead, apply directly at acesrch.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a21esjy3vsr8.

Inquiries and questions: Please send to ksudeanartsandsciences@acesrch.com.

Nominations and referrals: Please send to nominations@acesrch.com.

Campus interviews are anticipated to take place in late April with an anticipated appointment beginning in the summer.


K-State Faculty Highlights

Gaea Hock recognized as Professor of the Week

Gaea HockGaea Hock, associate professor of communications and agricultural education, was recognized as Professor of the Week at the Jan. 10 men's home basketball game.

Faculty Senate, the Office of the President, K-State Athletics and the Division of Communications and Marketing wish to recognize her contributions to K-State.

Hock teaches introduction to agricultural education, teaching methods, a CAT class and a graduate-level advanced methods of teaching course. She assists with student internship placement and supervision during the spring semester and serves as an advisor for agricultural education students. As a teacher and academic advisor, she goes above and beyond to provide tours and hands-on teaching experiences, and she supports undergraduate research opportunities.

She coordinates the Professional Development School experiences, which allow seniors in agricultural education to teach in local high schools prior to the student teaching internship semester. In her introduction to agricultural education course, she hosts a program tour highlighting formal and informal teaching careers, which takes 20-30 students all over the state to learn more about the agricultural education career. Finally, she has formed a partnership with Kansas Corn to provide corn-enhanced learning experiences for the student teaching interns, including a three-day tour, hands-on labs and providing supplies and equipment to teach the labs to their high school students.

Hock returned to campus as an assistant professor of agricultural education in 2016 and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. She was formerly an agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor at Centre High School. She was an instructor of agricultural leadership at Texas Tech University and an assistant professor of agricultural education at Mississippi State University before returning to K-State, her alma mater. She is active in professional organizations and has been honored as the Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Postsecondary Member in 2020, and she led the efforts for Kansas State University to be named the National Association of Agricultural Educators Region II Postsecondary Agriculture Program of the Year.


K-State Student News

Current, future K-State students awarded scholarships at second annual Women in Business Career Summit

Sally Linton, First Lady, presenting to Women in Business

More than $20,000 in scholarships were awarded to current and future Kansas State University students at the second annual Women in Business Career Summit, hosted by the College of Business.

Sponsored by the college's Center for Principled Business, the event provided an opportunity for more than 600 high school students, college students, faculty, staff and community members to engage in breakout sessions, create connections and hear from K-State alumni and friends.

K-State First Lady Sally Linton kicked off the event with a welcome address. The summit featured a keynote address from Natacha Buchanan, K-State alumna and chief diversity officer at ConocoPhillips; a career conversation with Danielle Calhoun, K-State alumna and vice president of inclusive practices at Weber Shandwick, North America; and a closing keynote address from Leanne Caret, executive vice president and senior advisor for Boeing.

Thanks to the generous support from K-State alumni and friends, more than $20,000 in scholarships were awarded to current and future K-Staters at the event.

Six high school students received scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to pursue future studies at K-State:

  • Emma Morack, Blue Springs, Missouri, Blue Springs High School.
  • Jasmine Butler, Hanover, Hanover High School.
  • Aubri Markham, Kansas City, Piper High School.
  • Emma Markley, Manhattan, Manhattan High School.
  • Katie Albertson, Overland Park, Blue Valley High School.
  • Gracyn Lierz, Seneca, Nemaha Central High School.

Eight current K-State students received scholarships:

  • Alayna Inbody, senior in operations and supply chain management, Chanute, was awarded the Blanche Howe Parsons Scholarship.
  • Emily Howard, junior in professional strategic selling and entrepreneurship, Eudora, was awarded a Joanne M. Giese Memorial Scholarship.
  • Serenity Holmes, junior in professional strategic selling and Spanish, Kansas City, Missouri, was awarded a Joanne M. Giese Memorial Scholarship.
  • Amy Truong, junior in marketing, Leawood, was awarded a Terry Suzanne "Speed" and James King Foster Scholarship.
  • Aurora Ortega, sophomore in finance and accounting, Liberal, was awarded the Leanne and Steve Caret Business Scholarship.
  • Mena Walker, freshman in marketing, Overland Park, was awarded a Terry Suzanne "Speed" and James King Foster Scholarship.
  • Alyson McCallop, freshman in accounting, Overland Park, was awarded the Cheryl L. Hart Scholarship.
  • Silvia Ruiz Diaz, freshman in marketing, San Lorenzo, Paraguay, was awarded a Terry Suzanne "Speed" and James King Foster Scholarship.

The event was made possible through individual and corporate sponsor support. Sponsors for this year's summit included BNSF Railway, ConocoPhillips, Fastenal, the Kansas State University Foundation, Koch Industries, Nike and Target.

The K-State Women in Business Initiative fosters a network of innovation and collaboration through academic and co-curricular learning opportunities and supports business research related to the broader goals of the initiative. The initiative works to educate, empower and engage leaders to create social and economic impact and enhance societal prosperity.

To learn more about the initiative or to get involved, visit cba.k-state.edu/wib or email ksucpb@k-state.edu.




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