May 16, 2023
Celebrating the Thomas County community visit with recap, photos
During the Thomas County community visit, K-State President Richard Linton and College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer surprised Brianna McCollum, left, a teacher at Colby Grade School, for Crash the Class.
Kansas State University engaged with more than 110 community members during the recent presidential community visit in Thomas County and the Colby and Hoxie region.
President Richard Linton and several Connected 'Cats students led the K-State team of faculty, staff and extension professionals who visited Thomas County on May 10. The visit included community conversations, recruitment activities and events to highlight university partnerships and K-State Research and Extension relationships.
View photos of the events throughout the Thomas County community visit. More photos will be added in the coming days.
At the Thomas County community visit, Linton and the K-State team began the day with a community open forum that highlighted university connections in the Colby and Hoxie area.
Other events throughout the day included a conversation with College of Education Dean Debbie Mercer and area school system leaders to explore existing and future resources and partnerships to support rural education. An afternoon discussion in Hoxie highlighted ways that the K-State 105 initiative can advance Kansas communities and businesses. Participants included the Innovation Center in northwest Kansas, NetWork Kansas, K-State Research and Extension, and local business and community leaders. Later in the day, K-State and Colby Community College leaders met to discuss opportunities for collaboration.
For the two Connected 'Cats student event leaders for the Thomas County community visit, the day provided an opportunity to share their K-State stories with their hometown communities.
"I was thrilled that we got to make our way to western Kansas and be able to share our love for K-State and all it has to offer," said Karly Bandel, senior in communication sciences and disorders and pre-speech language pathology, St. Francis. "This university means so much to me and I hope people walked away learning about all the opportunities K-State can give them. I was also thankful to be able to surprise one of the most influential teachers I know who played a big role in my love for the 'Cats!"
"As an eager advocate for both rural communities and Kansas State University, I was thrilled to travel to the Thomas County region to engage in conversations about future partnerships and opportunities," said Parker Reagan Vulgamore, senior in agricultural economics, Scott City. "I am extremely grateful for the values and sense of community that was instilled in me through my western Kansas roots, and I enjoyed sharing in my K-State story how the support from the Kansas State University community has allowed me to flourish."
Parker Reagan Vulgamore, senior in agricultural economics, surprises Suzette Price, college and career counselor at Scott Community High School, with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award.
K-State recognizes local educators with several awards
K-State continued recognizing local educators with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award. At every community visit, the Connected 'Cats choose educators from their hometown high schools to recognize for their inspiration and positive influence in helping the Connected 'Cats get to where they are today.
Educators who receive Spirit of K-State awards are recognized in a surprise ceremony at the high school, and they are given a certificate for a $1,000 scholarship to give to a current high school student who plans to attend K-State.
In western Kansas, Parker chose to recognize Suzette Price, college and career counselor at Scott Community High School. Bandel chose to recognize Susan Dinkel, business/computer skills instructor at St. Francis Community Jr./Sr. High School.
At the Thomas County community visit, Linton also joined Mercer for the College of Education's Crash the Class, which is a monthly video series that recognizes early career teachers. Linton and Mercer surprised Brianna McCollum, a teacher at Colby Grade School.
Karly Bandel, senior in communication sciences and disorders and pre-speech language pathology, recognizes Susan Dinkel, business/computer skills instructor at St. Francis Community Jr./Sr. High School, with the Connected 'Cats Spirit of K-State award.
About the community visit initiative
The presidential community visit initiative focuses on the people of Kansas and their communities. The initiative consisted of nine community visits throughout the state this academic year. See where K-State traveled during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Watch a video that showcases K-State's engagement in Kansas communities.
A communications toolkit is available to help K-Staters share a consistent message about the university's relationships, partnerships and contributions throughout the state of Kansas. The toolkit offers a pathway for any university unit to plug in to the initiative and help share stories of engagement across the state.
Access the communications toolkit on the community visit website. Please be prepared to enter your K-State eID and password to access the information.
Tim Steffensmeier, director of the K-State Office of Engagement, leads a K-State 105 discussion at Oscar's in Hoxie. Participants included the Innovation Center in northwest Kansas, NetWork Kansas, K-State Research and Extension, and local business and community leaders.