August 8, 2023
A personal update from President Linton
Dear K-State Community,
With the launch of our new strategic plan around the corner, I like to think of our university at the starting line of our future, revving up the engine louder and more confidently than ever before. We’re seeking final input on the draft plan, putting all the people and pieces in place, and building up the energy so much that the only option is to catapult forward. This energy is indeed a driving force for this institution, and that is because of each and every one of you who are engaged with and invested in our great university. Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and friends are truly our backbone — you step up whenever and wherever needed to advance our mission and vision forward. Your shared optimism means the world to this institution — and to me personally, now more than ever.
I owe it to you all — my K-State family — to share some personal and difficult news as we prepare to launch forward. This past week, I was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer, which will require me to pursue daily treatments in Kansas City with the KU Cancer Center for the next few months. This is obviously not how I envisioned starting the fall semester, but it is necessary that I take these steps at this time, as this cancer is treatable and curable. I need to be at my best for this institution — you deserve that from me, and in consultation with my medical team, I also know this is what is best for me and my family.
I will stay engaged with the university and the great work we’re doing, but I also recognize I won’t be able to be present in the way you’ve known me to be, as much of my work will have to take place remotely from Kansas City. I am grateful to the Kansas Board of Regents for supporting the decision to appoint another university leader to partner with me in a special capacity during this time. Dr. Marshall Stewart, senior vice president and chief of staff, will represent me at important university events and meetings and collaborate with me on decision making. Dr. Stewart and I are completely aligned in how we lead this university, and we will continue to ensure we’re aligned through regular communication. Place your trust in him as you have with me — he will ensure we continue our planned path forward together.
I am also grateful to the medical professionals who have been and will continue to guide me on this journey. From my local physician to the team at the KU Cancer Center, I know I am incredibly well taken care of.
And of course, I am eternally grateful for the love of my family — Sally, Lily and Chris. Their support always has and always will lift me up every day. I know the energy generated from the support of my entire Wildcat family will also do the same.
As I look to the future, I want you to know that I look to it with optimism — that is the K-State way, and this community has instilled that in me. K-Staters don’t shy away from difficult situations or moments of uncertainty. We face them head on and fight for the greatest outcome. That is what I do for you every day, and that is what I will continue to do for you as I embark on this journey.
Thank you for your support, and thank you in advance for affording that same support to Dr. Stewart. I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again: The future of Kansas State University is bright, and I look forward to realizing our great vision for the future together.