A letter from Greg Willems
October 7, 2015
Greetings from Manhattan and the KSU Foundation team!
This week will be an exciting time on campus and in the history of Kansas State University. Over the past several months, the dedicated staff at the KSU Foundation have been working with our campus partners and volunteers to launch Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas State University. This set of events and activities will highlight the greatness and the impact of our remarkable university.
We encourage you to watch the campaign launch event live Friday night at 7:30 CT online and share in the social media discussion of how #KStateInspires our lives. Prepare yourselves for an emotional and inspirational experience as we embark on the most ambitious fundraising campaign in university history. It's sure to be an amazing ride!
Recent weeks have seen many other exciting activities at K-State, so I want to provide a brief update:
September 14: We hosted the provost and deans for lunch and discussion on our partnership and upcoming activities. We appreciate their continued commitment and hard work with us to engage K-State alumni with the university and seek philanthropic support for the many worthy programs and initiatives that benefit our university.
September 18: The K-State Marching Band enjoyed a dinner event to celebrate their success in winning the prestigious national Sudler Trophy, and to thank the many friends and partners who supported the band through the years. I was honored to speak at this event and share my perspective on this wonderful group of students and leaders whose dedication and hard work excites and entertains us all at countless events throughout the year.
September 19: Marching Band Director Frank Tracz, President Kirk Schulz, Athletics Director John Currie and former President Jon Wefald were part of the Sudler Trophy acceptance ceremony on the football field during halftime. What a great moment for our university, band supporters and current and former band members who helped us achieve this national acclaim.
The prestigious Sudler Trophy has renewed awareness of the marching band and generated interest in creating a strong future for this terrific organization. The KSU Foundation was proud to develop a new brochure about investing in the band, and to work with a number of families who stepped forward with new endowed gifts to support the Pride of Wildcat Land. To see our brochure and watch an amazing video about the Pride in the words of Dr. Tracz himself, visit www.found.ksu.edu/band.
September 21–23: Kirk Schulz and I did a whirlwind tour of south Florida and visited with a number of K-State alumni and friends. From Naples to Marco Island, we saw as many folks as we could and got our fill of fantastic seafood.
September 23: Kirk and I flew into Kansas City and enjoyed dinner with KSUF Board member Kevin Lockett and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation President and CEO Wendy Guillies and Vice President Aaron North. We had a great conversation about increasing student financial support for first-generation and multicultural students desiring a college education. We were honored to learn that K-State has been their most successful partner in recruitment, retention and graduation of Kauffman Scholars. We appreciate the Kauffman Foundation’s interest in growing an even stronger partnership with K-State in the future.
September 25: President Schulz’s cabinet joined our friends at the Chamber of Commerce in Manhattan. We bring local civic leadership and economic development partners together with university leadership several times a year to discuss mutual objectives and celebrate progress. Click here to view some of the information we exchanged, including points of pride at K-State and information highlighting retail sales, construction growth and job creation in Manhattan. For the timeframe of 2002–2015, Manhattan ranked fourth among all cities in the state for total new jobs created and second for percentage of net gain in new jobs — and we are just getting started.
September 25: Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art Director Linda Duke and her team joined with Friends of the Beach members to host an outstanding evening highlighting the value of this part of our university. The evening began with dinner and remarks at the Bluemont Hotel and concluded at the museum with coffee, dessert and wonderful performances by K-State jazz musicians and dancers. The several hundred guests enjoyed a remarkable evening of fellowship, appreciating the Beach Museum’s collection and the arts in Manhattan. If you haven't visited Beach Museum lately, I encourage you all to do so — you will not be disappointed.
October 1: My thanks to President Schulz and Provost Mason for the welcome and recognition at the “Purple Coat Ceremony.” This has become a K-State tradition where new deans and vice presidents are given a purple K-State sport coat and a wonderful reception with other K-State staff and leaders. I was joined by Dr. Tammy Beckham, our new Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. We appreciated this celebration of our new roles in the K-State community, and I know we both look forward to wearing our K-State sport coats with pride to many university events in the future.
October 9: During our upcoming Trustees meeting, we plan to share more details on our progress in working with prospective tenants for our KSU Office Park and Research Park. Discussion is underway with a number of companies and agencies to attract more jobs to Manhattan and locate partner organizations contiguous to our campus to benefit faculty and students with greater opportunities.
We look forward to sharing with you in celebration this week as we publicly launch the most ambitious fundraising campaign in K-State history.
President and CEO
P.S. To stay current on KSU Foundation news, including posts on my activities, I encourage you to follow the KSU Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.