The legacy of Omer G. Voss
Omer’s son stated, “He was so concerned about future leadership. He said, ‘I have seen so many good people fail because they didn’t know how to lead, and we need to do something about it.’” And, indeed, his father did do something. In 2003, in addition to a scholarship fund, the Omer G. Voss Endowed Professorship in Leadership Fund was established at Fort Hays State University to select and retain outstanding faculty in Leadership. The Department of Leadership Studies’ programs at FHSU prepare students to become effective organizational members of the 21st century workplace; furthermore, the program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary for a broad range of organizational and supervisory positions and believes in the concept that leadership can be learned.
Dr. Curt Brungardt, Omer G. Voss Distinguished Professor at Fort Hays state University, is the Executive Director of the Center for Civic Leadership and was an honorary speaker at Mr. Voss’ funeral on February 16, 2012, in Evanston, IL. “Because of Omer, our team at Fort Hays State University has had a positive impact on the world. I assure you today, because of Omer and our work, our graduates are making a real difference in the world,” Dr. Brungardt praised.
“A quote from Omer to me: ‘If you are going to get involved, then you lead. That’s where you can make the biggest difference.’ Although Omer is not with us in the physical, I promise you, he ‘lives on’ through the students he has impacted at Fort Hays State University. His legacy lives on. It lives on through their work and their efforts. Simply put, we could not do what we do without Omer Voss. It’s truly that important. Yes, Omer did great things during his time here. However, that’s only the beginning. Omer continues to do great things through others. His legacy is and will continue to be powerful. And, yes, it will impact many. It will be felt in every community where our graduates live, work and play. And the best part, his positive influence will live on and on for generations.” Dr. Brungardt concluded, “In classic Kansas slang - Omer, rest in peace; you done good.”
Dr. Edward H. Hammond, President of FHSU, offered, "Omer Voss was a meticulous individual, and he may have been the most prepared individual I have ever known.” "During visits I discovered that he had a regular schedule of restaurants and clubs for lunch, and the waiters knew exactly what he would order. He loved chocolate sundaes and wanted them prepared in a certain way, and that is what he got.
"The same sense of order and preparedness was evident in his professional life. I have met with many people through the years to ask for financial support. They are always prepared, but no one else has been as prepared as Omer. He had facts and figures at hand and obviously had given it a great deal of thought.
"Omer always said that FHSU prepared him for his career by teaching him that hard work and preparation lead to success. And yet he was also open to new ideas. For example, when we launched our Leadership Studies program, he fully bought into our commitment to equip our students with leadership skills.
"Omer was a great and loyal friend to Fort Hays State University," concluded Dr. Hammond.