KBOR gives warm send off to Hammond

06/18/14 ks local, area, key
At today's monthly meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents, Shane Bangerter, the regent from Dodge City, read a proclamation recognizing Dr. Edward H. Hammond for "creating an environment that enriches and educates through personal attention, support and tireless promotion of the value of achievement" over his more than 27 years as president of Fort Hays State University.

After serving as the eighth president of FHSU from 1987 to 2014, Hammond's last official day will be June 30. Although he will no longer be at the helm of the only state university in the western half of Kansas, Hammond will remain on the Hays campus, first as a consultant and later as a member of the faculty.

In the proclamation, Bangerter noted that Hammond had expanded the reach of FHSU by presiding over a successful partnership program with universities in China that resulted in FHSU being the largest non-Chinese university provider of higher education in that country.

"President Hammond was a pioneer in promoting online education with the establishment of a Virtual College that now serves more than 4,500 students, not including those in China," Bangerter added.

The regents passed the proclamation unanimously and everyone in attendance gave President Hammond a standing ovation.

Hammond thanked the regents and expressed appreciation for their support. "I've been coming to these meetings for more than 27 years," he said, "and over that time I've had 115 different bosses. It has amazed me through those years how the regents all have similar characteristics. They all care about higher education, and they do not let their allegiances to any one institution dictate their votes or their activities as a regent. And there is no political party affiliation when it comes to the Board of Regents. That made working for them a real pleasure and honor."

As a result of building enrollments over the course of his presidency from 4,500 to more than 13,500 students, Bangerter explained, Hammond was able to keep the cost of tuition low at FHSU. The regents were scheduled to consider tuition proposals from the universities during the meeting this week. The average increase was about 4.5 percent. FHSU, which already has the lowest tuition by a wide margin, was proposing the lowest increase -- just 2.7 percent -- for the 2014-2015 academic year.

The proclamation also commended Hammond's leadership in other areas:
* The Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a residential program at FHSU that provides high school juniors and seniors college-level instruction by Ph.D. faculty resulting in a high school diploma and 68 hours of college credit;
* Significant physical enhancements to FHSU facilities, including a $2 million renovation of Sheridan Hall, construction of Tomanek Hall (a state-of-the-art, completely electronic and computerized physical sciences building), the move of the Sternberg Museum to its current location and development of the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, renovations of Lewis Field Stadium and Larks Park, construction of the Robbins Center, and bringing two wind energy turbines to campus;
* The culture of academic achievement and advancement as demonstrated by establishing Student Recognition Programs to award scholarships to academically outstanding high school seniors in Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska;
* A mobile learning and living environment that includes wireless connectivity throughout the FHSU campus;
* Four-fold increase in the number of scholarships awarded annually;
* Promotion of the critical role public higher education plays in shaping a vibrant future for individuals, families, communities and Kansas;
* Development of different higher education alignments in an effort to better serve western and southwest Kansas; and
* Completion of several successful fundraising campaigns totaling more than $130 million, and increasing the assets of the FHSU Foundation from $8.2 million to nearly $50 million in the past 20 years.

"Now, therefore be it resolved, having determined for these and other reasons, Dr. Edward H. Hammond provided 27 years of distinguished service leading Fort Hays State University in accomplishing outstanding achievements, and made outstanding contributions to the higher education system, we, the Kansas Board of Regents, thank him for his service and recognize his outstanding contributions to FHSU, Hays and the state of Kansas," Bangerter concluded in the proclamation.

President Hammond also received the prestigious Silver Stirrup Award for 2014 at the annual Team Kansas banquet on Tuesday night in Topeka. Team Kansas is a non-profit organization housed within the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The Silver Stirrup award is given in honor of one of Kansas' most distinguished citizens, Samuel J. Crawford, who was one of Kansas' colorful military leaders during the Civil War and later served as governor. He is remembered as one of Kansas' most zealous and dedicated leaders. Team Kansas presents the Silver Stirrup Award to one of its members each year in the spirit of leadership and dedication. Other recent winners include Lt. Gov. John Moore, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. Mark Parkinson and U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts.

"This was really a special award because it came from the business community and the governor in recognition for what I have done to help Kansas grow," Hammond said. "When I look at others who have received this award, I have to wonder if I am worthy. It certainly makes me appreciate it to be in such company."
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