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Anonymous donor pledges land valued at $2.5M to FHSU

4/15/2014

Special to The Hays Daily News

Special to The Hays Daily News

The Power of One Scholarship Campaign for Fort Hays State University students has received another financial boost with the anonymous donation of land valued at $2.5 million.

The campaign was timed to coincide with the retirement this year of Edward H. Hammond, who has spent 27 years as president, and to honor his commitment to FHSU students.

"Today's announcement of the $2.5 million gift takes our campaign total to $6.7 million, which is 80 percent of the $8 million goal," Hammond said during a news conference on the FHSU campus. "Leading Fort Hays State University has been the most challenging and rewarding work of my career. I hope many more of you will step up to the plate and make a donation that will help our students realize their dream of a college degree. Your gift can help them graduate with little or no debt and become full participants in the economic life of their community immediately as they begin their careers."

Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, said although the foundation is proud to showcase donors in news releases, it also understands that some supporters wish to remain anonymous. "The Foundation is extremely thankful for all of the donors who realize the importance of private support," he said.

Chapman reminded everyone the Power of One Scholarship Campaign kicked off last December with a goal of raising $8 million by December of this year. "This one-year effort is unique, the goal is aggressive and the outcome, when successful, will be a springboard for students of today and tomorrow by giving them scholarship support," Chapman said. "It is also a way for all of us to recognize the 27-year tenure of Dr. Hammond as the president of this institution. What a great legacy for all of us and for Dr. Hammond to know we are continuing to change lives through this campaign."

Chapman said the gift of land valued at $2.5 million would provide scholarships for students who have interests in English and agriculture. "The donor, who was born and raised in western Kansas, has multiple degrees from FHSU and has been a consistent supporter of scholarships here through the years.

Chapman said that in donating the land, the anonymous donor said, "I have always believed in education. We have a great university here in western Kansas that we need to support."

An endowed fund will be established with the gift, providing support for agriculture and English scholarships for many years to come. "This gift will mean so much to our students," said Dr. Pauline Scott, chair of the Department of English. "Many of the English Department students take on part- and full-time jobs in order to finance their college education, making it difficult for them to excel in their classes and maintain a full course load. Because of this gift, our students will be able to more fully dedicate themselves to their education."

"Additionally," Scott said, "the gift will make it possible -- for the first time ever -- for the department to award scholarships to summer graduate students, many of whom are full-time teachers with families."

John Greathouse, chairman of the Department of Agriculture, said, "Contributions to the university that provide students with access to scholarship dollars are extremely beneficial. We greatly appreciate the donor's investment in our students and in our department."

This gift will benefit not only current and future students, but because many English and agriculture graduates go on to careers that are essential to the community, it will also enhance the lives of Kansans for generations to come.

"In the end," the generous donor said, "I just wanted to do something good."