Some people say that the number 13 is unlucky, but for K-State President Kirk Schulz, it is only the beginning of a life-changing experience.
Kirk Schulz became the 13th president of Kansas State University on Feb. 11, 2009. Since then, President Schulz has helped the K-State Manhattan campus become greener with the addition of the LEED Certified Leadership Studies Building and an addition to the Jardine Apartment Complex. He has also secured funding for and completed the new Child Development Center, helped to create plans to renovate East Stadium and assisted in acquiring the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. All of these achievements have helped fuel the growth of K-State 2025, a plan Schulz created to improve K-State over the next 15 years.
Before coming to Manhattan, Schulz worked at a variety of universities, including the University of North Dakota, Michigan Tech and Mississippi State University. President Schulz is glad to be living back in the Midwest.
“We love the Midwest,” Schulz said. “It has the practical, hard-working style characteristic of the region, along with friendly people who will go the extra mile to help each other.”
Schulz enjoyed his transition not only to the Midwest, but also into the K-State community.
“The excitement of the community for all things K-State is the best part of living here,” Schulz said. “People in Manhattan are excited by NBAF, athletic success, student enrollment and the future direction of the university. I haven’t lived anywhere else where the community embraced their university as strongly as Manhattan supports K-State.”
Throughout his presidency at K-State, Schulz has improved his leadership and communication style.
“I think you learn to develop a thicker skin while serving as a university president,” Schulz said. “No matter how good a job you do, there will always be some people who don’t like what you are doing. It has also reinforced the importance of communications with the K-State family through letters to campus, Tweets, Facebook, open forums and meeting with alumni face-to-face. In the end, it is hard to overcommunicate.”
President Schulz has many opportunities to use his leadership and communication skills when representing K-State.
“My primary areas involve garnering resources to enable faculty, staff and student success,” Schulz said. “This includes fundraising, working with the regents, visiting with our state and federal political leaders and partnering with companies. Additionally, it is important that I play a key role in mapping out the vision for Kansas State University for the future.”
With the future in mind, the plans for K-State 2025 are progressing well, according to Schulz.
“We have seven different committees focused on the K-State 2025 themes, which are currently putting forward the details of the 2025 plan,” Schulz said. “We will have a draft plan out to the K-State family by the end of the semester.”
The K-State 2025 plan was created to help make K-State a premier land-grant university. Currently the committees are in the planning stages of initiative.
Schulz helps plan for the future of K-State, but he said the best part of his presidency is seeing the present changes.
“I watch the achievement of our faculty, staff and students and get to feel a small part of their success,” Schulz said.
Serving as president of K-State has been a life-changing experience for Schulz.
“I enjoy serving as president more than any other job I have ever had,” Schulz said. “It is an awesome responsibility waking up every morning knowing that 5,500 faculty and staff and 23,500 students are counting on me to bring my ‘A-game’ to work that day.”
Schulz has a clear vision for the future of K-State, and in addition to his work ethic, Schulz has a passion for the university that he is unafraid to share with others.
“How do you get a KU graduate off your porch?” Schulz asked. “You pay them for the pizza. Go Cats.”