Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers was formally introduced as the interim president of K-State at a press conference Wednesday morning.
It was the first time Myers addressed the public since last week when the Kansas Board of Regents appointed him to the position. Myers’ first official day as interim president will be April 26, but he will not seek to become the permanent president of K-State, he said.
“If I were in a different stage of life, maybe,” Myers said. “The Board of Regents has made it very clear to me and we’ve had this conversation. I’m interim, and hope I can do the best I can (to help setup for the next president).”
Meyers said he does not anticipate making any major changes as interim president because he does not see that as his role. Mostly, he will be in place to prepare things so the next university president can get right to work when he or she takes office.
“There’s not going to be much change,” Myers said. “As the interim, this is not about big muscle movements when you’re the interim of anything. It’s about continuing with what’s already going on and then just trying to work through those really tough problems so that when the new president, when he or she shows up, they can take off from there. So I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of change.”
The press conference took place in Forum Hall in the K-State Student Union. Members of the public also attended the event, which started with opening remarks from Myers and Shane Bangerter, chairman of the Board of Regents, and ended with a Q&A period in which the media were allowed to ask Myers questions.
In his remarks, Myers said K-State president Kirk Schulz had done a lot for the university, but he said work that needs to be done remains. While Myers will only be in the position temporarily, there are challenges he will work to address. The first is the budget, which he said many people are asking questions about.
“Then, shortly, we’re going to be talking about tuition,” Myers said. “So I think those are a couple things that are going to be number one and two, and then we’ll take the rest as they come.”
Myers said he will continue both to encourage K-State to be military friendly but also will not lose sight of the things K-State is best at, specifically relating to agriculture.
“I’m not a farmer, but I have an appreciation for what K-State is all about and that’s one of the things we have to do well,” Myers said. “We already lead. We have to continue to do very well in that whole area.”
Bangerter said the regents will be doing all they can to help select the right long-term president for K-State.
“I cannot think of a better person to take on this role,” Bangerter said.