Gen. Richard Myers, Kansas State interim president, delivered this year’s State of the University Address to a packed ballroom in the Alumni Center Friday afternoon.
Myers began the address, sponsored by the Faculty Senate, by noting some of the university’s recent achievements, such as high Princeton Review rankings in several categories.
“Lots of things to be proud of,” Myers said. “This is my alma mater. I always thought it was a great place to be. The longer I’m here, the more I’m absolutely convinced that it’s better than I ever thought it could be.”
Myers said tuition and fees rates continue to rise, while enrollment rates have fallen. However, in regards to fundraising, the KSU Foundation, Myers said, has set a new goal to raise about $150 million per year, based on this year’s total thus far of $150.6 million.
K-State enrollment drops for second year in a row
“We’ve come a long way in exactly the right time, I think, for that,” Myers said. “A lot of people in this room give, whether you’re trustees or faculty/staff. We have a pretty good giving record here for faculty/staff, and we thank everybody for trying to make K-State better in very significant ways.”
According to Myers, the cost to educate a full-time student at K-State has seen a 9 percent increase since 2006.
“That’s pretty good stewardship,” Myers said. “We still have a lot of places where we can find efficiencies, and we’re serious about doing that.”
Discussing the importance of research and K-State’s recent successes in research, Myers said the university has a record 2,000 research proposals, recorded a 40 percent increase in grant awards and awarded 11 patents.
Myers gave a brief overview of campus construction and completed construction projects, including business facilities, engineering facilities, the Berney Family Welcome Center and the K-State Student Union.
“Just walking over here, you saw some of the construction and some of the completed construction,” Myers said. “You walked through the Student Union that is being transformed, and it’s like, a buoyant 737’s got two motors; it’s like changing one of those motors while you’re in flight. They’ve kept it going.”
Among K-State’s athletic achievements, Myers said, K-State “has a balanced budget,” with the second-lowest debt of athletic programs in the Big 12.
Chuck Chordt, the KSU Foundation’s senior director of development for the College of Education, said the State of the University address gave him insight into the direction the university.
“As a new employee, it helped me to learn as much as I can about the university and where it’s headed, but also, that was the first time I was able to hear Gen. Myers speak and kind of get his insight and position on things,” Chordt said. “Everybody has said great things about him and that just confirms, after hearing him speak, that we’re under good leadership and heading in the right direction.”
Stephen Kucera, Student Governing Association speaker pro tempore, senior in music performance and accounting, said he has attended the State of the University address every year for the last four years. This year, Kucera asked Myers a two-part question regarding the possibilities of a new multicultural student center and need-based scholarships.
“I think these talks are important to have a lot of open meetings, where we invite the community in to hear these different issues because I think it leads to additional accountability between administrators and the campus community at large,” Kucera said. “I think it also creates a way for campus not to feel like a hierarchal organization. Instead, I think it feels more like you’re working with your peers, even though they might be higher up in the university administration.”