K-State first lady dedicates Eisenhower Bedroom in President’s Residence

A book of the collection of Eisenhower paintings rests on a table in the Eisenhower Bedroom in the President's Residence at Kansas State University. (Dalton Wainscott I Collegian Media Group)

Walking just a little north of Anderson Hall on campus, a student would notice Eisenhower Hall, named for the university’s ninth president, Milton Eisenhower. While he was president, his brother, a five-star general at the time, visited the university multiple times and would usually stay at the President’s Residence.

His brother was Dwight D. Eisenhower.

On Thursday, Kansas State first lady Mary Jo Myers dedicated the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Bedroom at the President’s Residence in his honor.

“I was born in [Eisenhower’s hometown] Abilene, so I feel like I have this special connection with Eisenhower,” Myers said. “I remember seeing him on my father’s shoulders as a child when he came back for a visit.”

The room features a portrait of Dwight D. Eisenhower with a bluish gray background that serves as the color inspiration. Above the bed are copies of paintings he created. The door features a plaque of Kansas with two circles of five stars representing his rank.

The walls in the room display information and photographs on Eisenhower’s multiple visits to the university. Myers thanked multiple people in the room for helping research Eisenhower and his visits, including university archivist Cliff Hight.

“You can’t just go into Google and say, ‘Eisenhower’s visit and 45,'” Myers said.

Dawn Hammatt, director of the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library in Abilene, also presented at the dedication and described Eisenhower’s “secret” visit to K-State.

“Right before Eisenhower was tasked to go to Europe to be the supreme leader of our allied forces, he was given leave,” Hammatt said. “He spent some time with his family in Washington and then he came here to visit his brother and his family.”

She said that the dedication of the “beautiful” bedroom was fitting in light of the relationship between Dwight and Milton Eisenhower.

“The brothers had a strong relationship full of respect and admiration,” Hammatt said. “Kansas State University and the Eisenhower Presidential Library also have a relationship of respect and admiration.”

She said the brothers knew how important education was to future generations, and that she hopes K-State and the museum will continue to work together in that regard.

At the end of the dedication, Myers told a story about when Dwight Eisenhower was asked about the symbolism in one of his paintings. Myers said Eisenhower used an expletive to say no one would have cared about it if he hadn’t been president.

“I could have given you a really lofty quote that Eisenhower said about his love of Kansas or his love of country, but I think that says so much about his humility, his being grounded in Kansas and the fact that he stayed close to his roots,” she said.

I'm Pete Loganbill and I'm the News Editor for the Collegian and host of the Collegian Kultivate podcast! I spent two years at Johnson County Community College, and I am now a senior in Public Relations at K-State. I believe constant communication leads to progress, no matter how difficult a comment may be for me or anyone to hear. Contact me at ploganbill@kstatecollegian.com.