President Myers gives final State of the University address

President Richard Myers delivered his final State of the University address in Forum Hall on Friday Sept. 17. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

President Richard Myers highlighted the advancements made on K-State’s 2025 strategic plan during his sixth and final State of the University address at Kansas State.

Former President Kirk Schulz began K-State 2025 ten years ago, yet Myers has overseen much of the plan’s implementation.

“K-State 2025 defined us as a modern, student-centered, land-grant university valuing and integrating education, research and engagement on behalf of our communities, state, nation and world,” Myers said. “For ten years, K-Staters have done amazing work making real our commitment to this vision and our goal to become a top-50 public research university.”

According to K-State’s website, K-State 2025 consists of short- and long-term goals within seven action plan themes covering all aspects of the university. The plan’s mission is to have K-State recognized as a top-50 public research university in the country by 2025.

Mary Tolar, director of the Staley School of Leadership Studies, said the action plan united the K-State community with a common goal.

“I really enjoyed the focus and the opportunity to celebrate all that’s happened in the last ten years with the strategic plan,” Tolar said. “A reminder that an inclusive process that engages a lot of voices can come together in powerful ways to direct action on shared values.”

While the strategic plan brought people together, Jay Stephens, vice president of K-State Human Capital Services, said Myers’ passion for the university was contagious when he was with others.

“I enjoy every time I get to listen to him because I think when he talks about the university, it’s always from a sense of deep love — that’s why he came back, that’s why he’s here — and I think listening to it reminds me of that and also inspires me to feel the same thing,” Stephens said.

Myers also underscored the K-State community’s perseverance through difficult times.

“Through leadership transitions, dramatic enrollment growth — and then enrollment challenges — constrained resources, and even a pandemic that is still with us today … the K-State 2025 journey has been exhilarating always and, at times, very challenging,” Myers said.

Stephens said Myers’ ability to navigate through adversity would be what most K-Staters remember about him.

“I think his legacy really will be leading through crisis,” Stephens said. “You think about all the things that went on during the time he was here … things that could be crippling to the university in a lot of ways, and I think his legacy will be calm, thoughtful leadership during that time.”

At the end of the address, Myers reflected on the adversity K-State has overcome.

“As we prepare for a new leadership transition, I’m hopeful for the future,” Myers said. “The state of the university is sound — very sound — and we have weathered many challenges, and we’ve proven as a team, as a community, our mettle.”

He closed his final State of the University address with an optimistic outlook on K-State’s future.

“Thank you for all you’ve done, each and every one of you,” Myers said. “Let’s build an even greater future for our great university. We can do this. It’s been an honor serving as your president.”

The entire State of the University Address is available to watch on K-State’s Faculty Senate website.