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Alumnus, longtime supporter makes large gift to FHSU for scholarships

Published on -8/22/2013, 3:49 PM

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Special to The Hays Daily News

A graduate of Fort Hays State University who spent a long career in education has announced that he is leaving his entire estate, valued at more than half a million dollars, for elementary education scholarships.

Lloyd Trauer, who graduated in 1960 from FHSU and retired as a principal from the Shawnee Mission School District in 1991, stipulated that his estate be used to endow scholarships for elementary education majors. According to his wishes, preference will be given to students from west of Salina, but the scholarships will be open to anyone in elementary education.

"I'm very happy to be able to provide an education for students in western Kansas," he said.

Trauer grew up in the small western Kansas town of Utica, in Ness County, and came to FHSU to earn a two-year teaching certificate, which was standard at the time. He was recruited to return to Utica, where he especially enjoyed teaching young children. Over the 11 years he was teaching in Utica, he returned to FHSU in the summers to complete his bachelor's degree. He later earned a master's degree at the University of Kansas.

Trauer met with Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, in Kansas City on Wednesday to officially confirm the gift.

"Lloyd's generosity is a clear indication of his belief in Fort Hays State," Hammond said. "He represents our history of producing quality teachers and administrators, and he knows that with our current faculty, we are making a significant difference in the lives of elementary students in the western half of the state of Kansas."

Hammond added: "On behalf of the FHSU family, we thank Lloyd for his generosity."

Robert F. Scott, dean of FHSU's College of Education and Technology, also expressed his appreciation. "The College of Education and Technology is overwhelmed by Mr. Trauer's tremendous gift," he said. "Hard working, dedicated students in the field of elementary education will be immediately and positively impacted by this gift, and for this, I am grateful."

Trauer came to Hays the same year the historic Fox Theater opened -- 1950. While at FHSU, Trauer was a member of the legendary Lewis Field Pioneers. In the midst of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, university president Dr. Clarence Rarick founded the program for deserving young men to help them attend FHSU. It allowed young men to live on campus while working a variety of jobs to pay their tuition, room and board. Many Lewis Field Pioneers went on to very successful careers as teachers, doctors, lawyers and judges. One of the better-known Lewis Field Pioneers was former U.S. Representative Keith Sebelius, father-in-law of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 82-year-old resident of Merriam shared his passion for teaching with Lynne Elizabeth Flanders, a 1953 graduate of Decatur Community High School and his partner for the past 31 years. She died March 13 this year.

Trauer is a member of the Wooster Society at FHSU. Named for the fourth president of the university, the Lyman Dwight Wooster Society seeks to honor individuals who arrange gifts to the FHSU Foundation through planned giving. These generous and visionary individuals ensure the strong future of Fort Hays State University and the education of western Kansans.

Trauer interrupted his career in education to serve two years in the U.S. Army.

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