In a news conference Wednesday, Patty Baconrind, a Fort Hays State University graduate, was recognized for her generous gift to FHSU Athletics. She has made an initial $100,000 gift in support of transportation needs for Tiger Athletics with the intent to continue this same level of support over the next eight years. 

Baconrind has a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an M.S. in communication from FHSU, an M.S. in business from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, a B.S. in business education from Midland College, and a Real Estate Certificate from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. 

The owner of Baconrind Appraising Services Inc., Baconrind, a Certified General Appraiser, has a storied history with Fort Hays State. She served as assistant professor of business administration and was later promoted to associate professor. She taught real estate and marketing courses. She also taught as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting.

Baconrind is also the president and owner of the Center for Professional Betterment Inc., a Kansas proprietary school approved by the Kansas Board of Regents for real estate and appraisal education. All courses are approved by the Kansas Real Estate Commission and the Kansas Appraisal Board.

“Geographically, we face unique challenges related to team travel,” said Curtis Hammeke, FHSU director of athletics. “Obviously, the safety of our coaches and student-athletes is at the forefront of these improvements. Upgrading and replacing our fleet vehicles will allow us to address these travel concerns well into the future! It is through Patty’s generosity that we are able to do so in a timely fashion.”

“What’s really special to me about this gift is that it’s the perfect example of donor-centered philanthropy, when we can take the passion and interests and love of our donors and match them up with Fort Hays State’s needs to create a legacy,” said Tisa Mason, FHSU president.

“Gifts like this are humbling, as I know that there are a lot of places that people can support,” Hammeke said. “To choose us, to choose FHSU, to choose Tiger Athletics – it’s appreciated beyond what we can ever express. 

Baconrind was a recipient of the FHSU Pilot Award, awarded annually to recognize the outstanding faculty member of the year. Her recognitions include six different Who's Who categories: Women, Advertising, Finance, in the Midwest, Educators, and in American Education. 

She is a recipient of the FHSU Alumni Association’s Nita M. Landrum Award. She also served two terms on the Alumni Association board of directors.

Baconrind became aware of the need for transportation upgrades when she served on the FHSU Athletic Board. This was a unique way for her to combine her passion for vehicles and her passion for Fort Hays State.

“When I was here at FHSU teaching, I worked with a great deal of student-athletes,” Baconrind said. “At that time, I also served on the athletic board and became familiar with concerns over budgets, travel needs and safety of our students. 

“When I heard that transportation was going to be Item No. 40 at the 2018 Tiger Auction, I told Curtis that I was interested in the project. Tiger Auction started the project, and it has brought us to where we are today.” 

Proceeds from the annual Tiger Auction and Dinner benefit the FHSU Athletic Department, and Item No. 40 each year is targeted for some specific need for the department. 

“We greatly appreciate Patty’s generosity and willingness to support this endeavor,” said

Hammeke said Baconrind’s support will help provide the funding for two new charter-style buses. 

“Patty has been a long-time supporter of Tiger Athletics,” Hammeke said. “Her passion for vehicles, combined with her interest in Tiger Athletics, created a unique opportunity to make these enhancements to our department a reality. This generous commitment will make a significant impact for our student-athletes and coaches for many years to come.”

“Support like this has a direct impact on the student-athlete experience and speaking first-hand from the long bus rides we take, I can promise you this generosity and thoughtfulness does not go unnoticed by all of us athletes,” said Darby Hirsch, Topeka junior and a member of FHSU’s women’s soccer team. 

“The number of hours we spend on the bus traveling for competition is probably more than I would like to total up, but this opportunity Patty has given us will be appreciated each and every weekend.”

“Transportation is a vital and ongoing need for Tiger Athletics,” said Mark Johnson, men’s basketball coach. “Not only will Patty’s gift make a huge difference for the comfort of our student-athletes as they travel, but more importantly, it will improve their safety.”

Gifts to Fort Hays State University are 100-percent tax deductible. To learn more about the Fort Hays State University Foundation and how you can support FHSU, visit https://foundation.fhsu.edu/ or contact the office at 785-628-5620 or by email foundation@fhsu.edu.