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FHSU officials react to anonymous gift

4/15/2014

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

The Power of One Scholarship Campaign landed another huge gift, one of the largest in the tenure of Fort Hays State University President Edward Hammond.

The deferred donation of land valued at $2.5 million from an anonymous donor boosted to 80 percent the $8 million goal of the campaign during the last year of Hammond's presidency. Hammond, who will turn 70 in May, announced in October his intentions of retiring from that position this summer.

The announcement about the latest campaign gift was announced in Dreiling Lobby of Sheridan Hall, the site of five press conferences for presidential candidates during the past three weeks.

On Tuesday morning, however, it was a pair of current presidents at FHSU taking center stage.

"This very unique effort is for scholarships," said Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation. "But it's also a way of recognizing 27 years of leadership by Dr. Hammond."

The Power of One kicked off in December, and just a third of the way into the campaign, it already has raised $6.7 million.

"The foundation is extremely thankful for all of the donors who realize the importance of private support," Chapman said.

Chapman said the donor specified the scholarship money go to students with interests of majoring in English or agriculture.

"This one-year effort is a unique way to recognize the 27-year tenure of Dr. Hammond as the president of this institution," Chapman said.

The donor, born and raised in western Kansas, has multiple degrees from FHSU, and therefore wanted to establish an endowed fund for scholarships.

Pauline Scott, chairwoman of the department of English, said she is looking forward to the gift helping "our students to more fully dedicate themselves to their education."

"The gift will make it possible, for the first time ever, for the department to award scholarships to summer graduate students," she said, "many of whom are full-time teachers with families."

John Greathouse, chairman of the department of agriculture, said he had been working with the donor for a while now, so he wasn't surprised.

"But I am very excited about the donor's interest in supporting students," he said. "Contributions to the university that provide students with access to scholarship dollars are extremely beneficial."

Greathouse has been at FHSU for nearly 20 years and said this is by far the largest gift to his department.

"We learned of the donor's interest in both programs," he said. "And we're excited to be included."