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FHSU launches $8M scholarship drive

12/12/2013

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

The year's theme unveiled this fall by the president of Fort Hays State University represents the importance of each instructor and staff member in the success of students.

But the "Power of One" took on a whole new meaning Wednesday.

In an announcement on campus, FHSU unveiled a one-year scholarship campaign to raise $8 million for financial assistance for students.

"Every single dollar makes a difference," said FHSU President Edward Hammond.

"The No. 1 need for FHSU students is scholarship dollars," added Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation.

Chapman said the initiation not only will help students more, but also will recognize Hammond's career at FHSU.

Aid for students has been a priority under Hammond, who announced this fall he would retire next summer. That will come just after his 27th anniversary, the longest tenure of any president at FHSU.

"Leading Fort Hays State University has been the most challenging and rewarding work of my 47-year career in high education," Hammond said. "It has been a great privilege, and I'm proud to be a Tiger."

Fort Hays, the fastest growing university in the state, is the third-fastest growing university in the United States, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Hammond has been instrumental in growing the university of western Kansas.

When he came to Fort Hays in 1987, student enrollment was 5,538. Now, it stands at 13,441.

With those increases in numbers comes added need for financial assistance.

"The real importance of this initiative is to raise support for general scholarship needs," Chapman said. "National trends show a push toward restricted funds, and in order for Fort Hays State to have the ability to attract quality students, general scholarship dollars are a must."

Hammond said he has noticed through the years "Fort Hays students are different."

"They would work their way through school and take a little longer (to get their degree)," he said, as opposed to borrowing a lot of money.

He noted sometimes students even will lay out of school to work and save up enough money rather than take out more loans.

The Power of One Scholarship Campaign represents a 400-percent increase over normal fundraising in a year's time for the FHSU Foundation.

"We want to make an opportunity to create enough money so those students do not have to leave school," he said.

One can aid the Supporting the Power of One Scholarship Campaign by visiting foundation.fhsu.edu, clicking on "Make a Gift TODAY" in the top right-hand corner and selecting FHSU's Greatest Need as the area of designation. Or people can call the FHSU Foundation at (785) 628-5620.