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Building in China named for Hammond

6/7/2014

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Buildings on university campuses in China are identified by numbers.

Now one building at Sias International University in Zhengzhou, the capital and largest city of the Henan province, will be recognized by a name.

Hammond Hall, in honor of outgoing Fort Hays State University President Edward Hammond, was dedicated May 30 on the Sias campus.

Hammond and his wife Mary, along with a local and area entourage, were on hand to witness the event.

Hammond's primary purpose for traveling to China was to participate in graduation ceremonies at the two universities with which FHSU has primary partnerships -- Sias and Shenyang Normal University of International Business.

While the building dedication at Sias wasn't a surprise -- Hammond found out earlier this year that Chen planned to name a building in his honor -- he said it was an indescribable feeling to see his name on a building.

"I think it used to be number 29 or something like that, and they tell me it's the first building there named for a person," Hammond said of the building that houses the College of International Education and the nursing department. "It makes you feel very humble, pretty special."

Hammond has made many a trip to China since Fort Hays started its partnerships with Chinese universities in 2000.

And Hammond knew this would be a special trip, considering it's his last as FHSU president. Hammond is stepping down from his presidency later this month after 27 years at the helm and will stay on at Fort Hays as a consultant.

While in China, the FHSU group also were guests at the 15th anniversary celebration of Sias University and a dinner hosted by Xinzheng, the sister city of Hays.

Hammond also visited an elementary school in the small rice village of Xiniu in Houba Town, to which he has ties; he helped raise funds to rebuild the school after it was destroyed by an earthquake in 2008.

"Every year, we go back and visit that school," Hammond said. "It's always fun to see the kids."

Hammond will finish out the month at Fort Hays before handing over the reins to Mirta Martin, who was introduced on May 2 as FHSU's next president.

Martin, who has served as the dean of the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business at Virginia State University in Richmond since 2009, will take over as FHSU's ninth leader -- and first woman president -- on July 1.