Fort Hays State University President Mirta M. Martin continues to emphasize why transparency, values and a sense of family are vital to the success of the university.

During her time at FHSU the last 13 months, Martin repeatedly has shown a spotlight on her desire to make her personal feelings regarding the matters known.

“One of the things we are trying to do at Fort Hays is allow people to see us for who we really are,” Martin said. “We want to get our message out — what trust means, what integrity means, what honor means.”

Since arriving at Fort Hays, Martin said she has always felt like she belonged and that Hays and her university are her home.

“The welcoming, the love, the caring, the willingness to help — it has just filled my heart with the feeling that this is home and this is my family,” she said. “I’ve become very protective of the people of Fort Hays because these people are now my people.”

Martin said during her travels as president, she has been stunned by how little outsiders are aware of the many benefits she has witnessed firsthand at FHSU.

“As I go throughout Kansas and the U.S. to visit with alumni, donors and industry people, it surprises me how little people know about Fort Hays,” she said.

That is where Martin hopes to begin changing things. She wants to work toward exposure of the small things she says set the university apart.

“We do a lot of things very well, but there’s one thing we don’t do well, and that is tell our story,” Martin said.

Part of telling that story is shining light on successes, no matter how big or how small, that occur amongst FHSU’s faculty, staff, students and programs.

“I want to show people why our people and programs of distinction make Fort Hays a destination of choice,” Martin said.

For others to truly understand all Martin is referring to, she said transparency is key.

“Transparency is paramount,” she said. “Trust comes from this, and if there’s no trust, we have nothing.”

Martin said she personally understands why it is crucial for those coming into the Fort Hays family to trust her.

“My children are the ages of these kids. Parents need to know I understand,” Martin said. “I know their children are their most precious possession, and when they come here, they become my most precious possession.”

Continuing to spread this sense of family to her students, day after day, is most important to the university president.

“The kids can walk into this office just to give me a hug, or I will be out there on moving day helping unload cars,” she said. “Students can walk up to me on campus just to take a selfie.

“This is all part of being a family.”

Though the university is taking steps in the right direction to expose such values, and Martin finds pride in that, she hopes to more widely proclaim the many reasons FHSU shines.

“I want it to grow. I want to continue telling the world why we are a destination of choice,” she said. “It’s not too good to be true. What you see is what you get.

“This is home. This is family.”