What happened to May? It is a question I am pondering as I think about how quickly time flies with a calendar packed with so many wonderful celebrations and six commencement ceremonies. Our Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science completion celebration was followed by two commencement ceremonies in Hays and three in China!

As I unpack my suitcase and attempt to adjust to time zone changes, I am reminded of the importance of taking time to breathe, to reflect, and to celebrate successes. At FHSU, we had a remarkably successful spring semester. Here are some highlights:

We began by setting a new spring enrollment record and, like the fall, it was an 18-consecutive-year record! This was partially made possible by an outstanding fall-to-spring semester retention rate of 91 percent.

Thanks to our legislators, Fort Hays State University received an additional $1.3 million dollars, partially restoring previous state budget cuts. These dollars, coupled with our record enrollment, allowed us to offer a zero tuition raise to our 2019-2020 students.

The Kansas Small Business Development Center worked with 89 long-term clients in western Kansas. For the year, the center facilitated $9.1 million in capital infusions and 28 new business starts. This work positively impacted 371 jobs in western Kansas, and $390,000 of increased sales were documented by businesses the KSBDC assisted.

Over 6,000 individuals, companies and foundations, including the estate of Earl and Nona Fields, the largest single gift in university history, gave their money to support of our students, faculty, staff and facilities, setting a new overall record for dollars given to FHSU in a single year.

The Department of Nursing completed a remodeling project that included a brand new simulation laboratory, a video recording system, a conference room and a student lounge area. The project was a partnership between FHSU, Hays Med and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.

Faculty and staff received more than $2.8 million dollars in grants.

Successful accreditation renewals were achieved in athletic training, nursing, allied health and social work.

The university was approved to offer the Master of Social Work degree, and the social work cohort programs added Colby and Norton to Liberal, Dodge City and Garden City, serving Western Kansas in partnership with community colleges and local agencies.

The Peter Werth College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics hosted more than 100 paleontologists from across the United States and Canada for the 2019 annual meeting of the Association of Materials and Methods in Paleontology, and the new Oceans of Kansas Paleontology Prep Lab at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History was a featured attraction.

The College of Education continued partnering with area schools through Tiger Teacher Day, which annually provides opportunities for professional development in a setting where hundreds of teachers can share their talents and knowledge.

The first students in Cambodia graduated with degrees from FHSU in partnership with the American University of Phnom Penh. In China, we graduated over 800 students at Zhengzhou Sias University and almost 300 students at Shenyang Normal University.

The Kansas Academy of Mathematics had the largest graduating class in its history, with 42 students completing their high school degrees and 60 hours of college credit at the same time.

The Honors College recruited 42 students into the 2019 class, selected from the largest pool of applications ever.

Digital media and journalism students in the Department of Informatics brought home eight first-place and four second-place awards from the Kansas Association of Broadcasters.

Kaytee Wisley, Wichita senior majoring in political science, was selected as a Truman Scholarship finalist.

The women’s basketball team was the MIAA regular season champion and the MIAA Tournament champion and hosted the NCAA Central Regional Tournament, and Coach Tony Hobson set the university’s women’s basketball record for most career wins, 237-94.

Brett Meyer, Scott City senior, won the national championship in the 1,500 meters at the Outdoor NCAA II National Track Meet.

The FHSU Shooting Team was recognized in the Kansas Capitol for its fall 2018 Scholastic Clay Target Program College National Championship, and then won the Association of College Unions International Clay Target Championship in the spring, going undefeated in both seasons.

These amazing accomplishments — the collective efforts of all members of our community — are just a few of examples of how we work together to provide one of the best educational values in the nation.