(Topeka, Kansas) - Regent Fred Logan of Leawood, Chair of the Kansas Board of Regents, issued the following statement regarding today’s announcement that Dr. Edward Hammond will retire as President of Fort Hays State University on June 30, 2014, the end of the current fiscal year:
“Dr. Ed Hammond has been an innovator in higher education. He anticipated the importance of online education when others in higher education dismissed it. He forged relationships with higher education institutions in China before anyone even dreamed that could be possible. Dr. Hammond’s leadership has put Fort Hays State University on the international higher education map.
When Dr. Hammond approached the Board of Regents to initiate a discussion about his retirement more than a year ago, we were saddened. However, we knew that he would assist in a transition to a new president. That is why the Board in November will formally ask Dr. Hammond to serve for one year as a consultant to the new president following his retirement. Fort Hays State University has unique assets in both its Virtual College and in its relationships in China and we want Dr. Hammond to assist the new president to make sure those assets remain strong.
Fort Hays State University is critical to the future of western Kansas and to the entire state. The Board of Regents will hire a new leader for Fort Hays State who can build on the strong platform established by Dr. Hammond and take the university in new and exciting directions.”
Dr. Hammond has announced that he and his wife, Mary, plan to remain in Ellis County upon retirement, stating: “Leading FHSU has been the most challenging and rewarding work of my 48-year career. It is a tremendous privilege and one that continually energizes me. I am extremely proud of the work we have done together to make Fort Hays more vibrant, more accessible, and more global. I fully anticipate the next 8 months will be like my previous 27 years – very busy. I have often said that I have the best job in higher education and I look forward to continue to work with faculty, students, staff and alumni to continue to make our University great.”
First arriving at Fort Hays State University in 1987, Dr. Hammond is the longest-serving president in the Kansas Board of Regents system. In his inaugural academic year, he led the creation of the Western Kansas Education Compact to enhance cooperation among Fort Hays State University and the community colleges of western Kansas. He has overseen numerous physical plant improvements, including renovations to ten key campus buildings and the recent construction of both the Schmidt-Bickle Indoor Training facility and the Center for Networked Learning. Installation of a new electrical distribution system and the construction of two Vestas wind turbines have dramatically transformed the university’s energy consumption, with projected savings now approaching $1 million annually. However changing the way education is delivered may have been Dr. Hammond’s most lasting legacy, with the creation of the Virtual College in 1997, partnerships with universities in China now educating 3,400 students annually, housing the statewide Kansas Small Business Development Center, the worldwide Super Dual Auroral Radar Network, and the Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science, among other noteworthy accomplishments.
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