FHSU’s Long Term President to Retire June 2014By Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Dr.Edward Hammond, the long term Fort Hays State University president since 1987 will be retiring at the end of his contract period next June. Hammond, who led the university for nearly three decades, is the longest-serving current president or chancellor in the Kansas university system.
While announcing his retirement, Hamond said in a statement, "There is no other place I would rather be than Fort Hays State. We are blessed to have a tremendous faculty, tremendous staff, and an outstanding leadership team here at Fort Hays State University."
Describing his 27-year tenure as president of FHSU, Hammond said that it was the most challenging and rewarding phase of his 48-year career as an instructor.
"It is a tremendous privilege and one that continually energizes me," Hammond said in an official statement.
Hammond feels content to have made FHSU "more vibrant, more accessible and more global." He ended his announcement speech by thanking FHSU's appreciation, support and friendship.
"I'm in great health. The university is in a good place. It is just the right time, Hammond told Kansas City. "I feel like I am on top of my game...my dad told me that that was the time that you should step down. I know it is in the university's best interest to begin the transition to new leadership," Hammonds said of the reasons behind his resignation next June.
"The bottom line is one of the major challenges we face in higher education is transition from one leadership to another and one of the real arts of leadership is helping with that transition and I love this institution so much I want to make sure that this transition works as best as it can, in the optimum way."
Regents Chairman Fred Logan described Hammond as "an innovator in higher education. It's a day to celebrate his marvelous leadership and what a wonderful institution that he has helped to create here through his entrepreneurial leadership."
"He anticipated the importance of online education when others in higher education dismissed it," Logan told CJ Online. "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."
The campus community was shocked to learn the news.
"I didn't see it coming. From what I know about him, he's done a great job. It will be interesting to see who steps in to fill his shoes," said Jonathan Inman, Branson, Mo. sophomore in a statement.
The departing president's 27 year tenure at FHSU saw many achievements:
- In the first year of his tenure, Hammond introduced Western Kansas Education Compact to support collaborations between the university and two-year community colleges in western Kansas.
- The enrolment increased from 5,700 to 13,400 after Hammond took over the presidency.
- In 1997, he helped establish Virtual College to offer online courses, and nearly 5,400 students have been enrolled so far.
- In 2000, the university partnered with a Chinese university to offer courses. Currently, it serves around 3,300 students at two of its campuses.
- The university is also credited for hiking tuition fee by minimal amounts. Tuition and fees for this fall's semester for a full-time undergraduate student from Kansas is 22 percent lower than any other state university.
- During Hammond's tenure, many important campus buildings were renovated. A new training facility on campus and the Center for Networked Learning were recently constructed.
- The installation of a new electrical distribution system and two wind turbines helped reduce the university's energy consumption. Around $1 million in savings is estimated annually.
- The Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science at FHSU allow high school juniors to learn college-level courses. These students graduate high school with an associate degree.
- FHSU became the first university in Kansas or Missouri to launch Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs).