Office of the Dean
Dear K-State Salina family,
What a great summer it’s been so far and yet, it’s already halfway over! Even though the academic year has slowed down, K-State Salina certainly has not, which is why time continues to fly. With the campus a little quieter, many of my summer days have been focused on connecting with donors, alumni and community partners as well as traveling to a variety of conferences and businesses. I cherish this time because it means I get the opportunity to talk about the exciting direction K-State Salina is going, and the positive feedback has been tremendous.
I am extremely encouraged by the level of support for K-State Salina coming out of the Wichita area. On June 4-5, President Schulz, our director of development, Amy Cole, and I met with leaders from Yingling Aviation and Learjet as well as with a few of our graduates. We had promising conversations about developing partnerships that continue to put our students first. Also in Wichita, Dr. Kurt Barnhart, K-State Salina’s newly appointed associate dean of research and engagement, and I toured the National Institute for Aviation Research. Even though it was a great opportunity for me to check out their facilities, it was an even greater chance to build a solid relationship that fits right into our university’s 2025 goal.
Back in Salina, I was not only inspired to meet with so many community members who are invested in the university’s future, but I also had the pleasure of hosting one of our most faithful supporters on campus. Jan Burton has been a cheerleader for our aviation program for many years, and every time she is in town from Colorado it is a joy to show her how her contributions are making a difference.
Jan is also a valued K-State Foundation board member; a position that I think is perfect for her given her devotion to this university. On June 19, I traveled to Manhattan for a K-State Foundation dinner, that Jan was also a part of, and was able to have supportive discussions with other board members about the growth and development of our campus. But of course the best way to see our continuing achievements is to experience them in person. So another group from Manhattan, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, spent the day at K-State Salina in early June touring the facilities, interacting with students and sharing ideas. Many had not been on our campus for years, and the trip left them inspired by our productivity.
Another strong networking opportunity for the university was found in Montreal, Quebec. At the beginning of the month I traveled north to attend the Institute of Industrial Engineers conference and expo. Since my background is in industrial engineering, it was so exciting to reunite with colleagues who share the same passion and interests. And with our campus’ engineering technology program, I was able to gather a variety of different ideas and make some beneficial connections.
One of my favorite moments from the month of June had nothing to do with trips or meetings or official business. I was asked by the director of the Upward Bound program at K-State Salina to speak to the graduating class at the Celebration of Seniors dinner at Martinelli’s. It was such an honor to stand before a group of kids who have put such dedication into their education. It was a proud moment for me that I’ll never forget.
Finally, on a bittersweet note, K-State Salina staff member Jaci Walsh is retiring after 14 years of service on our campus. This university is truly grateful for her many contributions and she will be missed. K-State Salina wishes her days filled with relaxation, adventure and pure enjoyment.
I hope you all have a safe and fun Independence Day, and have the chance to enjoy the rest of the summer. Take time to make a few memories.
Verna M. Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
CEO, Kansas State University Salina
Dean, College of Technology and Aviation