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Letter from A.D. John Currie - January 21

It was a great K-State weekend with big basketball wins over Oklahoma and TCU, respectively, exciting record-breaking track performances in Ahearn Field House and a number of tennis victories for the Wildcat netters!

Today's holiday honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has special significance for K-State. As most K-Staters are aware, on January 19, 1968, Ahearn Field House was the site of Dr. King's last campus address prior to his assassination in Memphis.

Since arriving in Manhattan I've also learned that it was on the K-State football team that Harold Robinson in 1949 became the first African-American in the Big Seven Conference to receive an athletic scholarship, while Manhattan native Earl Woods, the late father of professional golfer Tiger Woods, later became the first African-American baseball player in the conference. Click here to read an excellent article from K-State's Division of Communication and Marketing about K-State's earliest African-American students.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, and K-State is proud to have the most diverse student population in our history as well as the highest African-American student population of any four-year institution in the state of Kansas.

K-State's Office of Multicultural Programs and Diversity, led by Dr. Myra Gordon, provides terrific leadership in building an inclusive campus climate that fosters mutual understanding among diverse groups. Click here for more information on the university's multicultural programs.

As our students return to campus in time tomorrow's first day of spring semester classes here are a few updates from around the department.

K-State Students Welcomed Inside the BTF Today - How Big Will the Check Be?
Bruce and Megan Weber may be writing a big check for Coaches vs. Cancer later today as Coach has challenged all K-State students to several contests inside the brand-new Basketball Training Facility as part of the 75 years of March Madness Shooting Competition. From 4-7 p.m. K-State students will be able shoot a series of shots with Coach Weber donating $1 to Coaches vs. Cancer for every student who attends the event. Students will have one chance to make a free throw, a 3-point field goal and a half-court shot to benefit the charity and Coach Weber will donate $10 for each made free throw, $25 for each made 3-pointer and $100 for each made half-court shot. If a student makes all three shots (free throw, 3-pointer and half-court shot), Coach Weber will donate $1,000 to the charity!

Early Big 12 Lead on the Line Tuesday Night in Bramlage
We appreciate the boisterous Bramlage crowd and basketball lettermen that cheered on the Cats to a big win over Lon Kruger's tough Oklahoma squad Saturday. Tomorrow night, Coach Weber and the Cats welcome the Jayhawks to Bramlage for a 7 p.m. match-up of the Big 12's 4-0 co-leaders and highest nationally-ranked teams. We expect Bramlage to be rocking tomorrow night and encourage our fans, including our awesome student section, to ensure our environment is the best it can be. Students are reminded that wristband pickup begins at 8 a.m. inside Bramlage for the 1,000 whose attendance qualified for the priority lineup and early entrance in tiers 1, 2 and 3. That leaves tier 4 entry seating for an additional 3,000 student pass-holders and based on the last several years we do not anticipate turning any students away from tomorrow night's game! We appreciate the student government leaders who have worked together with our Fan Experience staff to improve the system and ensure that students can make their first-day classes AND be able to get to Bramlage to support the Cats! Students with questions regarding the student priority points system should contact Adam Prough in the Fan Experience Office at (785) 532-6650.

Tuesday Coaches vs. Cancer Lunch with Coach Patterson and Coach Weber
Coaches Weber and Patterson will host "A Coach's Crusade" luncheon to benefit Coaches vs. Cancer at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Kansas State Alumni Center. Luncheon attendees will hear testimonies from both coaches on how cancer has affected their lives and what motivates them to coach and give back to their communities. Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, or NABC, which empowers all sports coaches, their teams and their local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

Once More Glance Back at the Fiesta Bowl Trip
Among the 40,000-plus members of the K-State Family who traveled to Arizona for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl were our awesome Pride of Wildcatland Band, Classy Cats and cheerleaders. I've received a number of wonderful notes from them over the last few weeks. Here is an excerpt from the note sent to me by Nathan Cottingham, a fifth-year senior band member:

"It sure means a lot to a simple trombone player from the Wichita area that the athletics department at a major university would be so willing to help get us to such a great game, so that we could have the honor and PRIDE of representing said university the best way that we know how. Thank you so much for your support."

We appreciate everyone that works to make K-State such a special and unique place! Thank you!

Kynard Recognized at Kansas Board of Regents Meeting
I had the privilege of accompanying Olympic silver medalist Erik Kynard to Topeka last week as he was introduced at January's Kansas Board of Regents meeting. We are so proud of what Erik has accomplished and how he has represented K-State and are even more proud that he has returned to school to finish his degree and continue his athletic career as a Wildcat. Click here for a full recap of our visit to Topeka. This past weekend Erik cleared 7-06.00 to set an NCAA standard and meet record - good luck to Erik and the rest of the track team this weekend as they travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Bill Bergen Invitational.

Lehning to Receive HOF Honor
Former Wildcat women's basketball superstar and current assistant coach Shalee Lehning will be recognized prior to our February 2 game against KU as a member of the Kansas State High School Activities Association's (KSHSAA) 2013 Hall of Fame Class. Congrats to Shalee - click here for the full release.

Upcoming Events
Wednesday night Coach Patterson's women's basketball team returns to Bramlage for a Big 12 tilt vs. Oklahoma State tipping off at 7 p.m. Later this week Coach Rovelto and our nationally-ranked track squads will take a strong contingent to Ames, Iowa, while Coach Bietau and the tennis team will travel to Boston this weekend and battle William and Mary and Harvard. Good luck to all of our teams in action this weekend!

Let's pack Bramlage tomorrow night with purple as we take on the Jayhawks!

Go Cats!


John Currie