A Letter from A.D. John Currie - March 25, 2016
Good Afternoon Wildcat Nation,
Earlier today President Kirk Schulz announced that he has accepted the position as President of Washington State University. I want to sincerely acknowledge my personal gratitude for the tremendous leader and friend he has been over the past seven years. The entire Schulz family – First Lady Noel and sons Tim and Andrew – have been wonderful advocates for K-State and have meant so much to all of the K-State Nation.
As I have said many times, Kansas State University has been blessed with tremendous stability in the presidential office. Almost no major universities have been as fortunate as us to have just two presidential leaders over a 30-year period. Dr. Wefald’s 23 years of leadership and advancement of the entire University community helped provide a great platform for President Schulz to build upon and spearhead one of the most outstanding 7-year periods in the history of the University. President Schulz’s tenure has been highlighted by the tremendous progress made toward the K-State 2025 plan of advancing K-State into the ranks of the top 50 public research universities, while the recent elevation to Tier 1 Carnegie Research University status is a true testament to his leadership.
Students on our campus have and will continue to benefit from transformational improvements and projects such as the new beautiful College of Business Administration building, engineering school expansion, Purple Masque Theatre, Berney Family Welcome Center, K-State Student Union and Seaton Complex for the College of Architecture, Planning and Design, among others, all thanks to record fundraising and unwavering support from K-Staters across the globe.
K-State has seen record enrollment year-in and year-out under Kirk's guidance, which includes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries, while we continue to be the No. 1 college choice for high school seniors in the state of Kansas. That academic proficiency also includes K-State Athletics' scholastic prowess which ranks among the best in the country. Five of our programs currently lead the Big 12 in APR including Coach Snyder’s football program which has led the league for two straight years.
Before I had ever visited Manhattan, in our conversations during my candidacy in April and May 2009, Kirk stressed to me his assessment that we needed to improve the experience for our great fans and that our athletics facilities desperately needed to be significantly upgraded. Seven years later, as he departs, we are finishing Phase IIIB of the Bill Snyder Family Stadium Master Plan, the latest in $210 million in athletic facilities improvements completed over the last several years benefitting all 16 of our intercollegiate athletics programs, we have experienced 27 consecutive sellouts in football and our men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and volleyball attendance ranks among the top 35 in the country.
From an athletics performance perspective, under the leadership of our tremendous group of head coaches, his tenure has seen arguably one of the greatest across-the-board 7-year periods in school history which has included Big 12 Conference championships in football, men’s basketball and baseball, eight individual NCAA titles in track and field, six straight bowl trips, five men’s basketball NCAA Tournament appearances, three in women’s basketball and four each in volleyball and baseball.
The financial stability of our department has also never been stronger. Thanks to the commitment and generosity of the Wildcat Family, K-State is annually one of the most financial solvent programs in the nation in addition to being one of only approximately 20 programs nationally to forego any direct or indirect support from the University as a source of revenue – which in turn has allowed us to build upon our goal of a World-Class Student-Athlete Experience.
Kansas State’s national profile has risen dramatically thanks to President Schulz’s tireless leadership, nurturing the Big 12 Conference and K-State through realignment crises in 2010 and 2011 and more recently as Chairman of the Big 12 Board and of course as the Chair of the NCAA Board of Governors.
My fellow AD colleagues and college athletics leaders around the country constantly comment to me how much they admire President Schulz and appreciate his leadership, and I want to congratulate Washington State AD Bill Moos. He has hit the AD presidential lottery!
But at the same time, I believe that just as Dr. Wefald’s elevation of the University helped enable Dr. Schulz to build upon that platform and lead K-State to even greater heights, our best days are still ahead of us here at Kansas State. We look forward to supporting the efforts of our interim leadership and the Kansas Board of Regents until a new president has been selected.
Thank you for all that you continue to do in support of all 450-plus of our student-athletes, and we look forward to seeing you at 6:30 p.m. tonight at Tointon Family Stadium for game two of a three-game Easter weekend Big 12 baseball series with Oklahoma State.
Also, best of luck to our equestrian program this weekend at the Big 12 Championships and women’s tennis who faces UMKC Saturday in Kansas City.