K-State's Passionate Family Steps Up for Student-Athletes

Funded completely by faithful K-State donors, the Vanier Football Complex is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2015 football season. 
With twice as much Academic Learning Center space and a massive new Strength and Conditioning Center planned for the use of all K-State's 450 student-athletes, the current two-story building is about to grow into a four-story complex. 
Exciting and new on the inside, the Vanier Football Complex project will also enhance the North End Zone experience in Bill Snyder Family Stadium with a newly enclosed seating bowl. Improving the grass roots family seating experience and bringing an even louder, more intimidating atmosphere to each and every game day, starting next season, the Wildcats will experience home field advantage like never before.
The total budget for the new Vanier Football Complex is projected at $69 million including all equipment and technology. With a milestone of more than $47 million in gifts and pledges already raised towards the project, K-State Athletics is working hard to reach its goal of $50 million dollars in philanthropic support for the Vanier Football Complex.
Sports Extra will take the next several weeks highlighting those who have made lead gifts toward this transformational project. The past two Fridays, K-State Sports Extra has highlighted a few of the Vanier Football Complex's leading donors. To read their stories, you can click here.
Today's story will highlight the Keller, Ryan and Hunt families along with Steel and Pipe Supply Co. 
Bill and Cindy Keller, along with their three children, Mandy Funk and John Keller, both K-State graduates, and Sarah Keller, are longtime supporters of K-State Athletics and the Ahearn Fund.
"The desire and actions to support K-State and K-State Athletics come from a long tradition in our family. My dad was a varsity wrestler on scholarship at K-State, and my mom lived in a scholarship house. Dad always told us that he would not have been accepted into veterinary school and would not have graduated from veterinary school without the financial aid from K-State and the help and guidance of his wrestling coach," explained Bill. "Both of my parents had a great feeling of loyalty and love for K-State, and they wanted to help repay K-State in whatever way they could for the great influence that K-State had in their lives. 
"My wife, Cindy, and I have the same beliefs as my parents. We want to support K-State as a way to repay K-State for the value it has provided to our immediate and extended family, and we think that K-State serves many of the most important needs of the State of Kansas and beyond, making K-State a great institution deserving of our support."
Bill received his undergraduate degree in 1972 from the College of Arts & Sciences and then went on to earn his juris doctorate at the University of Kansas. The couple resides in Pratt, Kansas, where Bill is the President and CEO of Stanion Wholesale Electric. They are also the proud grandparents of two granddaughters and one grandson.
The Keller family enjoys seeing student-athletes from every athletic team at K-State show an understanding and appreciation of the experience they have and the values they develop - things they will carry with them for their entire lives.
K-State Athletics means quality time with family and friends, according to Bill and Martin Ryan (K-State 1984).  Their best memories are the many opportunities to get together at football and basketball games.  
"We have enjoyed these programs for many years," said Bill.  "We feel that it is our time to step up to the plate to help K-State Athletics continue to compete at the highest level."
Martin and his wife, Deb, are both graduates of Kansas State University. Martin received his degree in 1984 from the College of Arts & Sciences where he majored in Geology while Deb graduated in 1985 from the College of Human Ecology with a degree in Interior Design. Dianne Ryan, Bill's wife, is also a graduate of Kansas State and received a degree in Family & Child Development from the College of Human Ecology in 1972. 
"The Vanier Football Complex is another piece of the puzzle to create that legacy for future generations," concluded Bill.
Rita and Lamar Hunt, Jr., are proud to be part of the Wildcat family and happy to support the Vanier Football Complex. 
"K-State participates in many Division I sports programs and needs to have comparable facilities that other universities may already possess," said Lamar. "The football program makes it possible for all of the other programs to thrive because it is such a strong and recognized program. The complex will allow student-athletes to balance their college careers around their passion, football, and their obligation to be a student first and foremost." 
Rita has a true love for K-State, as she graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences with a degree in social work in 1975. Lamar is the founder of Loretto Properties, LLC, a real estate investment company specializing in the operation and management of residential properties, as well as Loretto Charities, a private charitable organization. Lamar graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree and later completed a Master of the Arts degree in counseling at Dallas Baptist University. 
Rita and Lamar reside in Leawood, Kansas, and are the proud parents of nine children and five grandchildren.  
Steel & Pipe Supply, Co., Inc., a Midwest steel distribution and manufacturing company, has experienced tremendous growth staying focused on building lasting relationships with its customers by exceeding their expectation for service. 
"We are an unusual company with our headquarters here in Manhattan and nine operating facilities away from Manhattan," explained Dennis Mullin, Chairman and CEO of Steel & Pipe Co., Inc. "The main reason we have our headquarters here is because of the quality of employees we are able to attract. K-State is the main reason we are able to attract and maintain these quality employees. Both K-State and K-State Athletics adds a quality of life for our employees that would be hard to duplicate elsewhere."
Founded in Manhattan 81 years ago, the company shares a unique relationship with K-State Athletics and believes supporting the department is an effective way of supporting the community and the university at the same time.
"First class facilities are so important in recruiting quality athletes and staff to K-State," continued Dennis. "I know that to be able to maintain a first class program we have to have great facilities like the Vanier Complex." 
The Vanier Football Complex will be funded completely by private capital gift donations and additional athletics department revenue to ensure fiscal responsibility is maintained. For those wanting to get involved or support the Vanier Football Complex project, the best way to do so is to join the Ahearn Fund, K-State's National Fund for Student-Athlete Excellence. The Ahearn Fund not only supports scholarships for our 458 student-athletes, but also provides critical funding in areas such as sports medicine and academics, as well as capital for this transformational facility. To support this project and K-State's student-athletes please click here.