SE: Going Above and Beyond: Bob and Betty Tointon

On Monday, K-State Sports Extra introduced its readers to Kansas State University’s newest campaign, “Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for K-State.” With the goal of raising $1 billion to help advance the university, this campaign will help drive progress toward K-State’s strategic vision to become a Top 50 public research university by 2025.

K-State Athletics and the KSU Foundation have partnered to share the stories of a few of the campaign’s most generous K-Staters who are committed to supporting K-State through both academics and athletics. Stay tuned every Thursday for the next few weeks to learn more about this passionate group of Wildcats. 

K-State will always hold a very special place in Bob and Betty Tointon’s hearts. 

As seniors at K-State, Bob studied engineering and Betty home economics. Once the two met in the fall of 1954, they were simply inseparable. 

“We met the beginning of our senior year,” explained Bob as he glanced at Betty who was cheering on the Wildcat baseball team in the stadium that dons their name. “I was starting a new political party on campus, and in those days, there was about three male students to every one female. We had ample male candidates but we were short on female candidates, so I put the word out that I was looking for someone as a candidate for secretary of the senior class.” 

Bob was running for Senior Class President, so he was the one who got to select his campaign’s secretary. 

“Betty’s name just kept coming up,” he said flashing a smile. “I hadn’t met her, so I arranged for an interview with her. In short, she passed the interview and ran for secretary of the senior class and was elected. We started dating during that campaign.” 

And the rest is history. 

Since their time as students in the Little Apple, the Tointon family has made an incredible impact on Kansas State University. 

The Tointon’s long support of K-State includes establishing endowed faculty chairs and student scholarships in the College of Engineering and the College of Human Ecology, supporting the College of Human Ecology's Ruth Hoeflin Stone House Center, investing in facility enhancements for both academics and athletics, and contributing to the K-State Alumni Association and the Alumni Center. 

Bob and Betty have both served on the KSU Foundation’s board of directors and have also served as chairs of the Rocky Mountain region of the university's "Changing Lives" capital campaign. They’ve been recipients of multiple honors, including the President’s Medal of Excellence and the Kansas State University Advancement Award, are both lifetime members of the K-State Alumni Association and have been active members of the KSU Foundation Presidents Club since 1988. 

In 2002, K-State’s baseball stadium was named Tointon Family Stadium in recognition of their generosity to the university. 

“K-State will always be a special place for us,” said Bob. “It’s where we met and we have fond memories from here. K-State kind of gave us the boost that we needed to get to where we are.” 

Bob, a member of the K-State Engineering Hall of Fame, earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from K-State in 1955 and began his career as a project engineering for Eby Construction. He then joined Hensel Phelps Construction Company, rising to the rank of president of the large Colorado-based company in 1975. In 1989, he formed Phelps-Tointon, which owns and operates companies engaged in construction and real estate. 

He is a trustee emeritus of the Kansas State University Foundation and a member of the Colorado Business Hall of Fame; he received the Bravo 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award; the Associated General Contractors of Colorado SIR Award; and a doctor of human letters from the University of Northern Colorado, where the Tointons have established the Tointon Institute for Educational Change. The institute has provided leadership training and academies for school administrators throughout the state of Colorado for more than 20 years. 

“K-State was a door opener, and it helped me get that first job,” explained Bob. “I was active in extra curricular activities when I was here, and I felt the experience that I gained there was very helpful in just learning how to make things happen.” 

Betty earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from K-State in 1955. She owned an antique store in the couple’s home town of Greeley, Colorado, for 20-plus years and is active in renewal and preservation efforts in downtown Greeley, as well as other community activities. She has served on the board of directors of the K-State Alumni Association and was a member of the executive committee of the Kansas State University Foundation. In addition, she has been drive chair of the United Way and received the United Way Humanitarian Award; she was a co-founder of the Weld County Women's Fund endowment and was honored as Business Woman of the Year by A Woman's Place, Inc. 

“I met my husband here so that’s very special, but I get a warm feeling when we come back and see these people we know,” said Betty on the couple’s most recent visit back to Manhattan. “It really is a treat to come back. K-State is such a friendly place; it always feels so good being here.” 

Nearly 61 years after their graduation from the university, Bob and Betty’s passion for K-State has never waned. Whether it’s attending baseball games in Tointon Family Stadium, visiting old Wildcat friends or simply spending time on campus where it all began, the K-State Athletics Hall of Famers will forever hold their alma mater dear to their hearts.

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way.Contact Kelly McHugh-Stewart, or K-State Associate AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.