TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Kansas State University President Jon Wefald has announced his plans to retire at the end of the next academic year.
Wefald has been at the Manhattan campus since 1986. In that time, enrollment has grown from 16,000 students to more than 23,000 this year.
Among the accomplishments under his tenure include increasing private donations, boosting academic research grants and improving the campus infrastructure.
Kansas State is a member of the Big 12 Conference and has also improved its stature in both football and basketball standings in recent years.
Board of Regents spokesman Kip Peterson said the board will likely discuss the process of replacing Wefald when it meets Wednesday and Thursday. He said one option is to create a search committee to conduct a nationwide search through the remainder of the year.
Praise for Wefald was quick to come from K-State graduate, Senator Pat Roberts.
"I want to thank President Wefald for making Kansas State the
home of a top notch, competitive University with a brilliant future,"
Roberts said in a statement. "President Wefald and his wife Ruth Ann, the first Lady of Kansas State University, have been the driving force of
unprecedented progress; propelling Kansas State to national rankings,
and developing a unique community for learning, not to mention a great
athletic program. Go Cats!
"I am delighted to know that my long time and dear friends, Jon and Ruth Ann, will remain home in Manhattan. With one more year to go as
President, students, faculty and staff at Kansas State University still
have a lot to learn from Jon. I thank him for his unparalleled service
and dedication. He has been the leader and catalyst for the academic,
athletic and institutional miracle of growth and accomplishment at
Kansas State University."
Board of Regents Chairperson Christine Downey-Schmidt pointed to Wefald's leadership in growing enrollment and research funding.
“On behalf of the Kansas Board of Regents, I offer my sincerest gratitude to Jon Wefald for his 22 years of unparalleled leadership as
the President of Kansas State University. Jon, through his tremendous
vision and unrivaled determination, transformed K-State into the world
class educational institution that it is today," Downey-Schmidt said in a statement. "It’s safe to say that Kansas is a better place today because of Jon Wefald.”