Regents approve naming planned residence hall for former president

By Bethany Knipp

A planned residence hall has been named for former Kansas State University President Jon Wefald.

Wefald Hall, a new dormitory open in August 2016, honors the university’s 12th president, who served from 1986 to 2009.

Current K-State President Kirk Schulz went to the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday to ask for approval of the name.

The regents voted unanimously in favor of it, commending Wefald.

“This is a transformational hall, which is pretty neat, for a transformational guy,” Regent Ed McKechnie said.

Wefald told The Mercury on Thursday that Schulz had called him Wednesday morning to tell him the news.

“I’m just thrilled,” Wefald said. “I’m just honored, and I’m really grateful to Kirk for doing this. I would say it’s a thrill of a lifetime.”

He said the naming is really about the team of administrators he worked with during his 23-year presidency, which includes former vice president Bob Krause and football coach Bill Snyder.

“I’d like to think that this is an honor for everybody who worked hand and glove with me for 23 years to propel K-State into a new era of excellence,” Wefald said. He said Schulz is continuing that excellence.

Schulz listed some of Wefald’s accomplishments at the regents meeting.

“Under his presidency the university added more than 2.2 million square feet of space, philanthropy increased from $6 million a year to nearly $100 million a year,” Shulz said. “Research funding grew from $18 million to $110 million and enrollment — which is one of the things that Jon talked a lot about frequently and all the time — grew from 16,000 students when he started as president to over 23,000 when he retired in 2009.”

The residence hall will be an eight-floor, 129,000-square-foot building that will house 540 students with additional apartments for staff.

It will be the first residence hall built on the university’s main campus since Haymaker Hall in 1967.

The new residence hall will be in the Kramer Complex on Claflin Road. Site preparation will begin by the end of June, with construction starting in September.

Regents Chair Fred Logan also commended Wefald and the decision of Schulz to name of the residence hall after him.

“I think if you look at higher education in Kansas he was, it’s fair to say, a historic figure. He was a historic president,” Logan said.

Wefald said his love for K-State and its people runs deep.

“Being president of K-State for 23 years, you love Kansas State,” he said. “Gets in your blood.”

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