The chronicler of K-State

How Tim Lindemuth came to appreciate Kansas

By Bryan Richardson

Tim Lindemuth has been a constant media presence for K-State since the latter part of 1970s. That will change on noon Friday, June 29 when Lindemuth retires as K-Stater editor, the “dream job” he’s held since 1993.

Completing 83 magazines during his time as editor, Lindemuth said he feels like he’s been the “eyes and ears for K-State alumni” ranging from recent graduates to alumni as old as 100 years old. “I’m trying to keep that spirit and love alive for K-State,” he said.

Lindemuth, whose 37-year career includes two years as a graduate teaching assistant in journalism and working in K-State’s news division from 1977 to 1993, said it will be bittersweet when the moment finally arrives.

“I know probably a lot of tears will be shed,” he said. “I’m a real softy.”

Lindemuth has come to love Manhattan and K-State, but he would’ve never come to Kansas if he had it his way. He also would have been a math teacher. He earned his bachelor’s in mathematics from Potsdam College in New York.

Lindemuth, who grew up in New York, said the military changed things for him. “Before the (1969) Vietnam (War draft) lottery, I was planning to be a high school math teacher,” he said. “The Army turned me into a journalist.”

Ping-Pong balls containing a date of birth – month and date – were selected, with the draftees being listed based on the order of the ball selections.

December 7, Lindemuth’s birthday, was the 12th ball selected. “That pretty much meant I was bye-bye,” he said. “I was going into the service.”

He was stationed at Ft. Riley in the early 1970s. One of the first things he noticed was the lack of trees. He said he became used to the “endless miles of forest” where he grew up.

Lindemuth’s desire to become a journalist came down to one crucial realization: he didn’t like his assigned job. Due to his mathematics degree, Lindemuth was originally supposed to be a payroll clerk. “That does not appeal to me as all,” he said.

What he did appeal to him was journalism, something he had some experience in as editor of his high school yearbook as a junior and senior. “They said, ‘What can you do?’” Lindemuth recalls. “I said ‘How about journalism?’”

The decision led to him getting his master’s in journalism from K-State in 1977.

Lindemuth said he has two mentors he’s looked up to during his career: the late Carl Rochat, editor for his first seven years with K-State news, and Amy Renz, president/CEO of the K-State Alumni Association.

Lindemuth said Rochat helped him as a journalist and young professional coming out of college. “He was so patient and so fair,” he said. “He shared so much information with me.”

He said he has found somebody to emulate in Renz when it comes to professionalism. “She is probably one of the most incredible administrators I’ve ever worked with.”

In addition to working with those two, Lindemuth said 30-plus years of journalism have provided him a “lifetime of memories.”

Stories like Shirley Temple Black signing his reporter’s notepad, which he still has in his office, during her visit as a Landon Lecture speaker. Events like covering the flood of 1993 when it rained almost every day for two months during his second issue.

One of his memorable stories included a profile on a Russian dissident who was expelled from the Soviet Union. The agronomy department professor spoke for hours, saying he faced constant surveillance as a professor include search through his apartment by the KGB. “It was a fascinating interview,” he said. “I will never forget that interview.”

His K-Stater stories came from an extensive process that starts every February with Lindemuth conducting about 30 interviews with various university officials. He said he gets 400 to 500 story ideas and whittles them down with his staff.

“I always knew I couldn’t edit the K-Stater magazine sitting from my desk,” he said. “You have to get out the office and talk to people to find out what’s going on.”

Once retired, Lindemuth will still find a way to stay active and engaged in the community. He said he plans to open Moorehouse Bed and Breakfast on Aug. 21, utilizing his home on Denison Avenue. “I like to stay plugged in to K-State if I can,” he said.

Lindemuth will probably also be found riding his bicycle, which he has done in numerous long-distance races. He said he has accumulated 11,000 miles on his bicycles. “Not too shabby for a 62 year old,” he said.

He has participated in Bike Across Kansas seven times. About 550 miles is covered, giving Lindemuth a chance to see plenty of the state. Lindemuth has gone from missing his former forest surroundings upon arriving in Kansas to now seeing “a lot of character across Kansas” as he rides.

“It grew on me,” he said. “I love Kansas. I have no desire to ever move back to New York.”

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