Like he has done so many times in the past, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, joined an agricultural policy class at Kansas State University, surprising students.
This time, though, was different.
He came to the class, meeting via Zoom Wednesday, to honor the late Barry Flinchbaugh, who died earlier this month.
“Thank you for the honor that this presents me to join this class out of respect to Dr. Flinchbaugh,” Moran said to the class.
The class, Ag Econ 410, was preparing for an exam Wednesday. They listened to remarks from Moran, who wished them luck on their test.
Flinchbaugh never invited him to the class, Moran said. “I always just appeared,” he said. Moran would wear a K-State ball cap and sweatshirt.
“I would try to blend in with the students who are 50 years, 40 years younger than I am in hopes that I could entrap Barry Flinchbaugh in a conversation that he hadn’t expected,” Moran said.
Moran and Flinchbaugh had a jovial friendship.
“I am a great fan of Dr. Flinchbaugh,” Moran said.
They met first by phone when Moran was a state senator, a position he served in from 1989 to 1997.
Moran, who said he was nervous when he called, had a question about property taxes in the state’s funding mechanisms.
“And we became friends from that moment on,” Moran said.
Flinchbaugh had a passion for teaching, Moran said.
“I never met a professor, my own included, that cared more and loved their students more than Dr. Flinchbaugh did,” Moran said.
Flinchbaugh taught 49 years of the agriculture policy class before he died Nov. 2 at age 78.