A makeover in the Home of Hornet Nation

“So many things are happening adjacent to the university that you might be shocked while taking a walking tour of the area,” admits Casey Woods, executive director of Emporia Main Street.

Downtown dining options have expanded in the past few years, repurposing once-popular hangouts like the former Heidelberg/Babe’s into the Scoreboard Sports Bar and Grill.

“We now have Radius Brewing Company that will fly in shark from the Hawaiian Islands, as well as beer from what’s accepted as one of the best microbreweries in Kansas,” Woods offered, also noting that Emporia’s Bobby D’s restaurant found its way onto an episode of the Discovery Network’s BBQ Pitmasters show.

“And Casa Ramos was so popular in its old location that they expanded into the former Strand Theater at 707 Commercial,” he said. Other recent expansions include Sweet Granada, which moved its chocolate café one door south of its former location to create more production space.

“While Bruff’s (a popular bar and restaurant that burned in 2004 and relocated near 18th and Industrial) is no longer downtown like some people may remember, we have a craft beer facility, Mulready’s, that was featured on the Discovery Channel,” said Woods.

“People from Kansas City and Wichita say they wish they had something of this quality in their towns.”

“Twenty years ago, we didn’t have a Granada Theatre that was functional, we didn’t have an Arts Center, and we didn’t have a lot of the buildings that you see within the downtown area that have been rehabilitated,” Woods continued, adding construction of the new Granada Plaza and Lofts and Kellogg Plaza and Lofts to a growing list of features creating an enticing view in Emporia’s central business district.

Mulready's Store Front

“We have an opportunity to create many unique businesses because of our location in the center of the Kansas population base. There’s lots of room for unique dining, arts, crafts businesses, gift shops, clothing and entertainment options that will also draw people from larger areas.”

Indeed, Emporia’s downtown is morphing into an eclectic mix of unique retail stores, coffee shops, athletic specialty outfitters, professional services and residential opportunities.

It’s an old maxim—give the people what they want. And in Emporia’s case, the adage seems to be working well.

The Teachers College Debuts Hornet Connected Learning

New Tools, Enhanced Goals

When the morning bell rings to start classes in elementary, middle and high schools across Kansas, more and more students are reaching for electronic devices instead of textbooks. Beginning this fall, graduates of Emporia State University’s elementary education program will be better prepared to teach in technologically advanced classrooms.

In August, sophomores, juniors and first-semester seniors majoring in elementary education will bring iPads to classes, using them for assignments in much the same way their future students already do. At the same time, college students will learn to teach with the devices allowing them to serve their students better when they become professional educators.

The program, called Hornet Connected Learning, is being implemented in all elementary education programs connected with The Teachers College. In the Kansas City area this includes the partnerships with Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College.

“Technology is a productivity tool that strengthens critical thinking, creativity, information literacy and working with others in a collaborative environment,” said Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College at Emporia State University, explaining that 103 school districts in Kansas have launched programs called “one-to-one initiatives” in which some or all of their elementary, middle and high school students have their own computer or tablet during the school day and at home in the evening.

The Teachers College at Emporia State has a long history as one of the nation’s model teacher preparation programs. As part of this legacy, the college continually adapts coursework to incorporate innovation in technology and instruction—which includes the increasing use of mobile devices in the classroom.

“Through Hornet Connected Learning, The Teachers College is continuing its tradition as a forerunner in the transformation of educational practice,” said Weaver.

Ostrich ranch plan nets cash for entrepreneurs

It’s been quite a journey for two students from Emporia State University who took their business plan to the first-ever Kansas Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Nakita Elwood, a junior sociology major from Madison, and Teri Whitson, a senior accounting student from Emporia, first pitched their Rock Creek Ostrich Ranch idea to judges in the Dream It–Design It–Develop It contest at Emporia State University in early April.

Abbreviated to 3D Emporia, the contest recognized the entrepreneurial spirit and risks that individuals take when building a business and creating their future.

Nikita Elwood's 1st place prize at 3D Emporia

Elwood’s and Whitson’s project aims to meet the growing demand for an alternative red meat, while providing good stewardship of natural resources. The ranch currently maintains 300 acres of land near Madison.

It won the eye of the 3D Emporia judges, along with a $4,000 grand prize.

Ten days later, the team was one of the top three teams from the 3D Emporia competition traveling to Manhattan to go head-to-head against students from Kansas State University.

The ostrich ranch project placed second overall in that competition, winning Elwood and Whitson another $1,000 for their business, currently in its seed stage.

“While we are so thankful for the monetary rewards we have received, there is no way to put a value on the knowledge, experience, confidence and networking opportunities this competition has provided,” said Whitson.

“We were really excited about the opportunity to compete against Kansas State students. Since they have an entrepreneurship center and degree program, we knew they’d be tough competitors,” said Elwood. “I’m really proud of how all of our teams competed and am so grateful for the experience.”

Dr. Kristie Ogilvie, dean of Emporia State’s School of Business, explained: “The Kansas Entrepreneurial Challenge was an academically value-added opportunity for our students. I cannot thank enough the faculty, staff, and community members who were supportive of this competition and in turn gave our students such a remarkable experience.”

Learning to Lead

2014 Spring Commencement

It wasn’t the speech that Emporia State’s Class of 2014 may have expected from its commencement speaker. But the message Ed O’Malley delivered could not have been more on-point:

We need you—the graduates—to lead. Now.

— Ed O’Malley

“We need you—the graduates—to lead. Now. Not at the end of your professional career, when you have the cushy corner office. Not a generation from now, when your children are here on the floor and you’re in the stands and you claim to finally have the time to lead. Not even five years from now, not next year, but now.”

O’Malley is president and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center, a Wichita-based organization that develops and enhances programs to encourage

leadership development across the state. The KLC’s road map to leadership recognizes five basic principles that teach leadership is an activity, not a position; anyone can lead; it starts with you and must engage others; your purpose must be clear; and it is risky.

By weaving these same teachings throughout its curriculum, Emporia State graduates will enter the workforce prepared to lead for the common good of their organizations, communities and families.

Emporia State is creating a culture that builds the capacity to make more progress toward the common good through incorporating leadership in its learning environment, O’Malley said.

“Teaching leadership is not just a way for your alma mater to remain competitive in an ever-changing higher education marketplace. The big picture goal is to make Emporia State—and Kansas—better through you.”

Ed O'Malley's Commencement Address

Forward-thinking strategic and facilities plans

  • An inviting, exciting place for students to learn.
  • A model residential campus.
  • An institution engaged with the community.
  • The most vital economic engine for the community and region.
  • A modern, comfortable place that's active and alive, featuring signature academic services and easily accessible sutdent support.

Quite a tall order, don’t you think? Those five points, however, are the marching orders for Emporia State’s new facilities master plan, a blueprint for exciting changes to the university’s physical structure.

“Part of what we are trying to do with the master plan is create new, more describable, recognizable front doors for the campus,” said Dennis Strait, a principal with Gould Evans, the plan’s author.

Creating a new central entrance off Merchant Street will draw visitors through the heart of the campus, passing unique features like Wooster Lake and Welch Stadium. “We want to celebrate the origins of the campus and brag about the lake as a unique amenity,” said Strait.

The plan also includes re-engaging downtown Emporia with a “Black and Gold” district in the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Commercial Street, where public and private partnerships would include retail opportunities and student housing.

Many of the recommendations in the master plan domino off of one another. Slated as immediate needs include renovating King Hall and moving the art annex, moving the maintenance area and building additional residential housing close to Wooster Lake, building a natatorium, creating the north entry, and demolishing the North/Northeast section of Morse Hall.

Travelers on Interstate 35 will see improvements to the north end of the campus. In fact, some of those changes are already underway.

“We’re seeing some curb work being done on Highland Street. There will eventually be a new tree-lined entrance to the campus community reflecting the beauty of the Flint Hills,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, Emporia State’s president.

Three honored for volunteer service

Don Hill, Gail Milton, and George Milton recieve recognition for their work

Emporia State University honored its volunteers for a combined total of more than 5,000 hours of service during its 2014 Volunteer Appreciation program in June.

Three Emporia residents received special honors as recipients of the 2014 University Service Citation.

Don Hill, a retired pharmacy owner, has represented the Emporia area in the State House of Representatives since 2003. “Representative Hill has consistently supported and promoted Emporia State University in the Kansas Legislature,” said Vern Swanson, one of Hill’s Statehouse colleagues, in nominating Hill for the award.

“I am hard pressed to find such an active supporter of Emporia State University and higher education,” wrote former Emporia State student government president Jonathan Krueger in supporting Hill’s nomination.

“Not only does Don serve the state, he has a lengthy record of community involvement,” said Dr. Michael D. Shonrock, president.

Gail and George Milton have been a presence in the Emporia community since the late 1960s, when George was hired as the men’s and women’s tennis coach and a faculty member in physical education. Gail Milton served as a part-time instructor in the English department and later worked as an arts promotion professional with the Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Over the years, the couple’s promotion of tennis for youngsters and the young-at-heart “symbolized the talents and a passion that brought the Miltons to ESU, but which were then shared with the larger community,” wrote Dr. DeWayne Backhus in nominating the couple.

Among the Miltons’ recent efforts is the Flint Hills Piano Project, repurposing brightly decorated pianos for access to the public on the sidewalks of storefronts along Emporia’s Commercial Street business district. “They bring a presence of the arts to the public, inspire spontaneous performances by individuals, and surely catch the attention of visitors,” wrote Backhus.

George and Gail Milton Interview

Don Hill Interview

New Honors College

A significant funding allocation and creation of a key administrative position means the dream of an Honors College at Emporia State University is becoming reality.

The education funding bill passed by the Kansas Legislature and signed by Gov. Sam Brownback includes $1 million a year to move Emporia State University’s honors program to an Honors College.

“With the support of the Regents, Governor Brownback and the Legislature, we have the resources to make it a reality. Great things are happening at Emporia State, and we expect the Honors College to help us continue that trend,” said Dr. David P. Cordle, Emporia State provost and vice president for academic affairs. Cordle named Dr. Gary Wyatt to a one- year appointment in a new position—associate provost and director of the Honors College.

“This is an opportunity to create something substantial and extraordinary, something that will change lives for many years to come, and I’m so honored to be able to be a part of it,” Wyatt said.

Both Cordle and Wyatt see game-changing potential in the new Honors College:

  • One-to-one mentoring of students by faculty
  • Unique living arrangements for honors students
  • Travel for off-campus learning experiences
  • Additional scholarships for high-achieving students
  • Incorporating leadership skills and opportunities into programming

“With our experience with the Kansas Leadership Center,” Wyatt explained, “we can use the Honors College as a major vehicle for training adaptive leaders.”

Some enhancements will take effect for fall 2014 with full implementation planned for fall 2015.

Now & Forever gifts raise the bar

DeWayne and Sherry Blackhus gift a large sum to Emporia State

DeWayne and Sherry Backhus offer an eloquent phrase, considered anonymous, to describe the spirit of philanthropy driving their seven-figure planned gift to Emporia State University: “We have been warmed by fires we did not build; we have drunk from wells we did not dig.”

The DeWayne and Sherry Backhus Physical Sciences Fund supports graduate assistantships for students seeking advanced degrees in chemistry, earth science, physics or physical science education. It will also provide funds for laboratory capital equipment in the department DeWayne Backhus served for 44 years as a faculty member and chair.

“Sherry and I believe in the potential of education to change lives,” said DeWayne Backhus, explaining the couple’s desire to inspire others to consider making a planned gift. “We’re grateful for what Emporia State and its predecessors provided for us educationally, and subsequently, for our professional careers.”

Sherry Backhus served as an academic librarian for over 37 years, the last 10 of which were affiliated with Emporia State in the ESU Newman Division of Nursing/ Newman Regional Health Center Library and the William Allen White Library. She earned a Master of Library Science degree from Emporia State in 1989.

DeWayne Backhus earned his undergraduate degree from Kansas State Teachers College in 1966, which propelled him into a master’s degree program at Harvard. With burgeoning enrollment growth in the late 1960s, Backhus landed back in a tenure-track faculty position in the Division of Physical Sciences at KSTC. During a sabbatical, he earned a doctorate from the University of Kansas. He retired in 2011 as chair of Emporia State’s Department of Physical Sciences.

Backhus Bellringing

Celebrating veterans in the home of Veterans Day

Veteran. This one word conjures up so many different associations: hero, service, sacrifice, patriot, honor, duty. And more.

Here at Emporia State University, we have a time-honored tradition of recognizing our nation’s veterans. Emporia State’s Memorial Union is the oldest student union west of the Mississippi River and was built in 1922 to honor WWI veterans. In fact, our Memorial Union is the second-oldest student union in the United States built in honor of our nation’s veterans.

It seems serendipitous that Emporia—the home of the Hornet Nation—is also the Founding City of Veterans Day, and this year will commemorate the 60th year of our nation’s celebration of this special day.

During Veterans Day this year, the Emporia State University Alumni Association is coordinating the All-Veterans Reunion:

A Celebration of Service here in Emporia. Two of Emporia State’s Distinguished Alumni are serving as honorary co-chairs for this reunion: Brig. Gen. William “Art” Bloomer ’55 and Maj. Gen. Kevin Leonard ’79.

In an effort to celebrate the service and sacrifice of our alumni and current students who have served our country, we have planned several activities on November 6-9 and 11. Check the calendar that appears on page 2 for more details.

Emporia State continues to welcome veterans and was just named by U.S. News and World Report as a Best College for Veterans. Emporia State University is a wonderful place for all students, especially those who serve our county in the armed forces.

Concurrent with this recognition is the generosity of several individuals and organizations responsible for creating scholarships honoring those who have served in the military and their dependents. The most recent of these is the Buchele Scholarship to Honor Veterans, created by Emporians Ken and Marilyn Buchele.

Marilyn Buchele recently retired after a 41-year career at Emporia State, during which time she served as director of Veterans Education Services, helping veterans and their dependents qualify for educational benefits while attending Emporia State. The university also offers four additional scholarships for veterans and their descendants:

  • ESU Veterans Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Corbett Family Military Veterans Scholarship Fund n KVOE Veterans Scholarship Fund
  • Wayne W. Osborn Memorial Scholarship

We hope to see many of our veteran alumni on campus and in Emporia for this special reunion. We want to recognize your service—we want to celebrate our heroes. Thank you for helping us thank you for your service.

American flag flies outside Plumb Hall

Looking forward to more major gifts

We have raised 64.42% of our total goal.

urpassing the halfway mark in its climb toward a $45 million working goal, Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University has exceeded $28.3 million in gifts, grants and pledges.

Looking toward the fall, the campaign is planning a Sept. 18 celebration in Visser Hall, home of The Teachers College, to welcome major estate gifts from a Wichita couple, Roger D. and Carla (Bailey) Smith.

Roger (BA 73, MS 76) and Carla (BSE 75, MS 77) Smith are gifting a portion of their estate to establish two scholarships in their names to benefit graduates of public high schools in Wichita, where the couple lived and worked until retirement, Paola (Roger’s hometown), and Ellsworth (Carla’s hometown).

The couple met at Emporia State after growing up on small Kansas farms and depended on financial assistance to help meet college expenses.

Roger Smith worked at Boeing/Spirit AeroSystems until retiring.

Carla (Bailey) Smith retired as an elementary school principal in Wichita, working in schools whose students were from low income families. “I developed a passion for helping students understand the possibilities that an education can provide for their future,” she said, noting that the scholarship bearing her name will be directed toward education majors at Emporia State.

A portion of the Smiths’ gift also benefits a Success Center fund. “We think that’s a very exciting and critical element for student success and retention,” said Carla Smith.

“The incredible generosity of Carla and Roger makes the goal of becoming a teacher attainable for the fine young minds of Kansas students,” said Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College.

“The preparation of teachers has changed dramatically over 150 years, but Emporia State’s goal has remained the same— to prepare professionals whose effective teaching results in student learning. The Smiths’ philanthropy will make dreams come true,” Weaver added.

Special Thanks

Major Gifts since 1/1/12

Emil Babinger Trust supports women’s athletics and Emil Babinger Theatre Scholarship.

Josephine Bates supported the Legacy Fund through her estate gift.

Barbara A. and Frank J. Becker support the Barbara Becker Scholarship.

George G. Breidenthal supports women’s basketball.

Capitol Federal Foundation supports Capitol Federal Scholars and Capitol Federal Athletic Scholars.

City of Emporia supports enhancements to Trusler Sports Complex.

Dale and Carolyn Davis established the Dale and Carolyn Davis School of Business Advancement Fund, honoring Dr. John C. Rich.

Mildred Fulhage estate established the Mildred Fulhage Music Scholarship.

Fred C. & Mary R. Koch Foundation, David and Kathy Robertson, Dale and Sheryll Gibbens, Kim and Lynda Penner, and Koch Industries, Inc. established the Koch Center for Leadership and Ethics.

Nick and Jan Laurent established the Dena Laurent Sorenson Career and Internship Fund for the School of Business.

The Jane and Bernard Reeble Foundation supports the Jane & Bernard Reeble Foundation Nursing Scholarship, the Jane & Bernard Reeble Foundation Business Scholarship, the Coaches Extra Duty Fund, and Hornet Athletics.

Steve and Bobbi Sauder support Hornet Athletics, Earl W. Sauder Student-Athletic Scholars, and established the Bobbi Sauder Student-Athlete Nursing Scholarship.

Patterson Family Foundation established The James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship.

Kenneth L. Smejkal established the Kenneth Smejkal Scholarship through his estate gift.

The Trusler Foundation, Inc. supports the Dale and Carolyn Davis School of Business Advancement Fund and enhancements to Trusler Sports Complex.

John and Jenny Waldeck support Creating Champions, particularly to help fund the Hornet Athletes Summer Academy.

Deferred Gifts since 1/1/12

Tim and Lynn Clothier will further support the Tim & Lynn (Hein) Clothier Scholarship.

Margaret and Robert Doucette will further support the Blanche & Carol Baysinger Memorial Scholarship.

Dr. Fred and Pamela Geer have named Emporia State University in their estate plan.

Shirl Nichols will further support the Nichols Family Scholarship.

Kenneth and Phyllis Perry are establishing the Kenneth R. and Phyllis (Gray) Perry Scholarship through their estate gift.

Michael and Karen Shonrock will further support the Shonrock Endowed Scholarship.

Roger and Carla Smith are establishing the Roger D. & Carla B. Smith Scholarship and the Carla B. & Roger D. Smith Scholarship.

Doug and Nanette Smith will further support the Hayes Lecture Series.

Now & Forever: The Campaign for Emporia State University

Thank you to our Hornet Nation.

Your generosity has inspired $28.3 million in private gifts, grants, pledges and planned gifts for the benefit of Emporia State University students, faculty and programs—the highest fundraising total of any fundraising campaign in university history.

Please help us thank the following donors who have designated a major gift for the benfit of students, faculty and programs in thier estate plans (January 1, 2012-June 30, 2014):

Dr. DeWayne A. & Sherry Backhus

Dr. Nona Berghaus

Kenneth & Marilyn Buchele

Tim & Lynn Clothier

Margaret & Robert Doucette

Don Duncan

Dr. David & Beverly Dungan

Dr. Fred & Pamela Geer

Chuck & Doris Hanna

Douglas Hermes

Patricia & the late Phillip Hopper

Eric & Charlene Hughes

Brig. Gen. Thomas & Ruth Kennedy

Theresa & Mark Mitchell

Shirl Nichols & Mark Miettinen

Richard & Susan Nitsch

Kenneth & Phyllis Perry

Beth & Steve Prewitt

W. Ann Reynolds

Michael & Karen Shonrock

Doug & Nanette Smith

Roger & Carla Smith

Glenda & Leon Torkelson

Stephen & Cheryl Williams

Howard & Tonnie Wullschleger

Anonymous (6 donors)

Please help us thank the following donors who have contributed a major gift during our campaign (January 1, 2012-June 30, 2014):

AAUW - Emporia

Dr. Gary & Eliza Ace

Elaine & James Adkins

Emil Babinger Trust

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC

Josephine E. Bates Estate

John & Pamela Baxter

Diane & Gary Beatty

Barbara A. & Frank J. Becker

Dr. J. Phillip Bennett

Better Life Technology, LLC

Art & Sue Bloomer

Jeffrey & Susan Bloomer

James R. & Anne Bowen

Dr. Mark & Jill Brady

George Breidenthal

Kenneth & Marilyn Buchele

Capitol Federal Foundation

Robert Chatham

City of Emporia

Joseph Hannah & Carolyn Ammon

Dennis & Ardis Hanson

Darrell & Barbara Harkness

James & Laurie Harris

Greg & Sunny Harvey

Ray & Bonnie Harvey

Ray Hauke & Betty Rose

Dr. Marshall A. “Jack” & Ann Havenhill Jeff & Cheryl Hawes

Dr. Samuel & Jeannene Hayes

Roger Heineken

Georgia Helm

Dave & Shanda Hendricks

Jerry & Carol Ann Herbert

Don & Robbie Hill

Nancy Hite

Dr. Floyd & JoEllen Hoelting

Angela & William Hoffman

HRS Education Services, Inc.

Thomas & Anne Hutton

Jodie Fund

Dr. Roy & Judy Johansen

John & Gig Jones

Russell & Myra Jones

Walter S. & Evan C. Jones Foundation

Everett & Ruby Kadel

Sharon & Gerald Karr

Nancy Kelley

Carol Ketterman

Fred C. & Mary R. Koch Foundation

Koch Industries, Inc.

Pamela J. Konetzni

John & Barb Kudlacek

Carolyn A. Langenwalter

Nick & Jan Laurent

Longbine Autoplaza - Sen. Jeff & Gwen Longbine

Lyon County State Bank

David & Robin Majors

Teresa A. (Harms) Martin

Laura Mae McAntee

Michael McHugh

Vernon & Nancy McKinzie

Drs. Paul & Kay McKnab

John & Ann McPherson Foundation, Inc.

Dwight & Linda Metcalf

Dr. William H. Clamurro

Stephen & Karen Clegg

Tim & Lynn Clothier

Myrl & Laveta Cobb

Mark & Brenda Commons

Steve & Pam Commons

Mike & Bettie Concannon

Richard & Marcia Cooper

Dr. Glenn & Neva Crumb

Gene & Jackie Cusic

Dr. Malonne & Dale Davies

Dale & Carolyn Davis

David & Joyce Didde

Isaac & Jennifer Diel

Dynamic Discs - Jeremy Rusco

Educational Foundation of KSCPAS, Inc.

Edwards Land Investment, LLC - The Marion Schmitt Mull Family

Emporia St. Patrick’s Day Fund

Larry J. Erickson

Everett ‘Pete’ & Leslee Euler

Dr. James & Shirley Meyer

Russell & Sheila Meyer

David & Peggy Miller

Dr. Don & Linda Miller

Marshall & Sharon Miller

Patricia S. Miller

George & Gail Milton

Modern Air Conditioning, Inc.

Donald M. & Connie L. Moritz

Kevin & Lori Nelson

Dr. Fred & Paula Neuer

Shirl Nichols & Mark Miettinen

Dr. Barry Murphy & Jane Porter-Murphy

Kent & Lana Oleen

George & Elinor Osborn

The Patterson Family Foundation - James & Susan Patterson

Kim & Lynda Penner

Peoples Bank & Trust

Mike & Carol Petitjean

Art Piculell

Richard & Sarah Porter

DenaSue Potestio

Preston Family Fund

Beth & Steve Prewitt

Dr. Carl W. & Kay Prophet

Jane & Bernard Reeble Foundation

Donald G. Reichardt

W. Ann Reynolds & Thomas Kirschbaum

Michael & Joyce Reynolds

Dr. John C. Rich

Neil & Carol Roach

Noel & Tracy Roach

Roberts Blue Barnett Funeral Home, Inc. - Mike Turnbull

David & Kathy Robertson John Rossillon

S & S Oil & Propane Co., Inc.

Jamie & Jennifer Sauder

Steve & Bobbi Sauder

Bill & Linda Sawyer

Janet Schalansky

Schankie Well Service, Inc.

Claire & Betty Schelske

Mark & Angie Schreiber

EVCO Wholesale Food Corp. - Skip & Jan Evans

Jason & Tiffany Fanning

Dr. Ray Feltner

H. Edward & Marla Flentje

Thomas & Ruth Fowler

Chuck & Nancy Frazier

Drs. Ronald & Patricia Fredrickson

Charles & Marjorie Freeman

R.E. French Family Educational Foundation

Drs. K. Lyle & Sandra W. Froese

Mildred Fulhage Trust

Jodie Fund

Dr. James & Joan Geitz

Jonathan & Alison Geitz

Dale & Sheryll Gibbens

Howard & Eunice Gunkel

Robert Gutru

Harvey & Norma Haeker

Dr. William & Beverly Hammers

Chuck & Doris Hanna

Jim & Bonnie Schwartzburg

Tim & Kristy Shadoin

Shawna Shane

The late Donald Shepherd

Donald & Marguerite Shepherd CRUT

Michael & Karen Shonrock

Elaine Slater

Kenneth L. Smejkal Trust

J.F. Smith Group, Inc. - Jerry Smith

Sodexo, Inc. & Affiliates

Karen Sommers

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

John & Connie Staton

Randy & Jan Steinert

Kurt & Shiela Steinkuhler

Harry & Sharon Stephens

Max & Sharon Stewart

John & Kim Stibal

Dr. Marjorie E. Stone

Craig & Kyra Stromgren

Chuck & Marion Stuart

Summit Drilling Company

Robert & Jane Anne Symmonds

Doris Taylor

Gary & Trudy Tenpenny

Damon Thompson

Bill & Kathy Tidwell

Trusler Foundation, Inc.

Pete & Susan Villaescusa

Wagaman Farms

John & Jenny Waldeck

Michael & Susan Waldeck

Robert D. Warren

Ellen & Dave White

Wiley Family Trust

Charles Wilhite

Dr. James & Helen Williams

Stephen & Cheryl Williams

Harlan & Russell Willits

Trust H.W. Wilson Foundation, Inc.

Anan & Stacy Woodard

Wright CPA Group, PA

Dr. Ken & Margaret Wright

Timothy L. & Kristi G. Wright

Steve Younger

Anonymous (6 donors)

Building the Home of Hornet Nation

A dust-caked, exhausted bicyclist sailing across the finish line to a cacophony of cheers and cowbells.

The sight of dozens of plastic disks targeting a central basket.

Culinary diversity stretching from shark to sopapillas.

A lineup of Grammy award-winning artists gracing an elegant stage.

These aren’t items crossed off someone’s bucket list. They are a small sample of the events and activities happening these days in the Home of Hornet Nation—Emporia, Kansas—and its central business district.

It’s this kind of variety, coupled with a community that gets off its collective hindquarters to support the innovative and avant-garde, that has transformed Emporia from the community its alumni may recall.

“It’s vastly different,” says Casey Woods, executive director of Emporia Main Street since 2009.

“We are becoming a community that figures out ways to support those individuals with a unique vision or unique events,” Woods observes.

Dirty Kanza: Grinding Flint Hills gravel

Unique events like the Dirty Kanza, a 200-mile bicycle trek through rocky Flint Hills landscapes, find Emporia, Hornet Nation and its citizens custom tailored for off-the-wall adventure, says Kristi Mohn, co-owner of DK Productions.

“One of the racers this year described it as ‘lightning in a bottle,’” said Mohn, illustrating the spirit that envelops the community in the days leading up to what’s billed as the premiere endurance gravel road race.

“Emporia is fortunate in that the size of our town is small enough that an event like this actually has a big impact, and yet it’s big enough to be able to host something of this size,” Mohn said. With more than 1,375 riders from 45 states and seven countries registered for the event’s 200, 100 and 50 or 20-mile iterations this past year, Emporia and Hornet Nation got a taste of multicultural gravel grinding.

Along with a substantial cadre of dedicated volunteers, Mohn credits Emporia State University for opening up its residence halls for the overflow of riders and support crew after the community’s hotel rooms fill up.

The company will stage its tenth-anniversary race May 30, 2015.

Glass Blown Open: Don’t call it a Frisbee

In many ways similar to traditional golf, disc golf players traverse a course, aiming plastic discs at basket-like targets made of chain and steel. The fewest number of throws wins the game.

That’s Wikipedia’s definition of disc golf. In Jeremy Rusco’s eyes, however, there’s a lot more to it. It’s recreation and competition that has spawned something called Glass Blown Open, a disc golf tournament that this past May brought 510 players to three Emporia courses.

Rusco (BSB 2006) turned his passion for disc golf into a career. And he says he never saw it coming.

“It was a college hobby,” said Rusco of the fledgling enterprise he launched selling 100 plastic discs on eBay. The company he created, Dynamic Discs, today employs 25 people, selling branded discs and apparel out of storefronts in Emporia, Kansas City, Kan., and Lewisville, Texas.

“I played my first ever disc golf event in 2005,” Rusco said, admitting that the event was a lightbulb moment as he began imagining ways to turn his love for the sport into a lucrative business opportunity. He found Emporia ready and willing to help.

“This community has been amazing to work with—the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Emporia Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce, City of Emporia and Emporia State University have really helped us grow the Glass Blown Open,” Rusco said.

That same kind of support, says Rusco, made it possible for Dynamic Discs to host the 2013 PDGA Amateur World Championships, when more than 500 disc golfers sampled not only the competition but also the community’s support.

Dirty Kanza Starting Line

2014 Glass Blown Open Putting & Block Party Highlights

2014 Pro Putting Championship

Looking ahead: Fall sports previews

Hornets take the field

If you’re tweeting, join the conversation about Hornet Football: #ChampionshipWayEveryDay.


The Twitter hashtag is compelling evidence that the Hornets are out for continued success and growth in the 2014 season.

“Once you have success and you begin to turn things around, your players really begin to grasp taking ownership of the program. And I’ve been able to see that,” said head coach Garin Higgins, whose team is coming off the program’s first NCAA Playoff appearance in 10 years.

Emporia State’s nationally ranked football program kicks off its new season with a Thursday night game against Missouri Southern on Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.

The Hornets are returning nine starters from an offense that ranked 15th in the nation in scoring offense and 20th in total offense. Defensively, the Hornets have seven starters returning. Emporia State led the MIAA in interceptions last season with 22, and the players responsible for half of those interceptions are returning, along with four of the top five tacklers from last year.

The remaining four home games on Emporia State’s schedule will be played on Saturday afternoons at 2 p.m., including Family Day with Central Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 20 (prior to the annual Football Traditions event), Lindenwood on Oct. 4, Fort Hays State on Oct. 18 (Homecoming) and Northwest Missouri on Nov. 8 (Senior Day).

Season tickets are on sale through the Athletic Ticket Office in Emporia State’s Memorial Union, 620-341-6378 or tollfree 877-341-6378.

Early September openings for soccer, volleyball


Fresh off their first appearance in the MIAA Tournament semifinals, Emporia State’s soccer team will host seven home matches this fall. With six of their top seven scorers returning from last year, along with All-MIAA goalkeeper Yadira Rivera, the Hornets open their season with a Sept. 5 trip to Searcy, Ark., to play East Central Oklahoma University.

A Sept. 19 Turnpike Tussle against Washburn is the team’s first home game, one of seven contests at home on this fall’s schedule.

Emporia State Hornets compete in the semi-finals of MIAA tournament


Emporia State volleyball fans will be glad to know the team is hosting the most regular season home matches since 2003. The team takes the court at Emporia’s White Auditorium 12 times this fall.

Following a Sept. 5 season opener on the road in Springfield, Ill. (Urbana University of Ohio), Hornet volleyball hosts William Jewell College back home in Emporia Sept. 9.

The Hornets’ 18-11 record last season tied the team for fourth place in the MIAA. Seven players who started at least nine matches, plus the libero from last year’s team, are set to return this fall.

Complete fall sports schedule information is available at www.esuhornets.com.

Emporia State in top 100 of Directors Cup for 12th straight year

Emporia State University finished 54th out of more than 300 NCAA Division II schools in the Learfield Sports Director’s Cup standings.

The Director’s Cup measures overall strength of an athletic program based on NCAA postseason play.

For 12 consecutive years, Emporia State has had at least one team finish in the top 10 nationally with women’s basketball and baseball, both making it to regional championship games to finish ninth in the Director’s Cup system. The Hornet football team made its first trip to the NCAA Playoffs in 10 years to earn a 17th-place finish. The softball team advanced to the NCAA Tournament for an MIAA record 11th straight year, making it to the Central Region-I

championship game to also finish 17th. The men’s outdoor track team finished 19th nationally, while the indoor team was 34th in the nation. Women’s tennis made its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008 and earned a 32nd-place finish. The women’s outdoor track and field team placed 67th at the national championships to round out the Emporia State scoring this year.

Emporia State was the only school in NCAA Division II that had at least 9 wins in football, women’s soccer, and men’s tennis; 15 wins in women’s tennis; 18 wins in volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball; and 40 wins in baseball and softball.

—Compiled from Emporia State University Athletics News Releases

Lady Hornets reach NCAA II softball regional final

Making their 11th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, the Lady Hornets have the longest attendance streak in MIAA history and the fourth longest active streak in the country.

Emporia State came through the loser’s bracket to defeat Southeastern Oklahoma State, 7-2, in the Central Regional Tournament in Mankato, Minn., and set up a second game for the title. The Lady Hornets lost the second matchup, 6-2, and finished their season with a 49-13 record.

Emporia State had eight players named to the 2014 All- MIAA teams, while head coach Julie LeMaire was named Coach of the Year.

Hornet baseball reaches NCAA II Regional final

The Emporia State baseball team ended the season 42-19, after winning 23 of their last 28 games and advancing to the Regional Final for the first time since winning the regional title in 2009.

The Hornets lost to Minnesota State-Mankato, 6-3, in the championship game of the NCAA Division II Central Regional Tournament in Russellville, Ark.

Women’s tennis team reaches NCAA II Central Regional

Emporia State women’s tennis team reached the NCAA II Central Regional tournament for the first time since 2008. Emporia State lost to Augustana in the first round.

The women finished the season with a 16-9 record.

The Hornets defeated Central Oklahoma in the first round of the MIAA tournament, before falling to Northeastern State and Nebraska-Kearney.

Hornet tennis team shows improvement

The Emporia State men’s tennis team lost both matches played in the MIAA tournament and finished the season with a 9-10 record. It was the second most wins since joining NCAA Division II.

Emporia State’s Payton Hays earned second-team All-MIAA honors at #6 singles.

Lady Hornets go 30-4 in basketball, reach NCAA Regional final

The Lady Hornets battled back from an 18-point deficit with 11:58 left only to see a tying three-point attempt bounce off the rim as Emporia State lost to Concordia-St. Paul 70-67 in the NCAA Regional Final in Searcy, Ark.

Emporia State ended the season 30-4, the fourth 30-win season in school history, and advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship game for the third straight year and 11th time in 17 seasons.

Emporia State men go 18-13 in basketball

A 70-57 loss to Northwest Missouri State in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Tournament ended Emporia State’s season with an 18-13 record, the best record for the Hornets since 2009. Emporia State was 10-9 in the MIAA and defeated Southwest Baptist in the first round of the conference tournament.

Wetstein leads women’s track at national outdoor meet

The Emporia State women finished 67th at the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships in Allendale, Mich.

Nikki Wetstein ran 13.85 in the women’s 100m hurdles to place eighth. It was her first All-American performance in three trips to the outdoor national championships.

he Hornet women placed sixth at the 2014 MIAA outdoor track and field championships in Jefferson City, Mo., and finished seventh in the MIAA indoor meet.

Emporia State finishes 19th in men’s national outdoor track meet

Payson Maydew (decathlon) and Briar Ploude (high jump) both garnered third-place finishes to earn All-American honors at the NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships in Allendale, Mich. Maydew shattered

his own school record with 7,413 points. Ploude cleared 6-11.75 (2.13m) to win his medal.

The Hornets also finished seventh in the MIAA outdoor championships with Maydew winning the decathlon. They were sixth in the indoor championships.