Skip to main content

Luncheon Honors Longtime Supporters of Emporia State University

Two Emporia State University alumni and spouses were honored at a luncheon with Interim President Jackie Vietti and other university administrators earlier this semester to recognize the couples’ generosity and long-time support of the university.

Those honored were former Emporia State Interim President Dr. H. Edward “Ed” Flentje and wife, Marla, of Wichita, Dennis Hanson of El Dorado and, posthumously, his wife, Ardis, who died Aug. 7 this year.

The luncheon served as a reunion of sorts for long-time friends Hanson and Vietti, who retired Dec. 31, 2012, as president of Butler Community College in El Dorado.

“It was doubly gratifying to be able to show our appreciation to Dennis Hanson and to honor Ardis’ memory here at Emporia State,” said Vietti, who had thanked the couple a few years earlier for their support for BCC. “Their generosity and enthusiasm for education is remarkable, and is compounded by their support of two institutions of higher learning.”

The couple had received the Abrahams Grizzly Backer Award from BCC in 2014.

In addition to support of Emporia State’s Now & Forever Campaign, the Hansons also blended their loyalty to both institutions by establishing the Dennis W. and Ardis I. Hanson Scholarship in 2010.

The scholarship provides aid to Butler Community College students who transfer to Emporia State to complete their degrees. Recipients need to maintain a 2.5 or higher grade-point average, with preference given to accounting majors, followed by business administration majors or other majors within the School of Business. 

The couple enhanced the scholarship funding again this year with a significant gift of stock to the Foundation. 

Dennis Hanson graduated in 1959 with a bachelor of science in business, accounting and was a certified public accountant. The Hansons had owned and operated an accounting service in El Dorado before retirement.

The couple’s son, Kenneth, received a bachelor’s degree in general studies in 1990, and their daughter-in-law, Donna Siebuhr Hanson, graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of science in business, office systems management. Donna also received an associate’s degree in office services in 1996 from Emporia State. She works at Emporia State as a public service administrator for financial aid, scholarships and veterans services.

Dr. Ed Flentje has been involved with the university since he received his bachelor of science degree in education in mathematics in 1964. He received a master of arts degree in government from George Washington University in 1965 and a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Kansas in 1970.

Among the Flentjes’ gifts to the Foundation and its Now & Forever Campaign is the Flentje Endowed Scholarship to sustain and build the university. Established in 2013, the fund will provide scholarships for undergraduate junior or senior students majoring in political science with an emphasis in American politics.

Marla Flentje, who received a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in public administration from Wichita State University, now is senior consultant with the Austin Peters Group in Overland Park.

Ed Flentje’s career has encompassed serving in Kansas gubernatorial cabinets, first as director of state planning and research for Gov. Robert Bennett and later as secretary of administration for Gov. Mike Hayden; as professor of public administration and numerous administrative assignments at Wichita State University; as interim city manager for the City of Wichita and chair of the Wichita Airport Authority and the Kansas Development Finance Authority; as director of Hugo Wall School of Urban and Public Affairs from 1999 to 2008; and as interim president of Emporia State University in 2011.

“The faculty and staff of Emporia State gave me an extraordinary foundation for my career,” Ed Flentje said in an earlier interview.

The university holds a parallel opinion.

“Ed and Marla Flentje have shown an extraordinary commitment to our university,” said Shane Shivley, vice president of development for the Emporia State Foundation. “The Flentjes have not only supported our students financially, they have devoted their skills and their time to advancing Emporia State’s mission in a multitude of ways.”

Ed Flentje has been a member of the board of directors for the Foundation and for the Emporia State Alumni Association, assisted in re-establishing the Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity on campus, and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010.

He also serves on the Foundation’s National Campaign Committee and the university’s Political Science Advisory Committee.

For more information about Now & Forever giving opportunities, contact the Emporia State University Foundation, 620-341-5440.