Farewell, First Family

K-State’s positive momentum set in motion during Schulz presidency

In the past seven years, Kansas State University has reached some impressive milestones, many of them thanks to the vision and leadership of outgoing president Kirk Schulz. Drs. Kirk and Noel Schulz will be leaving K-State in mid-May for Pullman, Washington, where Kirk will take over as president of Washington State University. Noel, who is the associate dean for research and graduate programs at K-State’s College of Engineering, will teach engineering in WSU’s Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.

In 2009, Kirk was selected as the thirteenth president of Kansas State University. Soon after arriving, Kirk and campus leaders developed plans to move K-State toward being nationally recognized as a top 50 public research university. In the ensuing years, K-State alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends have supported this initiative with record fundraising success, which has fueled advancements universitywide. In 2015, Kirk and Noel, working with KSU Foundation staff, generous donors and volunteers, helped the university raise $141.5 million, the third-highest figure in K-State history. Overall, K-State has topped $100 million in funds raised in four consecutive fiscal years. The first family’s leadership and passion for K-State have been instrumental in K-State’s recent fundraising success.

“Kirk and Noel worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to connect with alumni and friends of K-State to encourage support for the university,” said Greg Willems, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. “I enjoyed watching them connect with K-Staters on personal visits or at events. Their passion for the work being accomplished at K-State motivated so many to believe in the vision of enhancing K-State’s status and made them proud to be part of the K-State family. I will miss working with them, but am confident that we will continue to move K-State forward with the outstanding faculty, staff and students on campus and the philanthropic investment of K-State supporters.”

The Schulz era not only elevated K-State, but positively impacted the state and region as well.

“The Board of Regents is greatly appreciative of President Kirk Schulz and the time he spent at Kansas State University, where under his watch, K-State has achieved record levels in research expenditures, overall student enrollment and student body diversity,” said Shane Bangerter, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents. “K-State’s fundraising success over the past four years demonstrates an ongoing belief by countless individuals in the direction of this historic university. A true champion of strategic planning, President Schulz has done wonderful things for this university and the entire state of Kansas, setting the institution in the right direction to create the workforce tomorrow’s economy will need.”

The Schulzes have enjoyed their time at K-State and being part of the K-State family.

“The success that K-State has seen so far in reaching 2025 benchmarks is because of the wonderful faculty and staff who collaborated to create and implement the plan and generous supporters investing in the future,” Kirk said. “I am proud of all that we’ve accomplished so far and know that K-State will continue to succeed as it strives to be recognized as a top 50 public research university. The outstanding faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university will see to that. We leave knowing that the university is in good hands.”

Read more about philanthropic milestones of the Schulz era at K-State. 


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greg willems

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Gavin Hargrave

Gavin Hargrave Senior Development Officer - Engineering