Advocates, Ambassadors, and Investors

board of trustees group photo

The KSU Foundation Board of Trustees gives time, treasure, and energy to advance K-State.

Every nonprofit relies on a key group of volunteers and their gifts of time, energy and enthusiasm to be successful. For the KSU Foundation, that group is the Board of Trustees — K-State’s premier advocates, ambassadors and investors.

Of the nearly 200,000 Kansas State University graduates, only 734 alumni and friends have ever been chosen to serve as members of the KSU Foundation Board of Trustees. This transformational group of K-Staters live in all regions of the United States and represent a wide array of professions and experience, offering invaluable leadership, professional skills, networking abilities and personal philanthropic support that contribute to the mission of the foundation. Trustees play an important role in promoting and advocating for Kansas State University. They host foundation and university events, volunteer with colleges and programs on campus, mentor students, lend assistance in legislative matters that may impact the foundation and university, and connect the foundation to others who may have an interest in advancing K-State through philanthropy.

Through the dedicated efforts and generosity of trustees, the KSU Foundation is able to provide a measure of excellence beyond public funding to secure continued academic excellence at K-State.

Impact of Trustees

  • 26 trustees when the KSU Foundation was created in 1944
  • 318 trustees for Fiscal Year 2017 (might need an “as of” date)
  • Trustees have contributed 34% of the Innovation and Inspiration Campaign gifts to date
  • 78 trustees serve on the campaign steering committee and/or a college/unit committee
  • 46% of trustees have made a planned/estate gift for K-State
  • 107 trustees serve on college advisory boards
Extraordinary service 

After nine years of service, Janet Sprang Ayres and Kevin Lockett have finished their terms on the KSU Foundation Board of Directors. The Board of Directors, made up of trustees and the chair of the K-State Alumni Association or his/her designee, is responsible for the management, control and supervision of the business and affairs of the KSU Foundation. Ayres and Lockett have helped lead the foundation through some important milestones — hiring a new president and CEO, moving to a new facility and launching the largest fundraising campaign in K-State history. Their time on the board comes to an end, but their unwavering support and advocacy for K-State is unending. We thank them for their time, their energy, their passion and their commitment to advancing K-State.

Janet Sprang Ayres 

  • KSU Foundation Trustee since 1994
  • Served on the Board of Directors 2008-2016
  • Served on nine Board of Directors committees

Why did you choose to serve on the Board of Directors?

I felt serving on the Board of Directors would provide a unique opportunity to support the university and to encourage others to become involved in giving to the foundation. Private gifts are critical to the welfare of the university, and every gift makes a difference, regardless of the amount. What an impact could be made if every K-Stater annually made a gift to the university!

What is one memorable experience from your time on the board?

I witnessed a lot of exciting change and growth at the KSU Foundation while serving on the Board of Directors, but the most heartwarming for me has been the development of student philanthropy at K-State. The charge is led by the Student Foundation Board and is reflected in the success of their programming, which cultivates a culture of philanthropy among K-State students. These outstanding student leaders are managing projects like K-State Proud and are recognized nationally as a model for student philanthropy.

Why is it important to give your time and energy, as well as your treasure, to K-State?

K-State has always been a great institution worthy of our support, commitment and loyalty. Many life lessons, relationships and leadership skills were developed while I was a student at K-State. Those experiences were possible because someone who came before me cared enough to provide the private means for K-State to thrive. I’ve always believed in paying back and investing forward. Now I have a responsibility to help pave the way for the talented young men and women who, in the future, will proudly call K-State their family.

Kevin Lockett 

  • KSU Foundation Trustee since 2003
  • Served on the Board of Directors 2008–2016
  • Served on six Board of Directors committees

Why did you choose to serve on the Board of Directors?

It was an opportunity for me to give back to an institution that helped me to mature and get prepared for life. Throughout the five years I spent at K-State as a student, I spent most of that time taking from the university; learning principles that would begin to outline the life that I would lead. So it felt right, almost as an obligation, that I try to take any talent, treasure or resource I had accumulated and share that with the place that instilled in me many of the qualities that lead my life today.

What is one memorable experience from your time on the board?

When I first joined the board, I remember the reaction around the room when we announced we were launching a half-a-billion-dollar campaign. Fast forward several years and now we’re in a $1 billion campaign. I think if I went back and replayed that meeting, you’d have never thought we’d be talking about launching a $1 billion campaign. But, at the same time, with the progress to date, it’s clear to see that I don’t stand alone in terms of KSU alumni who truly care for this university.

Do you have any key takeaways from your experience?

If there’s one “aha” moment for me from my time on the board, it’s amazing for me to look at the number of people who have served on the Board of Directors that are incredibly successful in their own right. I’m sure they’re pulled in many different ways, but they all consider it important to find time to serve on this board and help lead the entity responsible for providing the financial resources for the growth of our university. It’s always amazed me that CEOs of some of our best-run, publicly-traded and private companies, who are K-Staters, still find time to come back to Manhattan quarterly because the future of our university means so much to them.

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