Emporia State University is the most important operation in our community. Fortunately both our city and county commissions have embraced the idea that Emporia is a university community. That means ESU is an economic engine for us just like Tyson, farming or Hostess.
ESU has long been a role model for academic excellence especially in the areas of teacher education, accounting, science, theater, music and art. I am sure other disciplines are good too, but I am aware of the work in these areas.
ESU despite being the victim of state budget cuts and leadership changes continues to set a high standard.
Four leaders have combined to set a solid course for the university.
Edward Flentje was the interim president after Michael Lane. Too few know the wonderful job Ed performed especially in challenging the ESU Foundation.
Michael Shonrock was a unique leader who brought a style all his own to the job of President. He energized not only the campus, but our entire area.
Jackie Vietti served as ESU's interim president while the selection of Allison Garrett took place. President Vietti had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at her during her stay - budget cuts, law suits and upheaval, but she took care of business and left a strong operation for our new president.
Allison Garrett will be inaugurated as ESU's 17th President on the 16th day of September. Allison brought a corporate savvy to our school having worked for a large corporation's legal department before entering higher education. We have noticed her ability to view things from a different perspective which is good.
We have been blessed with four strong leaders in a row and good leadership at the ESU Foundation has led to a successful capital campaign – the largest in the school’s history.
Our university and Tech College students are back in town now which is obvious with increased traffic and such. We miss them when they are gone and love'em when they are here.
During disc golf Glass Blown Open and World Championships and the Dirty Kansa Bike Race we hear about how friendly our town can be. Many of us go out of our way to welcome visitors. This is really good and indicates that Emporia has embraced the idea of being good hosts.
My thought today is why not do the same thing for our college student guests? It takes little effort and if we all started working these kids I'm thinking we can create those same positive thoughts we get from the disc golfers and bikers.
Thanking a youngster for choosing to go to school in Emporia is easy. Then ask them where they are from and what they are studying and who knows - you might make a new friend.
Our schools are our biggest assets, so let’s work together to let the students and staff know we appreciate them being in Emporia!