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Emporia, KS
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February 12, 2014

          Saturday night Emporia State University will hold a Gala to mark the end of their 150 year celebration.

          My name is Steve Sauder and I am a Hornet.

Let me suggest this is a great time to be a Hornet.

Why you ask?

          Because, while Emporia State has had many fine hours and tons of accomplishments over the years there has never been a time when the future appeared to be this bright –  even with amazingly awful budget cuts in place and with more expected.

          Nobody saw this coming.

          Two years ago enrollment at ESU was seriously low and falling. The campus totally lacked excitement and the hope for the future was dim.

          On January 3, 2012 Michael Shonrock became Emporia State’s new President. He wasn’t wearing a cape, so expectations weren’t that great.

          What we didn’t know was that Shonrock has a different way to look at things than most leaders. He never gets caught up on what is notpossible, but always looks to find out what can be done.

          His style is perfect for Emporia. His leadership has transformed the ESU campus and many think our community as well!

          What Michael found at Emporia State was a place that had a culture of doing more with less. Despite not having had a pay increase for a longtime he found a hard working, dedicated and talented faculty and staff.

          Unfortunately for Shonrock state support for Emporia State has been even less than he expected when he took the job. Kansas lawmakers have done little to aid higher education during his two years in Emporia.

          Despite these difficult conditions the University is growing and making plans for exciting major changes. Budget cuts have forced the elimination of over 70 positions at Emporia State, but morale seems strong. Fact is, I attended the most recent General Assembly at the start of the new semester and the faculty and staff in attendance were pumped up and excited!

          Throw in the increasingly strong and amazing results form the ESU Foundation’s Now and Forever Campaign (over half way to the $45 million goal) and you understand something special is going on at Emporia State University.

          Two National Championships in Debate; a play off football team, #7 nationally ranked ladies basketball team, track and field accomplishments out the wazoo along with academic accomplishments too many to count don’t hurt either.

          One on my favorite saying is “the speed of the leader determines the speed of the pack.”

          Obviously, ESU’s leader has us running real fast.

          I’m Steve Sauder and I am a Hornet. Stingers Up!