Hays — Fort Hays State University officials are remembering the past and looking toward the future as a year of 100th birthday celebrations begin.
The university will remember its history as the football team takes the field in centennial uniforms. But university president Edward Hammond said rather than focus solely on the end of the first 100 years, the university will celebrate the next 100.
Plans for the celebration began four-to-five years ago. The first big birthday event of the school year will be next week's unveiling of the centennial uniforms. Other events will follow monthly throughout the 2001-02 school year.
Hammond told faculty and administration attending a state of the university address Wednesday that institutions of higher learning have come far in 100 years, from expensive private institutions to the public schools of today.
"The power of thought remained an untapped resource confined to the elite few," he said of the early days.
The university officially turns 100 in 2002. It stands on the land of the abandoned Fort Hays Military Reservation. President McKinley transferred that land to the state 101 years ago and asked that it be used for an institution of higher learning.
The next year, Kansas Gov. W.E. Stanley signed a bill to create an agricultural experiment station and the western branch of the Kansas Normal School of Emporia, now FHSU.
Hammond arrived at the school 85 years later, planning to stay only 10 years. Fifteen years later he remains and says he's still excited about the job. Constant change, he said, drives the excitement.