The Kansas Board of Regents voted this week to name Kansas University's student recreation center after longtime Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs David Ambler.
Ambler, who retired in 2002 after 25 years at the university, said he was "overwhelmed and honored" when he learned of plans to dub the building the David A. Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center.
The recreation center opened in 2003, four years after students voted to fund its construction, maintenance and operations with student fees.
Ambler credited former student body president Kevin Yoder, now a lawyer in Olathe and a state representative, with pushing the measure forward.
Yoder, a Republican from Overland Park, said Ambler "made a large impact on the quality of life for students at KU. It's such a great testament that a source of campus recreation would be named after him, because it's the very kind of thing that he worked for during his time at KU."
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway called Ambler a champion of students.
"His dedication and leadership made a huge impact on the lives of many Jayhawks," Hemenway said. "It is only fitting that a facility for improving the health and lives of students bears his name."
Ambler said he never expected such an honor.
"I had a hard time telling (Hemenway) it was OK because I never really had it on my radar screen that something like this would happen," he said.
He credited students for sacrificing with the future in mind.
"The real people that this building has to be dedicated to are the students that worked really hard to convince (the student body) that this was worth investing in, even though many of them that voted would never see the rec center because they'd be graduated and gone," Ambler said.
The rec center is currently under construction, while a 44,000-square-foot, $6.3 million addition is built. The addition is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008.
Yoder said naming a building after Ambler was a unique honor.
"Most buildings at KU are not named for student advocates," Yoder said. "I was just pleased that I had the opportunity to cross paths with him."
Ambler, who lives with his wife, Mary Kate, in Lawrence, has stayed busy during his retirement, serving on numerous boards and staying active in the Plymouth Congregational Church.
Still, there's added pressure now that his name is part of KU history.
"I'm going to have to keep up on my exercise routine," he said.