Dane G. Hansen Scholarship Hall groundbreaking set for Saturday at FHSU

FHSU University Relations and Marketing

By Diane Gasper-O’Brien

HAYS, Kan. — Charles “Cy” Moyer admits he doesn’t have much cause to use an umbrella very often, and he doesn’t mind if he has to bring one along on his trip to Hays Saturday.

Moyer, a long-time trustee of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation in Logan, will be on hand for a historic groundbreaking on the Fort Hays State University campus.

As one of the activities for Homecoming 2015, FHSU will break ground on a new scholarship hall funded mostly by the Hansen Foundation. The FHSU family, Hays community and general public are all invited to the ceremony, set for 11 a.m. Saturday just north of Wiest Hall.

Construction on the Dane G. Hansen Scholarship Hall is scheduled to begin in October, with completion planned in time for the start of the 2016 fall semester.

First things first, though. Rain is predicted for the Hays area Saturday. But rain or shine, there is going to be a groundbreaking ceremony.

“I haven’t used an umbrella in so long,” said Moyer, retired president of the First National Bank and Trust in Phillipsburg and co-chair of the Dane G. Hansen Board of Trustees. “I carry one in my car. I guess I’ll have to dig it out.”

Moyer and others attending the ceremony won’t have to worry about getting too wet if it’s raining because an alternate location has been set. In case of bad weather, the ceremony will be held in Heather Hall, located across the street north of the Wiest Hall parking lot.

Moyer will speak at the ceremony, along with FHSU President Mirta M. Martin, Student Government Association President Ulises Gonzalez and Mark Bannister, dean of the College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Groundbreakings can sometimes be somewhat pedestrian. But this one is of special historical significance.

The Hansen Foundation, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, is well known for its philanthropic efforts toward the betterment of communities and has been especially generous toward educational endeavors.

Since 1965, the foundation has awarded more than $15 million in scholarships to students in the 26 counties in which Hansen conducted his road and bridge construction and oil business.

Moyer said the foundation has partnered with other schools and groups for remodeling projects on buildings in the past, but this will mark the first scholarship hall the foundation has been a part of. The $3.95 million building will be funded by the $3 million donation from the Hansen Foundation and other private donations.

“This is definitely a historic event for Fort Hays State University, to have the first scholarship hall at our university,” Martin said. “We are humbled by the support of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, which has embraced the new-beginnings vision of our university.”

The 12,775-square-foot, three-story building will provide individual bedrooms for 32 entrepreneur-minded students and a resident assistant.

“We welcome students ranging from agriculture to zoology and every major in between alphabetically to apply,” Bannister said.

Bannister said the Hansen Foundation “has been following our entrepreneurship curriculum development and is interested in the many entrepreneurship extracurricular activities we are offering students.”

“Both the Hansen Foundation and Fort Hays State are aware how important entrepreneurship is to the future of northwest Kansas, to the state of Kansas and to America,” Bannister said. “For northwest Kansas to have population growth and economic opportunities, we need to prepare students who are capable of starting their own businesses.”

Moyer agreed.

“We have found that most of the young people who graduate from Fort Hays State have a higher percentage to go back to northwest Kansas,” Moyer said. “So we wanted to do something to spur on the economy of northwest Kansas in the 26 counties which we do most of our granting in.”

Bannister chaired the committee that drew up the proposal that was presented to the Hansen Foundation, whose mission is “to provide opportunities for the people of northwest Kansas to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.”

One of the opportunities on the list is education. The foundation wants a proposal to show how it will “enhance the learning environment and expand opportunities of the public school system.”

Bannister thinks the new scholarship hall at FHSU fits that description to a “T.”

“Our expectations are that this will help us attract students who are very interested in entrepreneurship, who will likely be highly successful in their careers,” Bannister said.

Not surprisingly, Bannister — a graduate of FHSU himself — is excited about the opportunities such a living arrangement will offer students.

“My goal,” Bannister said, “is that with this facility we will become one of the top entrepreneurship universities in the nation.”

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