Aubel family gives large gift to FHSU in memory of Hays businessman Bill Aubel

FHSU University Relations and Marketing

HAYS, Kan. — Although William “Bill” Aubel passed away in 2008, his legacy will continue with a large gift to Fort Hays State University. A check for $1,013,200 was presented by Bill’s son, Jim Aubel, in a news conference today in the Dreiling Lobby of Sheridan Hall on the university campus.

“I would like to thank Jim for bringing this gift forward in honor and memory of Bill,” said Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation. Chapman explained that the gift of more than $1 million came from a Charitable Remainder Trust that Bill Aubel had created prior to his passing. He also explained that Bill’s generous gift to Fort Hays State was unrestricted, meaning that the university can use the money towards its greatest need.

Jim Aubel said he was just the messenger for the gift from his father. “My father believed western Kansas was like a lake that’s draining, and we need to stop the leak,” he said, adding that his father would be pleased to see that Fort Hays State is thriving because he considered it one of the most important institutions for the economic success of the region.

Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president, joined Chapman in expressing the university’s appreciation for the generosity of the Aubel family. “I did not know Bill because he passed several years before I arrived at Fort Hays State last year, but I have met his wife and son,” she said. “Their decision to move forward with this gift honors Bill, and it honors the sense of family that we hold so dear at Fort Hays State. This large gift will make a big difference for future students, who make Fort Hays State their destination of choice because of our people of excellence and our programs of distinction.”

Bill Aubel was known for being a successful businessman. He was a former life insurance salesman, developer of Aubel Asphalt Company, a land developer, owner of the Standish Ford car dealership in Hays, owner of Hays Travel Agency and owner of A & A Coors in Hays.

A longtime friend, Don Bickle, commented that Bill “was honest, trustworthy, dependable and caring. All we ever did was a shake of the hand on most of our deals, and I knew that I could trust him.”

A firm believer in giving back to the community and keeping things growing throughout Hays, Bill was also a very civic-minded man. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, serving during World War II. He was a member of Rotary Club, the Lions Club, Tiger Club, a longtime board member at Hays Medical Center, founder of the Hays Medical Center Foundation and past president of the Hays Area Chamber of Commerce.

With the gift being announced on Giving Tuesday, Chapman expressed how Jim’s timing in bringing the gift forward was a great example of what Giving Tuesday is all about. “This widely recognized day of helping others through the art of giving is what makes this country and our university great,” Chapman said.

“The process of establishing this type of gift is easy and inexpensive, with huge outcomes,” Chapman said. “Planning your estate is critical. We all want to make a difference and leave a legacy. Bill made a decision a long time ago that this is what he wanted. When individuals decide to make the ultimate gift through their will or trust, the impact is a win, win, win. Our students win, the university wins, and donors establish a legacy that will recognize them, as well as their commitment to FHSU.”

Click here, FHSU Foundation.

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