“A Relentless Focus on Excellence,” Winter Convocation 2022


Fort Hays State University President Tisa Mason opened the 2021-22 Winter Convocation in the Beach/Schmidt Center for the Performing Arts last Friday by commending all students, faculty and staff for their “relentless focus on excellence.” For Mason, this relentlessness provides her with an “exhilarating sense of promise for the future of FHSU.” 

In an era of declining enrollment, the university continues to celebrate its triumphs and recognize its downfalls as it strives to exemplify its mission of developing “the engaged global citizen-leaders our world needs today.” 

Mason called on the staff of FHSU to be “relentless in their focus on recruiting, retaining and graduating students,” and to further demonstrate the university’s ethic of care for each student. Despite a substantial drop in fall enrollment, the Student Recognition Programs continue to be a selling point for potential students, where 80% of participants select FHSU to continue their education.

Additionally, the Fort Hays State University Foundation’s “The Journey” campaign raised over $112 million from 24,402 donors to be put directly towards improving the education the university provides its students. 

Higher Education Funding continues to be a pressing issue in the Kansas legislature and Mason will be testifying in front of the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate to convey FHSU’s funding needs and advocate for additional funding to support students and staff alike. Mason expressed her desire to raise the salaries of all faculty and staff.

Winter Convocation concluded with the presentation of awards for students, faculty and staff.

President Mason and Provost Jill Arensdorf recognized three instructors for their incredible teaching, service, and scholarly activity: 

Outstanding Teaching Award: Ms. Linda McHenry, Department of English 

Outstanding Service Award: Dr. Donnette Noble, Department of Leadership 

Outstanding Scholarly Activity: Dr. Gordon Carlson, Department of Communication Studies 

They also recognized one adjunct instructor from each college through the Adjunct Faculty Recognition Program: 

College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences: Dr. John Mack, Department of History 

Robbins College of Business and Entrepreneurship: Mr. Brian Hurley, Department of Informatics  

College of Education: Ms. Arlea Carmack, Department of Advanced Education Programs 

College of Health and Behavioral Sciences: Ms. Breanna Taylor, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Peter Werth College of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: Laura Haffner, Department of Agriculture

Mason and Arensdorf also recognized winners of awards given by the Griffin Family: 

Griffin Family Oustanding Service Award, Facility Operations Employee: Ms. Donna Augustine, Horticulture supervisor 

Griffin Family Oustanding Service Award, Facility Operations Student: Amber Neighbors, Central purchasing 

Griffin Family Food Service Award Employee: Ms. Maria Rorh, Chartwells 

Griffin Family Food Service Student: Mr. Danny Garcia, Starbucks 

Finally, Mason and Arensdorf recognized the winners of the Distinguished Service Awards. 

Unclassified Profession Staff: Mr. Derek Johnson, Technology Services 

University Support Staff: Ms. Linda Kepka, Senior Admin Assistant, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting

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