After serving as president of Fort Hays State University for 27 years, Dr. Edward H. Hammond is no stranger to being recognized for his commitment to higher education, where he has held numerous titles in his 40-plus years in the field.
But Hammond’s most recent title is the most meaningful yet.
Last semester, Hammond was named President Emeritus of Fort Hays State by the Kansas Board of Regents. Current FHSU President Tisa Mason nominated Hammond, who was then selected by the board to receive the prestigious designation.
Hammond said his newest title is personally the most meaningful for him “It confirmed for me that the board believed that I left this place better than when I came,” he said. “It’s the historical perspective to it. That’s why this one is so special.”
While leading the institution for nearly three decades, Hammond was influential in moving FHSU into the 21st century. Digitizing the campus, establishing a partnership with universities in China, and creating the FHSU Virtual College, which now offers over 200 accredited online degrees and certificates, are just a few of the numerous accomplishments that occurred with Hammond at the helm.
Throughout his tenure, Hammond demonstrated a knack for being on the cutting edge of trends.
His tendency to adapt and thrive in constant change began early. He moved around frequently during his grade school years, calling California, Kansas, Ohio, Oregon, Texas and Washington home at different points. His ability to adapt to the ever-changing world, as well as his clear vision for the university, allowed him to leave the university in a secure position.
Hammond promised himself that he would retire from his role as president on a high note. Approaching his 70th birthday, he announced in October 2013 that he would be retiring the next June. He turned 70 on May 4, 2014.
“I’ve watched presidents stay longer than they should,” he said. “We were on a roll, were financially stable, and growth was going on. I wanted to go out on top.”
Following his retirement, Hammond began teaching classes in the Department of Advanced Education Programs and is the program director for the higher education student affairs curriculum.
His unique perspective on the field and his varied experiences allow him to pass on his passion for higher education to future student affairs professionals.
The honor is a validation of the years he spent committed to Fort Hays State and is another reminder of the ways Hammond’s presidency raised FHSU to its present state and continues to influence the university’s future.
While the meaning behind the designation is great, the practical changes are small.
“Now,” he said with a smile, “I have another line on my business card.”