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News Release

Latest Donations Move FHSU's Power of One Scholarship Campaign Close to its $12 Million Goal

Fort Hays State University officials announced two gifts today that bring the Power of One scholarship campaign close to meeting its goal of $12 million by the end of this year.

The gifts came from Henry Schwaller, the mayor of Hays and an FHSU instructor in Management and Marketing, and from Jerry Van Allen, Sharon Springs, who came to FHSU as a non-traditional student.George WallGeorge Wall

"Henry Schwaller, who was born and raised in Hays, and Jerry Van Allen, who served in the Navy, farmed for more than 10 years and then attended Fort Hays State as a non-traditional student, are creating scholarships for our students," Dr. Mirta M. Martin, FHSU president, said. "We have now come very close to meeting our campaign goal thanks to the generosity of these two members of the Tiger family."

"Today's students face challenges we did not face," she said. "These gifts from two remarkable gentlemen go to the heart of who we are. Their scholarships will help provide access to higher education for the next generation of leaders."

Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the FHSU Foundation, announced that the latest gifts bring the campaign total to $11.6 million.

He noted that the Power of One scholarship campaign, in recognition of the 27-year leadership of former President Edward H. Hammond, was announced last December with an ambitious goal of raising $8 million by the end of the 2014 calendar year. "Thanks to the help and support of alumni and friends of the university, the goal was surpassed in June," he said. "Due to that overwhelming support, a new goal of $12 million by December of this year was established."

Schwaller said he believes students living in Kansas have an opportunity to experience and test ideas and that FHSU is the driving force behind the growth of western Kansas. Much of Schwaller's entrepreneurial vision comes from his respect for his grandparents, who he said were among a generation of people who took chances and were very successful. Now, Schwaller has established a scholarship to support FHSU students willing to take chances like his grandparents.

"It is critical that we educate students to have an entrepreneurial mindset," he said.

The Schwaller Entrepreneurship Scholarship will benefit an undergraduate or graduate student who has shown an interest in the variety of entrepreneur-related events happening throughout the university, or who is working toward a minor or certificate in entrepreneurship. One scholarship will be awarded each year and preference will be given to applicants of Hispanic origin.

"We need to retain students from their freshman year to their senior year here in western Kansas," Schwaller said. "We have to provide opportunities that not only help students develop skills, but also help them become part of the community."

Van Allen, who earned bachelor of arts and master's of science degrees in communication at FHSU, remembers how he enjoyed his time at the university and the personal impact professors and other non-traditional students had on him. Knowing the big impact scholarships have on students' education, he hopes to have a positive impact on students' lives at Fort Hays State University. "I am proud of FHSU and what it has done for western Kansas," Van Allen said.

He described the circumstances that caused him to have a late start in pursuing a higher education. He said his father farmed and sold farm implements, and with seven kids in the family, there was "never a dull moment." He went to community college on a scholarship, but with no jobs in Hays and no scholarships for juniors, he enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He returned to the family farm for about 13 years, but when an accident left him unable to farm any longer, he enrolled at FHSU.

"I don't know when I've ever enjoyed anything more," he said, noting the special relationship between non-trads and their professors.

The Jerry Van Allen Memorial Scholarship will benefit up to four students at a time who have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and come from western Kansas. This will be a 4-year renewable scholarship with preference given to students who have a relationship with the Order of the Eastern Star, one of the largest fraternal organizations for both men and women. Members of this group sincerely reflect the spirit of fraternal love and the desire to work together for good.

"It is with the help of people such as Henry Schwaller and Jerry Van Allen that Fort Hays State can continue to improve and lead the progress of western Kansas by ensuring that students can afford a quality education," Chapman said. "The FHSU Foundation thanks Henry and Jerry for their support of our students. Gifts and investments like these represent current and long-term security for student support. With the growth of our student population we must keep pace with scholarship assistance. We encourage all to consider being the one, the Power of One, that will put us over our $12 million goal."

Those who want to join the effort before Dec. 31 may click here to make a gift in support of students at Fort Hays State.