In a news conference this morning, scheduled as a welcome for the Kansas Board of Regents, Fort Hays State University President Edward Hammond announced his retirement at the end of his contract period this June.

Prior to the announcement Hammond said, “There is no other place I would rather be than Fort Hays State.”

“In May of this coming year I will turn 70 and I will be in my 28th year as president of Fort Hays State and so today I am announcing that I have already sent to the board of regents earlier in the week a letter indicating that at the end of this contract period, the end of June, that I will step down as president of Fort Hays State University.”

After his very long tenure, although the announcement was a surprise to many, it was inevitable.

“I didn’t see it coming. From what I know about him, he’s done a great job. It will be interesting to see who steps in to fill his shoes,” said Jonathan Inman, Branson, Mo. Sophomore.

Hammond explained the reason behind the mid year timing as the best time in order to ensure the academic year was rolling, but would give him enough time to get ready for his exit.

“This has been something that the regents and I have been working on for over a year and a half and I believe it is the right thing for Fort Hays, I believe it is the right thing for me.”

For Hammond, he said this is the best time for him to step down and let someone else take the lead at FHSU.“I feel like I am on top of my game…my dad told me that that was the time that you should step down.”

“The bottom line is one of the major challenges we face in higher education is transition from one leadership to another and one of the real arts of leadership is helping with that transition and I love this institution so much I want to make sure that this transition works as best as it can, in the optimum way.”

One of Hammond’s goals is to ensure the institution he has developed stays on course.

“We do have a different kind of institution we have a different kind of culture than any of the other five regent schools and we don’t want to lose that culture, lose our momentum.”

Hammond expressed gratitude to FHSU community and said, “We are blessed to have a tremendous faculty, tremendous staff, and an outstanding leadership team here at Fort Hays State University.”

Hammond ended his announcement again expressing his appreciation for the FHSU team. “I am very, very thankful for your friendship and your support.”

Following Hammond’s announcement Fred Logan, chairmen of the board of regents, said, “it’s a day to celebrate his marvelous leadership and what a wonderful institution that he has helped to create here through his entrepreneurial leadership.”

As the transition evolves Logan said, he expects the Regents to, “formally ask doctor Hammond to serve for a year as a consultant to the new president.”

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