Mar 01, 2024

Hammonds leaving legacy at Fort Hays State University

Posted Mar 01, 2024 9:13 PM

FHSU Foundation

 When Ed and Mary Hammond think of home, Hays and Fort Hays State University come to mind. As an investment in our community and FHSU students, the couple is leaving half of their estate, a more than seven-figure gift, to Fort Hays State University.

The couple announced their generous gift at a news conference on Fort Hays State’s campus Friday with a large crowd in attendance.

Mary and Ed Hammond
Mary and Ed Hammond

As the longest-serving Fort Hays State University President, Ed Hammond oversaw a period of incredible growth and created many recognizable programs during his 27-year tenure. Ensuring the university’s success, he was forward-thinking in establishing a robust university scholarship program, FHSU Online (previously known as the Virtual College), and forming international partnerships, to name a few.

Ed Hammond recognized the symbiotic relationship between FHSU and the community. Not only because of the university’s tremendous economic impact but also because local businesses are labor-dependent on Fort Hays State students. Even today, he firmly believes that FHSU’s success provides the foundation for a growing and prosperous Hays community.

Mary Hammond grew up in Hill City, and will never forget how crucial Fort Hays State was in setting her mom, Dorothy, up for success as an educator. As a high school freshman, Mary Hammond vividly remembers how dedicated her mom was to earning her college degree, driving 50 miles to and from Hill City to Hays each day. Mary Hammond’s dad, Dwayne, supported Dorothy in following her dream. After graduation, Dorothy began teaching high school English in the Morland school district. She later educated students in the same subject matter in the Palco/Damar School District. In all her years, Dorothy’s love for teaching never wavered.

Because of the tremendous impact FHSU had on her family’s life, Mary Hammond has stayed involved with the university, helping in any way she can. She serves as a Director of Development for the FHSU Foundation – fundraising for the College of Education, of which she and Ed are passionate supporters.

To honor their community and family, the Hammonds chose to divide their estate gift between two FHSU scholarships: the Dr. Edward H. Hammond Endowed Scholarship and the Dorothy and Dwayne Sprenkel Education Scholarship.

The Hammond Endowed Scholarship supports junior and senior student leaders with financial need.

“Our intent is to financially free up their time to use their leadership skills to better the university,” Ed Hammond said. This endowed scholarship was created by the Half Century Club members at FHSU in 2014 to recognize Ed Hammond’s presidency.

Mary Hammond’s dad passed in 2001, and her mom in 2021. Though she wishes her parents were still on this earth to see the impacts of the newly created Dorothy and Dwayne Sprenkel Education Scholarship, she’s proud that their names will forever live on at FHSU.

“Fort Hays State University is my family’s university, and the opportunity to provide funds to benefit future generations of students allows me to honor my parents and their memory,” she said.

Though the Hammonds have given back to the university for decades, hearing current FHSU President Dr. Tisa Mason’s heartfelt testimony about recently joining the Wooster Society inspired them to follow suit. Named for FHSU’s fourth president, the Lyman Dwight Wooster Society is the university’s legacy group – honoring individuals who arrange gifts to FHSU through estate and planned giving. As Wooster Society members, the Hammonds will significantly impact student lives in our community for years to come.

Just as the Hammonds have done through their Wooster Society gift, others can designate how they would like their estate and planned gift, regardless of size, to benefit the university. Gifts can be specific to a scholarship, an academic department, a student organization, or an athletic program. Brent Williams, director of development with the FHSU Foundation, can answer questions about how to document an estate or planned gift to FHSU, how to become a member, and how you can leave a legacy at Fort Hays State. Brent can be reached at [email protected] or 785-628-5719 and is more than happy to visit about options.

Membership in the Wooster Society is dependent on whether you have left something to FHSU in your will or trust or have made the university a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, donor-advised fund, or retirement account. There is no specific monetary benchmark associated with the group, however, you must document your gift with the FHSU Foundation office.

“For those who are not yet Wooster Society members, I encourage you to ponder your own legacy and reflect on the profound influence FHSU has had on your journey,” said Dr. Tisa Mason, FHSU president. “Please consider including Fort Hays State University in your estate plans.”

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