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KU News Release

April 18, 2005
Contact: Margey Frederick, KU Visitors Center, (785) 864-2341.

KU faculty to visit more than 25 Kansas cities on whirlwind tour in May

LAWRENCE -- The Wheat State Whirlwind six-day tour of Kansas for University of Kansas faculty will begin a 1,500-mile route on May 20 and continue May 23 through 27 for visits in more than 25 cities.

Highlights will include the tour's first visit to Manhattan and Kansas State University as well as the tour's first visits to five more Kansas communities: Concordia, Inman, Marysville, Pratt and St. John.

The tour will begin with an orientation day on Friday, May 20, with visits to three eastern Kansas communities: Kansas City, Kan., Fort Scott and Iola, as well as a tour of the Mine Creek Battlefield historic site in Linn County.

On May 23, the day after commencement, about 40 faculty and professional staff members will head west following a counterclockwise route:

Monday, May 23: Topeka, Wamego, Manhattan, Marysville, Belleville, Concordia
Tuesday, May 24: Sylvan Grove, Lake Wilson, Lucas, Palco, Nicodemus, Colby
Wednesday, May 25: Oakley, Scott City, Garden City, Montezuma, Dodge City
Thursday, May 26: Mullinville, Medicine Lodge, Pratt, St. John, Inman, Hutchinson
Friday, May 27: Yoder, Wichita, Cottonwood Falls, Council Grove, Lawrence

Typically KU faculty visit with residents at each stop to learn about the unique qualities of as many regions of Kansas as possible.

New sites this year include a visit with a farm machinery and axle trailer manufacturer, Landoll Corp. in Marysville, which markets around the world; the site of a World War II prisoner of war camp and the future site of the National Orphan Train complex both at Concordia; a state fish hatchery in Pratt; a retired teacher's science museum in St. John; and the Kansas Sampler Foundation in Inman.

KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who sponsors the tour, will join the faculty for dinner on Wednesday night in Dodge City. The presidents of two community colleges, James Miesner of Fort Scott and Richard Burke of Dodge City, will meet with the faculty during those stops. In Concordia, Jackie Barton, student services dean at Cloud County Community College will meet with the KU faculty. Area KU alumni also will invite the KU faculty for dinner in Dodge City and in Concordia.

As in previous years, faculty will roam with the buffalo at the Duff ranch in Logan County; climb aboard a combine at a wheat farm in Palco, northwest of Hays; and explore the Grass Roots Art Center in Lucas.

Margey Frederick, KU director of visitor services and special events for university relations, is co-directing the tour with Don Steeples, vice provost for scholarly support and the McGee distinguished professor of geology.

"Our goal is to offer faculty opportunities to learn about the economies as well as the history and cultures of Kansas communities," Frederick said.

Steeples added: "We often hear from faculty who have been on previous Wheat State Whirlwind tours that they have felt more connected with their students after visiting in many of their hometowns." Steeples has been on board for all eight years of the tour, working to introduce KU faculty to the concerns of rural communities typical of his hometown, Palco, where he and his brother, Dave, continue to farm.

Other faculty aboard as guides will include Craig Freeman, Kansas Biological Survey associate scientist; Don Stull, professor of anthropology; and Jim McCauley, Kansas Geological Survey associate scientist. Marlesa Roney, vice chancellor for student success and Concordia native, will board the bus in Belleville to give faculty a tour of her hometown.

Hemenway initiated the tour in 1997 as a way to introduce faculty new to Kansas to the people and terrain of their new home state. The week on the bus also offers new KU faculty opportunities to meet faculty from other departments and campuses.

To view photographs from previous years' tours, daily itineraries and maps of this year's route, visit the Wheat State Whirlwind Web site at www.wheatstate.ku.edu/.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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