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KU News Release

May 3, 2006
Contact: Margey Frederick, KU Visitors Center, (785) 864-7103.

2006 Wheat State Whirlwind Tour to take KU on the road May 19, 22-26

Wheat State

Ranch owner Scott Ritchie leads
Wheat State tour participants on a
hike through Flint Hills prairie.

LAWRENCE — The six-day, 1,500-mile Wheat State Whirlwind Tour will introduce University of Kansas faculty and staff, including the new provost and two new deans, to the history, economy and landscape of Kansas this month.

The tour was started in 1997 as a way for faculty and staff new to Kansas to learn history, visit some of the home communities of their students and meet residents throughout the state. Among the nearly 40 participants this year are new Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Lariviere, School of Law Dean Gail Agrawal and School of Education Dean Rick Ginsberg. Lariviere said he jumped at the opportunity to take the tour.

“I am keen to visit other parts of Kansas and to learn from the folks more about what makes Kansas tick. I have a great deal to learn about the state, the economy and how KU meets their expectations. I am looking forward to this with enthusiasm,” Lariviere said.

Highlights of this year’s tour will include stops at the Brown v. Board of Education Historic Site in Topeka, the National Orphan Train Museum in Concordia, a wind turbine farm in Montezuma and the Palco wheat farm of Don Steeples, vice provost for scholarly support and the McGee Distinguished Professor of Geophysics.

Popular stops from previous years, including roaming with buffalo at the Duff Ranch in Logan County and viewing the Monument Rocks in Gove County, will continue this year.

“Tour participants have the opportunity to view firsthand the history, culture, cuisine, geography, architecture and commerce in various towns and communities, while they discuss timely issues with the local residents,” said Margey Frederick, director of visitor services and special events.

The tour will begin Friday, May 19, with a trip to the Kansas Speedway, the Marais des Cygnes Massacre and Battle of Mine Creek state historic sites in Linn County and other stops in Fort Scott and Louisburg. It will resume May 22 with stops in more than 20 cities and 22 counties, including tours in rural areas.

Monday, May 22: Topeka, Manhattan, Marysville and Concordia.
Tuesday, May 23: Lucas, Palco, Nicodemus and Colby.
Wednesday, May 24: Gove County, Logan County, Garden City, Montezuma and Dodge City.
Thursday, May 25: Mullinville, Medicine Lodge, Pratt, Arlington, Inman and Hutchinson.
Friday, May 26: Yoder, Lyon County, Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway, who sponsors the tour, will join the tour participants for lunch May 22 with Kansas State University faculty at their campus in Manhattan. Faculty will also meet on the Dodge City Community College campus with President Richard Burke. In Hutchinson, tour participants will meet members of the Central Kansas KU Alumni Chapter for dinner at the encampment building at the State Fairgrounds.

Steeples, who has been on the tour every year since its inception, said he enjoys sharing the culture of western Kansas with tour participants.

“The tour is an opportunity for KU faculty and staff to sample the geographical and cultural backgrounds from which many of our students come. Similarly, it is a chance for Kansans outside Lawrence and Kansas City to meet some of the new folks at KU.”

To view daily itineraries and maps of this year’s route, visit the Wheat State Whirlwind Tour Web site at


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. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045