MANHATTAN — Kansas State University’s newest residence hall on the Manhattan campus will be named Wefald Hall in honor of Jon Wefald, who served as the university’s 12th president from July 1986 to June 2009. It will be the first residence hall built on the university’s main campus since Haymaker Hall in 1967 and will be open for the fall semester in August 2016.
“We are pleased to honor one of our key figures in Kansas State University’s proud heritage with a residence hall that will be a cornerstone in the student life experience on campus,” said Kirk Schulz, university president. “Wefald Hall is an important addition that helps Kansas State University meet its evolving student needs as we move forward to becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025.”
The hall’s naming follows approval from the Kansas Board of Regents on June 18.
“There was not one thing that wasn’t positively affected by Jon Wefald’s vision, passion and leadership during his presidency,” said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. “It is incredibly significant that this living-learning environment be dedicated to his legacy.”
Wefald Hall is an eight floor, 129,000-square-foot residence hall that will house 540 students with additional apartments for key staff. The hall will be part of the Kramer Complex on Claflin Road and is designed to be a transformational space for student living and integrated learning. It includes academic spaces to create a nontraditional environment that fosters student learning outside the classroom.
In addition to Wefald Hall, the larger $76 million project includes a new dining facility and renovations to Marlatt and Goodnow halls, said Derek Jackson, university director of housing and dining services.
Currently, the Manhattan campus can accommodate 5,469 students in its residence halls and Jardine Apartments. Demand for on-campus housing has remained high for a decade, with roughly 600 students in overflow housing for the past two years and a constant waiting list to live on campus, Jackson said. According to university projections, demand for on-campus housing is expected to grow to more than 6,600 students by 2025.
Site preparation will begin by the end of June, with construction starting in September. Wefald Hall will open for the fall semester in August 2016.
Wefald began his 23 years of service as president of Kansas State University in July 1986.
Under Wefald’s presidency, the university added more than 2.2 million square feet of new buildings; philanthropy increased from $6 million a year to nearly $100 million annually; research funding grew from $18 million annually to nearly $134 million; and enrollment increased from around 16,000 students to more than 23,000.
At the same time, Kansas State University produced 125 Rhodes, Truman, Goldwater and Udall scholars — more than any other public university in the nation, said James Coffman, a professor emeritus of clinical sciences and former dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine who served as provost for 17 years under the Wefald presidency.
“It’s very fitting that this new residence hall is named after Jon Wefald because student success was one of the main elements of his legacy at Kansas State University,” Coffman said. “Not only did he work to make sure that more students were recruited, but he made sure that they received a first-rate education when they enrolled and that there was a system to help those top academic students win major scholarships.”
In addition to his contributions to academics, research and infrastructure, Wefald helped revitalize the university’s football program.
“I appreciate the regents and our administration led by Dr. Schulz for recognizing Dr. Wefald with this honor,” said Bill Snyder, K-State head football coach. “It is appropriate in that Jon and Ruth Ann truly cared about the students on our campus and their well-being. Such a well-deserved recognition for their long-standing service to our university, our community and our state.”