Kansas State University President Leaving For Washington State

Mar 25, 2016

Kansas State University President Kirk Schultz speaking at a recent Board of Regents meeting. Schultz says he's leaving K-State for the top job at Washington State.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR

The president of Kansas State University stunned Manhattan Friday when he announced he was leaving for the top job at Washington State University.

Kirk Schultz came to Kansas State seven years ago.

In that time, according to K-State, research grants have increased as have donations to the university.

He plans on leaving Manhattan in May.

"Noel and I have thoroughly enjoyed our seven years at Kansas State — it has been an exciting time to be a Wildcat and a part of the K-State Family," Schultz said in a statement posted to the KSU website. "Being part of transforming our multiple campuses has been the highlight of my career in higher education."

His wife Noel is also very accomplished. She the associate dean for research and graduate programs in the College of Engineering and a professor of Electrical Engineering at Kansas State.

Schultz is also a major player in college athletics. He is chair of the NCAA Board of Governors.

The Kansas Board of Regents says they were informed of Schultz's decision Friday and will being the search process shortly.

Schultz leaves at a time of turmoil in education in Kansas. This month Gov. Sam Brownback cut $17 million, three percent, from higher education in response to tax revenues that persistently fall below expectations. In February Schultz announced a two percent reduction in the budgets of all academic and administrative units at K-State.

Regent institutions are also preparing to deal with a conceal and carry law that will let almost anyone carry a gun on campus. The universities vigorously opposed the law.

Schultz came to K-State from Mississippi State where he was vice president for research and economic development.

Schultz’s last contract paid him $467,000, but he’ll probably be getting a big raise at Washington State.

Last year,former president Elson Floyd made $877,000, the fourth highest of any public university president in the country, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Floyd, who came to Washington State from the University of Missouri, died last June from complications of colon cancer.

Sam Zeff is an education reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can follow him on Twitter, @samzeff.