MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Board of Regents on Tuesday made Richard Myers, a retired four-star general and former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, president at Kansas State University, promoting him after he served as interim president since April.
The regents voted unanimously to promote Myers to president of the land-grant university in Manhattan, which has about 24,000 students.
“Well, I guess the honeymoon is over,” Myers joked after the vote. “I think we have a role in the future, and that is granting access to all who want to come to a university. We have some challenges ahead of us.”
Myers, 74, replaced former president Kirk Schulz, who left in March to become Washington State University’s president.
Myers graduated from Kansas State in 1965 and joined the military through the ROTC program at the university. After his retirement from the military, Myers was a part-time professor of military history and leadership before being named interim president. He was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Nov. 9, 2005.
The president will face some weighty issues, from cuts in state funding to Kansas’ public universities to the looming allowance of concealed weapons on campus.
The amount of money Kansas State has received from the state has shrunk from $163 million in the 2010 fiscal year to $158 million in the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2017, the university has said.
Most recently, Republican Gov. Sam Brownback issued budget cuts in May and June to help shore up the state’s budget, including 4 percent cuts to the state’s six public universities. But Kansas State and the University of Kansas each took proportionately larger cuts of about 5 percent because the smaller universities rely more heavily on state funding for their overall operating budgets than the larger research institutions.
Starting in July, Kansas State and other public universities in the state must allow anyone 21 or older to have concealed firearms on campus in buildings that don’t have security measures, including metal detectors — an option widely considered cost-prohibitive for most campus buildings.
Myers’ becomes the second high-profile military man to be appointed to a leadership position in the last two years. In January 2015, The University of Texas System hired Retired Adm. William McRaven as chancellor of the 15-campus system. McRaven, a San Antonio native and graduate of the University of Texas, is a former Navy Seal and led the U.S. Special Operations Command before his selection as chancellor.