SALINA — Kansas State University Salina has honored former longtime CEO and Dean Dennis Kuhlman with the renaming of a campus building in his honor.
The Welcome Center, which formerly housed the Office of Admissions and now is home to administration offices, has been renamed the Kuhlman Center. The move not only honors Kuhlman’s legacy on campus but also aligns with the campus master plan initiatives.
Kuhlman began his tenure as CEO and dean in 1997. An educational innovator, he had a vision for the transformation of the campus. Kuhlman led the strategic growth of the K-State Salina campus from offering degrees at the associate level only to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was the longest-serving CEO and dean of the campus, retiring in 2012. Kuhlman died in 2020 from complications of COVID-19.
“From the first time Dennis set foot on campus, he didn’t just see what the campus was — he saw what it could be, and he never stopped seeing its future,” said Carol Kuhlman, Kuhlman’s widow.
“Dr. Kuhlman was instrumental in developing the campus into what it is today,” said Alysia Starkey, CEO and dean of K-State Salina. His passion for aviation, engineering and most importantly, students still influences many of our decisions. This building will serve as an enduring testament to a visionary leader, influential mentor and a genuinely remarkable human being.”
The campus master plan is realigning spaces on campus into more efficient zones for students, including an academic zone, student life zone and administration zone. The Kuhlman Center will be the heart of the administration zone.
“We inherited the campus after the closure of Schilling Air Force Base in 1965,” Starkey said. “The site plan and facilities are remnants built for that original purpose. Our facility needs have evolved because of our growth in enrollment and the expansion of expertise in aviation, unmanned systems and advanced manufacturing.”
Starkey said the campus master plan affords K-State Salina the opportunity to be fiscally strategic in managing its growth and to be good stewards of the land and focus on how to best serve the changing needs of its students.
“The campus is honored to keep Kuhlman’s legacy in the forefront of its mission and continue his vision of continual educational innovation and transformation,” Starkey said.
The Kansas Board of Regents approved K-State’s request to rename the Welcome Center in Kuhlman’s honor at its June 17 meeting.