Buildings named after K-State Acacians

Julius T. Willard, #0001

Willard’s birth and passage of the Morill Act in 1962 is only the first of many parallels between that of Kansas State University and the life of Julius Willard.  Raised in Wabaunsee County, KS, Julius earned his Bachelor of Science from the land-grant college in 1993.  He spent a year at John Hopkins University completing graduate work in chemistry before returning to K-State, where he worked continuously until his death at the age of 88.  Watching three generations complete degrees, Dr. Julius T. Willards 67 years of service to the small college included 18 faculty positions and helped Bluemont College become Kansas State University.

Willard began as an assistant professor in chemistry.  Promoted to department head in 1901, he worked as a chemist with the State Board of Agriculture and food analyst for the State Board of Health extending the services of the university to government offices.  He fulfilled a number of additional positions and duties through the duration of his tenure at K-State.

Despite faculty disproval, Willard stepped into furnish information for petitions to national fraternities and leadership organizations to establish local chapters at K-State.  He achieved the Master Mason status and helped to establish Acacia for students and faculty in 1913.  Known personally to almost 10,000 graduates, Willard made students a priority.

In 1918, Willard stepped in as acting president.  After the appointment of the new president later that year, he served as vice-president for nearly three decades before leaving formal administration duties to devote his time chronicling the history of the students and college.  His collection of official college business included more than 60,000 slips of information filling 32 file drawers.

Henry J. Waters, #0067

Henry Jackson Waters descended from generations of American ancestors, the first of who settled in Jamestown, Virginia in 1608.  The solid line of agricultural heritage continued in Waters as his grandfather settled in Missouri.  Raised on a farm, Waters became involved in all phases of the operation. 

Although he attended public school, his fathers tutoring allowed him to secure a college education from the University of Missouri in 1886.  He worked as an assistant secretary to the Missouri State Board of Agriculture after graduation, and he continued studying agricultural chemistry through graduate school.  Waters worked with the Missouri experiment stations and took a professor position at Pennsylvania State College.

In 1895, Waters retuned to Missouri as the dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the experiment stations.  He helped to increase student enrollment to become the largest college at the university, connect university research to practical struggles of producers and helped pass agriculture-friendly resolutions through state government.

Waters assumed the presidency of Kansas State Agricultural College on July 1, 1909.  Setting high expectations, he immediately lobbied the Board of Regents to raise entrance requirements, worked with administration to settle dissension among faculty and reorganized the core curriculum of the college into eight units.  Henry joined Acacia Fraternity in 1918.

In referring to Waters, Profession J.T. Willard said: When Dr. Waters had thought anything through and made up his mind, he was as vigorous and uncompromising as lighting.  His mind was a well-balanced logic engine, but his heart was big with sympathy for the great middle class in their grappling with the momentous and ever shifting problems of economics and sociology.

Roy A. Seaton, #0099

Raised the native son of K-State graduates from Glasco, Kansas, Roy Andrew Seaton actively participated in the engineering profession for more than five decades.  Seatons professional career helped to develop K-States engineering program into a premier educational institute as he served in a number of leadership positions.

Born in 1884, he followed his fathers footsteps to K-State earning his Bachelor of Science in 1904 and Master of Science in 1910.  Climbing the administrative ladder at his alma mater, he served as instructor and assistant professor of mathematics and mechanical engineering; professor of applied mechanics and machine design; and dean of engineering and architecture.  He belonged to the Baptist church, Republican Party, Masonic Lodge, and many professional societies.  Roy joined Acacia Fraternity in 1920.

Along with the dean position in 1920, he stepped in as director of the Engineering Experiment Station.  Through the twenty-nine years under his leadership, a tenure more than twice as long as predecessors, the department grew in number of graduates, improved in teaching quality, offered advanced technology for classrooms, and became recognized as one of Americas leading schools.

Through his half century at K-State, he took a number of leaves for advanced study, industrial experience, military service and national defense research.  In World War I, Seaton mathematically determined the location of cannons bombing Paris based on the trajectory of the shells within 24 hours of being given the assignment.  In World War II, he administered six-month, college-level training programs to prepare soldiers for war.  After mandatory retirement as dean at the ago of 65, Seaton continued to supervise the construction of several major building projects, including the hall bearing his name.

Kenney L. Ford, #0139

A 1916 graduate of Seneca High School, Kenny L. Ford finished his freshman year at K-State before enlisting with an Army anti-aircraft battalion to spend 14 months in France for World War I. In 1917, he received the rank of private and earned corporal status in 1010. After the war, he returned home of his fathers farm and married his high school sweetheart, Eva. Ford returned to K-State in 1921 to finish his degree three years late. Kenny joined Acacia Fraternity in 1924.

After graduation, Ford settled in Norton, Kan. As a high school agriculture teacher, Ford organized a vocation agriculture department and a number of local county 4-H clubs.  Returning to Manhattan, Ford assumed his duties a K-State Alumni Association executive secretary in 1928. Due to his charismatic leadership style, Ford aligned more than 40,000 to membership in the organization by the time of his retirement nearly 40 years late. His leadership fostered growth in the lifetime membership and earned him the Centennial Award for Distinguished Service.

He helped to launch the K-Stater alumni magazine. In 1957, he served as president of the American Alumni Council. Ford’s academic involvement continued as he earned his Masters in agricultural economics in 1932. Civically, he was a member of the First Christian Church, Rotary, American legion, and Red Cross. Ford sponsored many student activities, including Acacia Fraternity.

Ford helped bring student approval for the construction of the K-State Student Union. He oversaw the legislation for the collection of an activity fee to fund the building, and he turned the first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony. He also headed up the fund drive for a World War II memorial, now known as All Faiths Chapel. He retired in 1966.

Leland D. Bushnell, #0005

Born in Bronion, Michigan on October 19, 1880, Leland David Bushnell joined the K-State bacteriology department in 1908. He earned his undergraduate degree from the Michigan State College in 1905, Masters at the University of Kansas in 1915, and his doctorate from Harvard University in 1921. He belonged to many agricultural and academic honor societies including Alpha Zeta, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, and Gamma Sigma Delta.

Joining the faculty as an assistant professor, Bushnell stepped in as a leader of the bacteriology department. Bushnell advanced to associate professor in 1910 before being named to the assistant professor in charge the next year. He took the formal position of department head in 1912 and served within the post until 1947. The focus of his research included the bacteriology of canned foods, anaerobic bacteria, and poultry diseases. His research resulted in the publication of more than 60 bulletins and articles. Outside of his role at K-State, he belonged to the Masonic Lodge and the Manhattan Rotary Club, where he served as president. Leland joined Acacia Fraternity in 1913 as a founding member of the chapter at Kansas State University.

Bushnell took a number of research leaves to study at Harvard medical School. He set a new standard in updating research skills by taking the first approved sabbatical leave as recorded from university administration. He presented the research conducted at K-State on behalf of the university at many conferences, including the Authority North Central US in Chicago in 1950. He became internationally known within the field, especially in regard to his work with poultry diseases.  After a brief illness, Bushnell died on Christmas Eve 1950.

Vernon D. Foltz, #0183

With a passion for students, Vernon Daniel Tiny Foltz served K-State by teaching, researching, advising the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and mentoring students.

Growing up near Belle Plaine, Kan., Foltz entered K-State as a freshman in 1923 and joined Acacia Fraternity in 1927. He graduated with bachelors and masters degrees in bacteriology and served on the K-State faculty until his death in 1969. As a professor, Foltz’s classes balanced modern theory with practical application. Research centered on food and dairy bacteriology and public health through sanitizing crushed ice and drinking water, eliminating bacteria from ice cream, and identifying pathogens harbored by pets.

Foltz was named acting department head of the Department of Bacteriology from 1952 to 1956. In addition to his campus classes and research, he served as a chairman of the Advisory laboratory Commission to the Kansas State Board of Health for 17 years.

Foltz accepted the faculty advisor position for IFC from 1944 to 1964. His ability to relate and listen to students helped him to reach his first priority of student safety. Regardless of time or situation, he would listen to the students side first before letting you have it with both barrels.

In the 1960s, IFC endowed a scholarship to honor Foltz’s contributions to the Greek community. Former president James McCain named part of a ten-acre housing unit off North Manhattan Ave and McCain Lane as Foltz Terrace. The K-State Student honored Foltz as the namesake for the Council Chambers room where IFC conducted meetings.

One staple to Foltz’s appearance was a trademark moustache, grown for more than 40 years. As an undergraduate student, Foltz entered a bet with two fellow students. Four decades later, none of them compromised to maintain the wager of a lasting friendship.