Jack Riley Student Center Dedicated
K-State ASI department honors former department head Jack Riley renaming the newly renovated Weber Hall Lounge in his memory.
MANHATTAN, Kan. – The recently renovated Kansas State University Animal Sciences and Industry (ASI) Department Weber Hall Lounge was named the Jack Riley Student Center on Friday, February 22. The updated area below the famous Weber Arena was renamed in honor of Dr. Jack Riley who served as ASI department head for 17 years.
"Dr. Riley was one of the kindest, caring leaders I've ever met," says Dr. Dave Nichols, K-State ASI teaching coordinator and professor. "He believed in students and working as a team to advance our animal science program."
Dr. Riley was known as an incredible teacher, but more importantly a great friend and advisor to KSU ASI students. He joined the K-State ASI faculty in 1971. During his time at K-State he taught more than 7,000 students in his 35 years of teaching. He served as the Beef Research Unit faculty coordinator for 16 years, and was department head from 1987 to 2004.
"He was truly a wonderful man and a wonderful administrator," Curtis Kastner, ASI professor emeritus, says. "What Dr. Riley did as department head has carried on through the years and has set the stage for keeping students as the primary focus."
During his 17-year tenure as department head, courses were revised to provide greater "hands-on" experiences, curriculum modifications and innovations were implemented, and undergraduate enrollment more than doubled. He retired from the department in January 2010.
"You can measure one's legacy and the success of a department head by not only the enrollment increase but also by the staff hired," Nichols says. It was Riley's inspiring leadership and story that sparked the idea of the new Jack Riley Student Center.
After his passing in December 2017, the ASI department was eager to honor Dr. Riley's legacy and dedication to K-State. When the Rogler family provided the funding for the renovation of Weber Hall Lounge, it was the prime opportunity to honor Dr. Riley.
Thanks to the teamwork of Sabrina Ault, ASI business manager, and John Wolfe, meat lab manager, the new paint, carpet and seating has provided an improved look and feel to the student center. Yet, more progressive change comes in the form of new technology and features for students to use and collaborate with. White boards for studying, access to meeting rooms and screens for student presentations are just a few examples of the updates found in the new student center.
"When I came into the lounge for the first time and saw the renovations, I was excited that the student area of Weber had seen a makeover," says Taylor Belle Matheny, K-State ASI senior. "It is because of people like the Jack Riley family that K-State continues to get improvements that are going to help current students and those who will follow in the coming years."
The dedication and renaming of the Weber Hall Lounge is a well-earned tribute to Dr. Riley's commitment to K-State. The Jack Riley Student Center will serve as a reminder of the contributions Dr. Riley made to the department, and its students, for years to come.