MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – Former Kansas State University (K-State) President, Dr. Jon Wefald, died of a heart attack on Saturday, April 16. He was 84-years-old.

Dr. Jon Wefald (Courtesy: Kansas State University)

According to the K-State Collegian, Wefald was the president of K-State for 23 years, from 1986 to 2009. This is the second-longest tenure for a K-State president. The longest term was served by James McCain, exceeding Welfald’s by two years.

During Welfald’s tenure, enrollment grew nearly 50% and 2.2 million square feet of new buildings were added.

Wefald’s name is also a part of Wefald Hall, the newest K-State dorm building in the Kramer Dining Complex. In addition, his name, along with his wife’s name, is a part of the Jon and Ruth Ann Wefald Pavillion in Manhattan’s City Park.

The current President of K-State, Richard Linton, released the following statement on Facebook and Twitter:

The K-State Family is deeply saddened to learn of former K-State President Jon Wefald’s passing. Dr. Wefald’s legacy is one of transformation, growth and a true passion for our great university. Our condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.

K-State President Richard Linton

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, Senator Dr. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also released statements on social media:

“I am saddened to learn that former K-State President Jon Wefald’s has passed away. Dr. Wefald was a transformative leader. In his 23-year presidency, he grew the state university’s enrollment and footprint, making great strides in developing K-State to be the institution it is today. My thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly

Sad to hear of the passing of one of @KState’s most impactful and transformational leaders. Proud to call him a friend. He will be dearly missed.

Senator Dr. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.)

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jon Wefald today. As President, he shepherded Kansas State University through one of its toughest periods, successfully navigating the university though the uncertain terrain of K-State’s athletic program and enrollment issues. I remember seeing not just K-State’s, but Manhattan’s, progress during his tenure, and the revitalization the community continues to enjoy is due in large part to his 23 years of leadership at the helm.

President Wefald cared deeply about students and the K-State community. He had a keen ability to identify potential in young people and mentor them to help reach it. He did so for both of my daughters as he recruited them into the K-State family.

Robba and I are praying for his wife, Ruth Ann, his sons, Andy and Skipp, and their families and loves ones.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)