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K-State’s Stanley Stout Center carries on legacy of livestock industry leaders.
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Just over a year after opening its doors, Kansas State University’s Stanley Stout Center is proving it’s more than just a livestock marketing facility. In March 2013, the building opened its doors with a dedication ceremony in honor of its namesake, longtime livestock auctioneer and K-State supporter Stanley Stout, who died in 2006.
“There are two things I know about Stanley Stout,” Dave Nichols, teaching coordinator and professor for the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at K-State, told listeners at the building’s dedication ceremony. “He hated long pre-sale speeches, and all sales start on time.”
As he was clearly not a fan of wasted time, Stout would likely be impressed with the efforts given by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the Kansas State Foundation, the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and more than 300 donors for the center.
Operational for just more than a year, the facility has hosted numerous campus and community-related events, including 4-H Discovery Days, banquets, youth events, Kansas Livestock Association meetings, Kansas Department of Agriculture meetings, retirement dinners, fall socials, and last year, a tailgate celebration at the K-State versus North Dakota State University football game. The building also plays host to academic courses, the Legacy sale and other livestock sales.
“The facility is turning out to be incredibly useful,” said Ken Odde, head of the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry at K-State. “It’s a very functional facility so we’re really pleased with it.”
Fundraising efforts started well enough in 2007, with about $200,000 raised toward a proposed cattle sale facility, but then it stalled for about five years. It was revived in 2012, then in just two years, more than two-thirds of the funds required to complete the facility were raised.
Agricultural producer and distinguished K-State alumnus Richard Porter helped revive fundraising efforts for the facility after learning of the project in 2011. Porter’s enthusiasm reenergized the project and provided the momentum it needed to move forward.
“I didn’t think there was any economic justification for a $700,000 sale arena used a few days a year, but I thought there was a huge need for a $1.5 million multi-use facility used nearly every day, that would also be a fantastic sale arena” Porter said.
“The original plan was for just one open area. So following a sale the bleachers would have to be torn down, and the guests would have to wait, till the tables and chairs were hauled in. This would be even more difficult because there was not storage for either,”
Porter explained. “I wanted it big enough that your sale or livestock event and tables could be set up in here so you could be doing two things at once. The size was nearly doubled, so the Stout Center also has a class room and offices.”
Thanks to the functionality of the facility, Nichols is confident that the facility will host more sales and events in the future. Presently, K-State’s Legacy Sale and the Kansas Beef Expo are the only two livestock sales that have been hosted at the Stanley Stout Center.
“We’re adding some additional facilities and pens that will make it much nicer for other sales to be here,” Nichols said. “All the things we add increases the flexibility of the place. It’s a work in progress. We haven’t reached its full potential, but we get more and more ideas all the time. The Department of Animal Sciences will continue to utilize the building to expand teaching opportunities to students.”
Another spurt of fundraising came in the fall of 2013 paying off over half of the remaining debt, and Odde said the facility continues to make progress.
“We have a facility that is serving Kansas State University and the livestock industry in many different ways,” Odde said. “We’re very appreciative to all the people who have helped make that possible, especially the donors.”
Emilie Fink, development officer for the College of Agriculture with the Kansas State University Foundation, said the Stanley Stout Center truly is a multi-purpose facility that is serving the needs of students, faculty, extension and industry partners.
“Since the doors opened in 2013, the building has hosted numerous events and educational experiences, solidifying its need on our K-State campus,” Fink said. “A contribution to this center benefits hundreds and thousands of people on an annual basis.”
The idea for the new facility came from Stout himself, Nichols said, during one of K-State’s livestock sales. With the sale formerly housed in a tent, Stout was both amused and unimpressed by the condition of its former facility.
Nichols said he recalls Stout making remarks about the ceiling of the purebred sale’s tent, saying that if it started raining, there weren’t enough buckets for all the holes. He believes that’s what drove the idea of a sale center in Stout’s name.
Stout was an entertainer, Nichols said, always pulling pranks on the kids. “He was a phenomenal auctioneer and a huge K-State supporter, but also one of those personalities that was bigger than life. He truly enjoyed life.”
Nichols said the entire facility is a dedication to keeping a legacy alive. “It’s a tremendous legacy of long-term leadership, livestock leaders, a dedication to Kansas State and the relationship between them.”
The center has rooms named after Jack Riley, the head of Animal Science and Industry for 17 years; Calvin Drake, emeritus professor and former director of the Livestock and Meat Industry Council (LMIC); Pat Koons, president of LMIC when the Stout Center was built, the Kansas Livestock Association, and Richard and Walter Porter.
Though not a K-State graduate, Stout was a loyal friend and longtime supporter of K-State who enjoyed working with students.
“Stanley Stout threw his heart into helping other people,” Porter said. “He was dedicated to helping others, and good things flow from that. For his entire life, he showed the highest loyalty to K-State, the cattle industry and his friends. Stanley left this earth much too soon, but his friends are returning the favor by naming this building in his honor.”
For more information on the Stanley Stout Center, contact Ken Odde at email@example.com or 785-532-1227. For more information concerning donations to the facility, contact Emilie Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-532-7571, or visit the Kansas State University Foundation website.