Speaker to share what’s good about Kansas


March 28, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Family is why most Kansans stay put — especially in rural communities — to the great benefit of the state.
That’s the finding of Ron Wilson, who has studied the rural trends of his home state.
Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University, will present his findings at 7 p.m. Thursday in his talk, “Now That’s Rural: Entrepreneurs of Rural Kansas.”
Wilson’s talk is gleaned from more than 900 features Wilson has created for “Kansas Profiles,” a weekly radio show and news column spotlighting innovators and communities of rural Kansas that he has been producing since 1992. It is the final presentation in the 2010-2011 Bowlus Speaker Series.
“I’ll be sharing what I believe are the most interesting profiles that we’ve collected through the years,” Wilson said. “Each profile is a mini case study about an entrepreneur or community leader who is doing something meaningful” for their area or the state, Wilson said.
Wilson’s method for finding subjects is “highly scientific — I stumble across them everywhere,” he said.
“We really started with a business focus,” Wilson said of the series. “We broadened our scope to include community leaders, attractions, events — anything that is important or beneficial to rural communities. We are always on the watch for those extraordinary citizens.”
The radio show “has given me license to learn so much and to ask ‘Why do you choose to remain’” in Kansas, he said. Many choose not to move their businesses to urban centers because of family, Wilson said.
“That’s huge. Family ties are very significant. Often, they’ll say ‘We are here because we want to be here,’ but typically there is some sort of connection, a tie,” that makes individuals devote themselves to their towns, he noted.
Wilson said the Huck Boyd Institute also aims to “encourage pride in Kansas, recognize leaders and entrepreneurs and what can we learn from these individuals.” 
Sharing stories of Kansans with Kansans “primes the pump for others who … see some real life examples of people doing things in a rural setting.
“My dream is that rural Kansas would be the location of choice for our young people — that they can find success and a rewarding career and family” here. “You don’t have to go to L.A. or Atlanta for life,” he said. “I want our young people to experence that, to go far afield, but I also want them to realize they can succeed right here.”
Wilson speaks in the Dale E. Creitz Recital Hall. The event is free to the public.

September 23, 2021
May 1, 2013
April 2, 2011
February 24, 2010