Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas, has announced a bequest from the estate of Nonie and Earl Field ('37).
The largest gift in the university's history will support student scholarships in perpetuity in the arts, athletics, and music. Longtime supporters of Fort Hays State, the Fields received the university's Distinguished Service Award, served as members of the university's first capital campaign committee, were members of the Tiger Athlete Difference Makers, and in 1991 were inducted into the Tiger Sports Hall of Fame. Earl Field, who passed away in 2013, also served as board member and president of the FHSU Alumni Association and was a leader of the Tiger Half Century Club.
A year after graduating with degrees in economics and business and going to work for First National Bank of Hays, Field married his childhood sweetheart, Nonie, who attended the university for a year and earned a teaching certificate before working as a teacher in rural Kansas. With his wife's support, Field started and built the Field Abstract and Title Co., which he ran from 1946 until his retirement in 1979. He also chaired the board of the Heritage Savings Association and Heritage Financial Corp. and served as president and chair of Farmers State Bank. Nonie Field passed away in 2009.
"Earl and Nonie did most things as a couple, but a couple with different interests," said FHSU president emeritus Edward H. Hammond, who knew the Fields for twenty-six years. "For Earl it was athletics, and for Nonie it was art and music."
"Earl and Nonie loved this university and realized that scholarships were the lifeline for the future," said FHSU director of athletics Curtis Hammeke. "They didn't anticipate that tuition and educational costs would do anything but rise over the years, and they wanted to assist in providing scholarships that would keep pace."