Skip to content
Kansas Wesleyan University

The ponds, lakes and rivers in Kansas will have a new fixture on them come the second week of March. That’s when Don Sanderson, a groundskeeper at Kansas Wesleyan since August 2016, heads off into retirement and into a pastime he grew to love during his nine years of living in California: fishing.

Born in Ellsworth, Kansas, Sanderson went to work right out of high school, going to Salina Area Technical College at the age of 16, and has lived quite the life since.

“When I turned 16, it was time to get a job and do the thing,” Sanderson said. 

Other than the nine years he lived on the West Coast, he has spent his entire life living in the state of Kansas.

A list of the jobs he’s held includes auto mechanic, coast-to-coast long-haul truck driver, asphalt worker and groundskeeper.

The last one is what brought him to the KWU campus, where he has helped care for the grounds for each of the past seven school years, keeping all of the lawns and flower beds trimmed, picking up trash and moving furniture.

“Don is a constant mover who is always willing to help whenever and wherever he is needed,” said John Swagerty, director of plant operations and Sanderson’s supervisor. “His work ethic is second to none and you can always bank on him being early.”

Along with fishing, Sanderson may also embark on a second career back with the asphalt company he used to work for because otherwise he might be up to, in his words, “nothing.”

“I know of several ponds and the people that own them. Those ponds are well stocked,” Sanderson said, smiling.

Story by Dan Froehlich