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Kansas Wesleyan University

Words from Dr. Matt Thompson


Thank you for taking the time to find out more about the dynamic community at Kansas Wesleyan. We are fully committed to all aspects of our mission — academic excellence, spiritual development, personal well-being and social responsibility — and we demonstrate this in ways both big and small.

It can be seen in the personal attention that our professors offer students. These relationships are often cited by alumni as key to helping them achieve academic success, grow personally and pursue professional goals. Our commitment is evident in the more than $30 million dollars raised for upgrades to academic facilities and technology, new and updated student housing, the forthcoming Bieber Dining Hall and the renovation and expansion of Sams Chapel and music spaces. Our campus thrives due, in large part, to community partnerships and alumni relationships that create internship and out-of-the-classroom opportunities for students.

We recognize that having a plurality of experiences better prepares students to face tomorrow’s challenges. That is why we enthusiastically support our 25 NAIA athletic teams, our DECA business competition team, numerous music ensembles and multiple theatrical performances. We have a one-of-its-kind Campus Ministry program, where every team and several academic units have dedicated chaplains who attend practices, games and performances to make themselves fully available to students. In addition, Monday Night Alive, small groups and Fellowship of Christian Athletes feed students’ spiritual growth. From intramurals to Debate and Forensics, there are so many ways that students can become involved, gain new skills and meet new friends.

If there is anything I may do to assist you in your exploration of Kansas Wesleyan, please be in touch. Come to my monthly open Coyote Chats, join me and my family for dinner in Shriwise Dining Hall, catch me at a Coyote athletic competition or sit next to me at a fine arts event. Keep up to date on campus happenings on our news page and follow us on social media. I hope to see you on campus soon!

All the best,

Matt Thompson

President Thompson on campus

Dr. Matt Thompson

Since April 15, 2013, Dr. Matthew R. Thompson has served as the 19th president of Kansas Wesleyan University. In a world where academic leadership changes quickly, Thompson has been a beacon of consistency for KWU. He is the fourth-longest serving president in the university’s 137-year history.

That consistency has led to exceptional growth. The university has increased its endowment by nearly 50%, posted record enrollment (and a 30% increase since 2019) and engaged in the most significant changes to its footprint ever. KWU added its first new, on-campus academic building in 50-plus years with the 2021 opening of the Nursing Education Center. This will be followed by the January 2024 opening of Coyote Village (the university’s first newly constructed student housing in some six decades) and renovation and expansion of music facilities, including Sams Chapel, which will open in the fall of 2024.

Thompson champions practical, real-world collaborations that can increase opportunities for everyone. Work with the Salina Family YMCA, local law enforcement and nationally known nonprofits have all provided new chances for students to work, learn and engage with the world around them. This includes the university’s launch of the Community Resilience Hub, an initiative focused on work that will lead to a more stable, secure and equitable ecosystem in the region.

KWU’s leader is also an advocate for the university’s diversity, equity and inclusion work that engages with DEI-related questions and issues, both on campus and in the community.

Thompson has also fostered efforts to realize the importance of spirituality on KWU’s campus and to adhere to KWU’s faith-based ideals; that is, to respect the philosophy espoused by the United Methodist Church: “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” KWU’s Campus Ministry program has grown noticeably during his tenure. Each athletic program and numerous activities have designated chaplains, who provide spiritual leadership and care for the students, and KWU has added an additional campus pastor, as well.

Before coming to KWU, Thompson served as the vice president for advancement at Florida Southern College. Beginning his career at his alma mater, Mercer University, Thompson has served in a variety of administrative posts. He has a broad base of experience, including advancement and fundraising, student life, academic curricula development, and alumni and community relations.

Thompson serves on several boards and committees in Salina and the state. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Theatre Arts and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University. His Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration is from the University of Georgia.

Thompson is an Eagle Scout and served as a page in the U.S. House of Representatives.

He, his wife, Jennifer, and their daughter enjoy traveling as a family, participating in all aspects of campus life and attending the many cultural arts opportunities in the Salina community.

More Information

Coyote Chats With President Thompson

Dr. Thompson invites students, faculty and staff to stop by and visit about any topics, or to share good news about your area of interest.

No Appointment necessary.

Visits are kept to 10-minutes to allow others who attend to meet with Dr. Thompson.

2024 Dates:

Friday, February 2, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Student Activities Center

Wednesday, March 22, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
President’s Office, PH #220

Wednesday, April 19, 2-3 p.m.
Student Activities Center


Coyote Chats With President Thompson – 2023 Dates and Times

Focused Vision Statement

This focused vision statement is the guiding set of principles that shapes the actions and decisions taken by all members of the KWU community.

List of KWU Presidents

Dr. Matthew R. Thompson: 2013 – Present

Dr. A. Wayne Lowen (Interim): 2012-2013

Dr. Fletcher M. Lamkin: 2010—2012

Dr. Craig Dean Willis (Interim): 2009

Dr. Philip P. Kerstetter: 2002-2009

Rev. Dr. Marshall P. Stanton: (Interim – Dec. 1983-Feb. 1984) 1984-2002

Dr. Daniel L. Bratton: 1973-1983

Rev. C.M. Fogleman, Jr. (Interim): 1973

Dr. Paul W. Renich: 1969-1973

Rev. Dr. D. Arthur Zook: 1955-1969

George W. Richards (Acting): 1954-1955

Dr. A. Stanley Trickett: 1950-1954

Herbert J. Root: 1946-1950

E.K. Morrow: 1938-1946

Rev. Dr. Larkin B. Bowers: 1919-1937

Albert H. King (Acting): 1918-1919

Dr. John F. Harmon: 1915-1918

Dr. Robert P. Smith: 1908-1915

Thomas W. Roach: 1903-1908

Wilbur F. Hoyt (Acting): 1902-1903

Ansel Gridley (Acting): 1902

Milton E. Phillips: 1900-1902

F.D. Tubbs (Acting): 1899-1900

George J. Hagerty: 1896-1899

Edward W. Mueller: 1894-1896

Dr. Aaron Schuyler: 1887-1894

William F. Swahlen: 1886-1887

Contact Information

You can contact the President’s office at (785) 833-4302 or by emailing Executive Assistant to the President Jan Shirk at [email protected].