HAYS, Kan. – He lived in Hays barely a year. But it was long enough to learn the quality of education the local university had to offer.
So when Matthew Kenwright began seriously thinking about pursuing a master’s degree, he chose Fort Hays State despite living four hours away.
Kenwright, who has lived in the Kansas City area since 2014, will graduate from FHSU this month with a degree in political management in the Master of Professional Studies program through the university’s Virtual College.
He already had decided to take part in Friday’s commencement ceremony even before he realized it was Fort Hays State’s inaugural December graduation. His family thinks it’s important to celebrate milestones, so much so that his parents are flying in from Memphis, Tenn., for the ceremony.
More than 450 graduates are scheduled to receive their diplomas at the 1 p.m. ceremony in Gross Memorial Coliseum, the first of its kind at FHSU following the fall semester.
Kenwright, who grew up in Memphis, landed his first job out of college in 2013 at The Hays Daily News, where he worked for 11 months as a reporter, covering the government and business beats. He also covered occasional events at FHSU and was impressed that a town of 25,000 featured a university with a nationally acclaimed online presence.
“I knew Fort Hays State had excellent online programs back then,” Kenwright said. “So when I was ready to start my master’s, I checked into it. It was very flexible and very affordable while still getting a quality education. I just felt it would be a good fit for me.”
Kenwright returned to the city life in 2014 when he took a job at a magazine in Lenexa, a suburb of Kansas City. He now works as a communications specialist in a Kansas City school district. And he said the concentrations of marketing, leadership and politics in FHSU’s professional studies degree was the perfect blend for him.
“It was a good mixture of the areas I was interested in,” Kenwright said. “The online program was convenient, and I was able to work at my own pace. I’ve been really happy with it.”