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Kansas State University President Diagnosed with Throat and Tongue Cancer


MANHATTAN, Kan. — In a letter addressing the K-State community today, Kansas State University President Richard Linton shared the difficult news that this past week he was diagnosed with throat and tongue cancer. This will require Linton to pursue daily treatments in Kansas City with the KU Cancer Center for the next few months. 

President Linton said he wouldn’t normally share personal information with the public like this, but said he owed it to his “K-State family” to keep them informed. He also said this was not how he envisioned starting the fall semester, but knows that it is necessary that he take the steps forward as the cancer is treatable and curable.

“I need to be at my best for this institution — you deserve that from me, and in consultation with my medical team, I also know this is what is best for me and my family,” Linton shared.

Linton opened the letter with the new strategic plan launch coming up.

“I like to think of our university at the starting line of our future, revving up the engine louder and more confidently than ever before,” Linton said. “We’re seeking final input on the draft plan, putting all the people and pieces in place, and building up the energy so much that the only option is to catapult forward. This energy is indeed a driving force for this institution, and that is because of each and every one of you who are engaged with and invested in our great university. Our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and friends are truly our backbone — you step up whenever and wherever needed to advance our mission and vision forward. Your shared optimism means the world to this institution — and to me personally, now more than ever.”

Linton said he will stay engaged with the university and the work they are doing, but won’t be able to be present in the way the community has known him to be. Much of his work will be remote from Kansas City. With the support of the Kansas Board of Regents, another university leader will be appointed to partner with Linton in a special capacity during this time.

Dr. Marshall Stewart, senior vice president and chief of staff, will represent Linton at important university events and meetings and collaborate with him on decision making.

“Dr. Stewart and I are completely aligned in how we lead this university, and we will continue to ensure we’re aligned through regular communication. Place your trust in him as you have with me — he will ensure we continue our planned path forward together,” Linton said.

Linton thanked the medical professionals who have and will continue to help him on his journey and the local physician and team at the KU Cancer Center.

“And of course, I am eternally grateful for the love of my family — Sally, Lily and Chris. Their support always has and always will lift me up every day,” Linton said. “I know the energy generated from the support of my entire Wildcat family will also do the same.”

President Linton ended his letter with a positive message about looking to the future with optimism.

“K-Staters don’t shy away from difficult situations or moments of uncertainty,” Linton said. “We face them head on and fight for the greatest outcome. That is what I do for you every day, and that is what I will continue to do for you as I embark on this journey.”