It was natural that Dr. Walt Fick would become a range management specialist at K-State. He grew up on a cattle/hay ranch in Holt County, Nebraska, in the northeast part of the Sandhills region of that state. The ranch is still in his family, and Dr. Fick still makes frequent trips back to his family homestead.
Dr. Fick received his B.S. and M.S. degrees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, majoring in range science. His major advisor eventually left for Texas Tech University, and Dr. Fick decided to follow him there to earn his Ph.D. degree – also in range science.
When Dr. Fick first joined the Agronomy faculty at K-State in 1978, the position he filled had just been created. It involved mostly teaching, and some research. Times have changed, and he now has a joint extension/teaching/research appointment. His work focuses primarily on control of brush and invasive species in rangeland, prescribed burning methods, grazing management, and range improvement practices.
Of all the aspects of his position at K-State, Dr. Fick especially enjoys the field aspects of his research and extension programs and the high school classes he teaches in the summer. The summer class is the Kansas Range Youth Camp, which used to be held every year at Rock Springs 4-H Center in Kansas, and is now held at Camp Mennoscah in Kingman County.
In addition to his work for Agronomy, Dr. Fick is involved with Gamma Sigma Delta, one of the two major agriculture honoraries at K-State. The function of this fraternity is to encourage excellence in all aspects of agriculture. Outside of his work at K-State, Dr. Fick enjoys watching college and professional football, basketball, and baseball. Along with following the K-State Wildcats in each of these sports, he admits to being a Kansas City Royals fan, despite the team’s decades of futility on the baseball diamond. His son-in-law has a much easier life as a fan, being a follower of the St. Louis Cardinals!
Dr. Fick’s advice to students: Find a career you enjoy doing. He has followed his own advice, and this philosophy has served him very well throughout his life.