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Bealer named Barton Foundation campaign chair
Rick Bealer 2020
Rick Bealer

The Academic Enrichment Fund (AEF) Campaign is one of the Barton Community College Foundation’s most significant annual fundraising efforts. The campaign runs throughout March and is unique because it allows donors to specialize their gift by choosing which department or fund they would like to benefit from their generosity. All the donations are used for academic scholarships and program enhancements. There is no minimum donation amount.

Rick Bealer of Great Bend is the 2020 AEF Campaign chair and spent 39 years teaching at Barton, so he has witnessed the financial struggles students face. 

“While some students are from relative affluence, most are not,” he said. “In addition, this latter demographic is growing in size each year. I recall students missing class because they lacked money for gas. Students are now required to assume a larger percentage of the financial load in 2020 than they were asked to shoulder even a decade ago. College, even at a community college in central Kansas, is expensive.”

Bealer retired in May of 2019 and joined the Barton Foundation Board of Directors soon after so that he could help make decisions to lessen this financial burden for students. He also said it’s important to realize that people can enhance their lives in more ways than just a better salary through higher education, and that is something that cannot be ignored. 

“It seems we almost always frame the college attendance question around financial outcomes, what some refer to as ‘return on investment,’” he said. “The college graduate or certificate holder typically earn more in a lifetime compared to a high school graduate. While important, there are many other benefits that come with higher education. Attending college changes people in fundamental ways that make for a healthier community and society.”  

The mechanism for donation is designed to be simple and easy: potential donors receive a mailing with a return envelope and a simple form to donate. Contributions are also accepted online at

For more information or to donate, visit or contact Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Coleen Cape at or 620-786-1136.