MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — The president of Kansas State University has started a tradition of giving special coins to members of the school community as a token of appreciation.

The coin features a purple Powercat and President Richard Myers' name on one side, with the university seal on the other, the Manhattan Mercury reported .

Myers said the tradition is inspired from his time in the U.S. military, where members received challenge coins from commanding officers as a token of gratitude.

"That was a military tradition for rewarding people for doing really good work," he said.

Myers said he awards the coins at the university to show his appreciation.

"If someone has done something a little out of the ordinary, I'll present them with a coin," he said. "It's usually for efforts above and beyond. We aren't just going to hand them out."

Recently, Myers awarded a coin to Bryna Vogel, a senior who had to end her volleyball career at the university after seriously injuring her knee.

"It's just a nice little token," Myers said. "Here's K-State in your hand."

Myers said he gave her the coin because of her leadership on the team, and he wanted her to know the university appreciates her despite the injury.

"It was definitely hard because he was talking about how he wishes I was still out there being able to play," Vogel said. "He felt I really deserved it because of all of the work and commitment I've put into the team."

The president estimates he's handed out about 50 coins to faculty, staff and students at the university.

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Information from: The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, http://www.themercury.com