Fall 2009




The manual typewriter wasn't such a rarity 35 years ago when the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program was established at WSU. Today, the program - among the oldest in the nation - offers serious, aspiring writers an apprenticeship in writing fiction, poetry and nonfiction, enriched by the study of literature.

Hallowed Hallways

It would have been a more lucrative career. But in 1989, during her senior year of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Lisa Meiers '05 had an inkling that her professional life was going to veer from the path she had originally envisioned.

My Greensburg Experience

This summer semester The Shocker's student editorial assistant Molly Walsh embarked on what has been aptly described as a "boot camp" for journalists: Greensburg Rebirth. Here is Walsh's first-hand report about her two-week stay in Greensburg, Kan., the tornado-ravaged town that has gained worldwide attention for rebuilding "green."

Governor Mark Parkinson

Mark Parkinson '80 took over the Kansas gubernatorial reigns from Kathleen Sebelius on April 28, the day Sebelius gained Senate confirmation as the 21st U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Parkinson is Kansas' 45th governor.



Readers write in to comment on The Shocker and its contents.


Shock Talk

Shockers everywhere, at events long ago to happenings just the other day, always have something interesting to say.


Shocker Faces

Shocker personalities show up everywhere. Take a look!

Rise & Shine Celebrates 13th Season

For the 13th season, the WSU Distinguished Alumni Speaker Breakfast 'Rise & Shine' Series dishes up eye-opening lectures and savory breakfast buffets at the Marcus Welcome Center on Wichita State's beautiful campus.

We're Not Back to School Bash III

For the third year, the WSU Alumni Association threw a parking-lot party for Shockers not heading back to school for the fall semester — although quite a few 21-and-older Wichita State students, as well as university administrators, were spotted in the crowd of nearly 200.

Gridiron Tales

Eighty-six former Shocker football players and coaches returned to campus May 15-16 for an all-years reunion, hosted by the wsu Alumni Association.

Homecomings Past - and Future

Every fall semester since 1991, Wichita State students have come together for Shocktoberfest, slated this year for Oct. 10-26.


There is a lot going on at the alumni association. Here is a sampling.

President's Corner

Each of us has our own reason why Wichita State University is an important part of our lives. The WSU Alumni Association exists to provide you with a range of opportunities to keep your connection with the University alive.

Director's Corner

The longer I have the privilege of serving as the executive director of the WSU Alumni Association, the surer I become about one thing.


Places of Remembrance

In one of the worst tragedies in college sports history, one of two planes carrying Wichita State football players, administrators, athletic staff members and team supporters crashed at approximately 3 p.m., Fri., Oct. 2, 1970, on a mountainside not too far from Silver Plume, Colo., killing 31.

Community Action

WSU vice president and general counsel Ted Ayres' call for volunteers to help out at Wichita's Lord's Diner -- which feeds those in need with hot, nutritious meals -- elicited a chorus of yeses.


These Gleanings entries survey the current university scene and feature original illustrations by Scott Dawson ’86.


Shock Art

Randy Phillis shares his poetry and Martha Wherry her visual art in this edition of Shock Art, which spotlights artistic alums.


Convo 09

Shockers packed into Charles Koch Arena for Convocation 2009 on Sept. 1. WSU President Don Beggs, Ron Matson, associate professor of sociology, and Collin Stieben '00, WSU Alumni Association president, were headline speakers.


Lifelong Learning

Retirement doesn't fit LaVerne L. Baker's '56/81 personality. "Many people my age are retiring," she says, "but not me. I'm like that energizer bunny that just keeps going."

Stolen Identity

It was a hot day in early April 1882 in the town of Lafayette, Mo., where Jesse James had made a home. He had a bounty of $5,000 on his head, put there by Thomas T. Crittenden, the governor of Missouri.

Stimulus Package

WSU student Ben Tyson needed some help getting his small business up and running, and he found it with Bill Ellison '71 and Roger Douthett '75.


University History Wall

Since its establishment as Fairmount College in 1895, through its years as the University of Wichita, Wichita State University has sported a most compelling and unique history — a truly Shockeresque tale.

Found Stories

What is a university? asks the staff of the 1957 Parnassus.


Deep & Dynamic

Wichita State's cross country teams were picked to finish first on the women's side and fourth on the men's in the 2009 Missouri Valley Conference preseason coaches' poll.

Out of the Weather

Weather conditions will soon no longer be a factor in training sessions for Shocker athletes, as a $1.2 million, 29,000-square-foot practice facility nears completion.

Hoops Excitement

Wichita State's 2009-10 men's basketball schedule is highlighted by 18 home games, more than seven nationally televised games and a trip to the 2009 O'Reilly Auto Parts CBC Classic in Kansas City, Mo.


Class Notes Fall 2009

Comings, goings, appointments, retirements, honors, accolades and other personal alumni news.


A Fascinating Ride

"Fascinating" was one of this veteran educator's favorite words.

A Printer's Printer

"Pete Armstrong is a classic. The frugal son of a printer, a printer's printer with the industry's interest always at heart."

Klein's Ledger

Norman E. Klein '60 was named a distinguished alumnus of Wichita State in 1977 for his accomplishments and support of the WSU Center for Entrepreneurship.

'I Did It My Way'

Woe to any hostile witness who faced cross-examination by John Edward "Jed" Hurley '59.

In Memoriam

These WSU alumni and university friends leave lasting legacies.


Shocker Moments

The stories flowed freely, usually starting with "Do you remember when we (fill in the blanks)?," followed by uproarious laughter and then "What were we thinking?"


A Wheel Education

Todd Junker '02 gets more than a fair share of razzing about his job. After all, not many folks are paid to teach skateboarding all day.

Miss Wu

Two years after graduation, WSU Gore Scholar Lily Wu '07 continues to snag accomplishments at a rapid-fire pace.

The Right Note

The life journey of Joe Utterback '68/69 is a musical one.

Shocker 49er

At 38, Scot McCloughan fs '92 is one of the youngest general managers in the NFL.



Check out this news about a Shocker rower, Kansas opera houses, robots, a leading golfer and more — with illustrations by Wade Hampton.