Classmates now living in 16 different states gathered for reunion events that kicked off with a Friday evening reception and dinner at the Marcus Welcome Center.
A wide variety of activities was packed into two days, including a special brunch and tour of the Ulrich Museum of Art, as well as VIP attendance at Wichita State’s Rockin’ the Roundhouse fundraising auction extravaganza at Koch Arena.
Reunion attendees also toured the RhatiganStudent Center, known to them as the Campus Activities Center, CAC for short. The CAC was the newest addition to WU’s campus in 1959; the student union, which opened for use in May, was built primarily “because of a need on campus for a building where students could congregate,” as the 1959 Parnassus explains.
One pre-CAC gathering place for Shocker students was the Alibi located in the building originally called the Commons Building and today known as Wilner Auditorium — a place remembered fondly by many reunion attendees. Recollections of the Alibi and other favorite campus places and people were collected and compiled in the Class of 1959 Memory Book, available through the alumni association.
A key reunion event was the 50-Year Club dinner, during which Class of 1959 members were inducted into the club and presented commemorative medallions. Dinner speakers and guests took a look back at 1959, the year that top songs included “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” by The Platters, when a gallon of gasoline cost 25 cents and when Harry Corbin was serving as president of the University of Wichita.
Current WSU President Don Beggs spoke at the event, as did Deborah Kennedy ’94, the executive director of the WSU Alumni Association, and Class of 1959 members Don Stephan and Ann McCarty, who spoke about their time at WU.
The dinner also featured a series of special presentations made to these reunion-goers: Jim Wiesen for having the most grandchildren (20); Don and Lynn Stephan for the most great-grandchildren (four); Ken Fortney and also Sharon and Ed Thompson for having the most family members who have attended WU or WSU (eight); Paul Denny and his wife, Murel, for having the longest lasting marriage (55 years); and Neil and Joan McCarron, who traveled the farthest to attend the reunion — more than 1,600 miles from Bedford, Mass.
As is the tradition at the dinner, the event closed with a rousing chorus of the school’s Alma Mater, which was led by WSU First Lady Shirley Beggs.
Other Class of 1959 members who attended reunion festivities were Bob Barcus, Bob Borlase, Marvin Brown, David Egan, Charles Evenson, Deanne (Davis) Fortney, Paul Fritts, Doug Gray, Norma Lou Hilton, Carole (Sperry) Jones, DeeDee (Sammons) Jordan, Shirley (Tutt) Knight, Russell Krueger, Delmar Kuhlman, Dick Kunkle, Curtis LaGree, Marcene (Solomon) Larkin, Neil McCarron, Ann (Alldritt) McCarty, Darrel Muck, Donald Rude, J. Lawrence Seaton, John Shaft, Esther (Briggs) Sullivan, Carol (Burk) Sutcliffe, Don Sutcliffe, Carolyn (Peel) Taylor, Ed Thompson, Sharon (McNeil) Thompson, Sue (Newsom) Vance, Eugene Wade, Paul White, Jim Wiesen, Bill Wiesner and