Summer 2006

Quoted: Elizabeth King

Elizabeth KingAt the time that I was working at a college and pursuing my PhD, I began to look at areas for career growth in higher education. University Advancement was emerging within public higher education, and I felt the field was a perfect fit for my passion for higher education, combined with my personality and skills.

Higher education in its purest helps teach people how to truly think … to ask questions … to explore beyond surfaces.

Perhaps the biggest misconception about our work at the WSU Foundation is that all our team does is ask for money. Instead, what we do and what is most rewarding is develop relationships and seek to match the interests of the donors with the needs of the campus.

In addition, other equally important Foundation staff work to invest and manage each of our almost 1,000 individual accounts so the funds raised are distributed according to the donors’ wishes. The most challenging aspect of our work is the number of needs, from scholarships to faculty support to equipment, that remain unsupported.

Actually, when my parents were missionaries during my grade school years, we lived in Ghana, West Africa, and I had two pet monkeys named Homer and Jethro. Homer was my best friend and companion. Now, my pets are less exotic, but nonetheless my husband, two sons and I love the companionship of our dog Skylar.

With juggling kids’ activities and WSU events, cooking is no longer my strong suit! My favorite food … desserts.

I have finally come to realize that I can’t do it all. I’m not a superwife or mom and there are many days when I leave important tasks at work undone. I love my work and I love the sense of mission and accomplishment, but when push comes to shove, family takes priority.

My earliest inspiration came from my father, who was a professor, and who had a strong ethic. My most recent mentor has been WSU President Beggs. The mentoring role has never been formal, but I have grown considerably by watching him and his compassionate leadership style. My inspiration in life is my husband Don. He is wise, loving and perhaps most importantly with my personality, he is patient!

My husband and I had one date in college and didn’t reconnect until our 10-year college reunion.

I went to eight different schools before entering college, and I have lived in five different countries.

What has surprised me is how rich our tradition is at Wichita State. The general public perception might be otherwise since we are a metropolitan university.

My true confession is that when I first arrived, I didn’t love WuShock, but now he’s my favorite university mascot — and I would fight for us to keep him.

Our most meaningful university tradition is commencement … a time of celebration and reflection.

I believe that students today are more pragmatic and determine much earlier in the process their majors and ultimate career goals. In addition, and perhaps the biggest change, is the influence of technology in the classroom as well as in the everyday aspects of university administration.

I used to play a fairly mean game of racquetball, but now I simply walk for exercise. I’m an avid fan of basketball, particularly Shocker basketball.

If I could have only three books to read from now on, what would they be? The Bible, because it is my means of knowing God’s plan. Anna Karenina, because it is my favorite novel. And any biography, thriller or mystery that I haven’t read yet as I always love new books.

I love music … almost all types … but can only handle rap in small doses.

My favorite places to have visited are Scotland and Italy. We would love to someday go to Australia and New Zealand.

As a 5-foot, 7-inch 11-year-old, I had the lead role in our 6th grade class play. I was Abraham Lincoln.

I am exactly where I want to be, so I can’t imagine another profession.


Quoted: Elizabeth King

Elizabeth King comments on changes in higher education, balancing family life and work, playing Abraham Lincoln, two pet monkeys — and a true confession.