Spring 2014

Shock Talk

Richard Crowson's illustration of Debbie Kennedy saying goodbye


Shockers everywhere, at events long ago or happenings just the other day, always have something interesting to say. Take this sampling as a Shock Talk example:

"Debbie Kennedy considers Wichita State University her ‘home base.' She has a master's degree in mental health and psychiatric nursing from there, spent 10 years as an instructor and clinical educator, and nine years as executive director of the WSU Alumni Association. … As tough as it is for Kennedy to leave WSU, she's going to another organization that is growing in its own right. The Wichita Children's Home is in the midst of an $11 million capital campaign to build new facilities in northeast Wichita, and new programs are being added. Kennedy has spent time as a volunteer for the organization and has served on its board of directors. She served as interim CEO during a time when (Sarah) Robinson was on leave. ‘I love the mission of the home, and I want to be an ambassador for that,' Kennedy says."

-- From Josh Heck's WBJ BizTalk article, "Debbie Kennedy's decision to leave Wichita State is bittersweet," posted April 24, about Kennedy's decision to resign as president and CEO of the alumni association to take up the CEO role at the Wichita Children's Home.

 "This is one of the highest honors you can get. When I go in, Wichita State goes in, my teammates go in, even though my name is there. The fans go in there, because we've had some great, great, great fans over the years."

-- Shocker basketball great XavierMcDaniel about his induction into theNational Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. X-Man became the first Wichita State player to be inducted when he joined the hall's eighth class of honorees in November 2013. The National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation started the hall in 2006 to "honor and celebrate those who have made extraordinary contributions to the game of men's college basketball."

Millipede sculpture with a yarn sweaterTom Otterness' Millipede sculpture, the unofficial mascot of Wichita State's Ulrich Museum of Art, was yarn bombed in April for the museum's 40th anniversary exhibition, Forty Years/Forty Stories. "Millie's Knitters" worked for six months on her nearly 25-foot-long "sweater." Through rain, heat, and even a flurry of snow, the colorful sweater withstood the elements, but on June 6 was removed, leaving Millie to bask au naturel in her campus habitat.

Millipede, commissioned through the Ulrich Museum's private endowment in 2006, arrived on campus in October 2008. The big, bronze sculpture -- 25 feet long, 5 feet wide and 4 feet high -- is one of the artist's creative family of public sculptures known across the country and around the world for their wit and whimsy. Otterness' sculptures, including Millie, have an immediately recognizable style that abounds with rounded, cartoon-like animal and human figures. Often these characters appear as though they are caught mid-scene in a familiar fairytale or myth. Always playful and engaging, the sculptures are also rich with content. With them, Otterness poses questions about how we relate to one another and the world around us. In his proposal to create this giant, friendly bug for the campus, he explained: "I find the Millipede a great work for the site within the context of the University. A millipede's body is composed of linked segments working together and heading in one direction." Otterness is a native son of Wichita, who now calls New York City home. His public sculptures can be found at Texas Tech University; the United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore.; the State Library of Münster, Germany; and the Wichita Art Museum, among many other cultural and civic institutions.


Shock Talk

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