Spring 2014

No Shocker Goodbyes


Debbie KennedyThe day that I informed the WSU Alumni Association Board of Directors of my resignation to assume the position of CEO of the Wichita Children's Home was a very emotional day for me.

I never thought I would ever say those words. I had the dream job for any Shocker who loves Wichita State as much as I do.

I fell in love with her as a young girl when my father took me to the football games and during the games would teach me the lessons of life.

Somehow those lessons were told with an athletic context and the backdrop was WSU. It was no wonder that I would eventually marry the voice of the Shockers Mike Kennedy and share 20 years of life full of Shocker and university experiences. Therefore, to resign was not conceivable.

My time at the association has been one of the happiest and most rewarding periods of my life and my professional career. My decision to leave came after a great deal of soul-searching and what I believe is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Undoubtedly, what I cherish the most are the relationships that I have developed with alumni, students, university colleagues, community partners and all of the association board members who served this organization through the years of my tenure. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get to know so many of you who support the association and attend our events. I cannot properly express how appreciative I am of the encouragement and support that you have shown me.

I leave the association with so many wonderful memories, some filled with pride for the things which we were able to accomplish together, or for the accomplishments of so many fabulous alums. Among the favorites:

Spending a weekend as a house guest of Maya Angelou and meeting one of those people who will be a forever friend, Jean Elliott. Dr. Angelou taught me the "proper" way to eat chicken – with your fingers, not with a knife and fork. You can get your hand slapped for that – I know.

Flying to LA to pick up Monty and Marilyn Hall in order for Monty to serve as the emcee of Rockin' the Roundhouse and learning about their love for Wichita State and the Wichita community. And to provide an opportunity for them to realize how much they are loved in return.

Meeting the Shocker football players that I cheered for with my father. I have to admit I fell in love with each and every one of you. The feeling grew from a young-girl crush to a love affair. Coordinating the alumni pilgrimage to Mt. Trealease, the site of the 1970 football plane crash. To those brave men who survived, you are true Shocker heroes and I hold you in the highest of affection and to those that lost loved ones thank you for teaching me that love never dies – a powerful lesson.

Hearing the countless stories of why people chose to attend Wichita State and continue to support her through the alumni association. The stories were always full of emotions – on the continuum from tears to laughter.

Finding out that one of the pictures hanging in my office included my great uncle, Ralph Kendall Schwab, who taught Bible and Education at Fairmount College. Learning this gave me such pride for my family and made me feel like I belonged at the association.

Honoring distinguished alumni during the WSU Alumni Awards program and literally finding myself with my mouth full-open in awe of their accomplishments.

After a lunch with Cindy Carnahan and a glass of wine with Kate Taylor, watching the launch of Women United for the Shockers. To the members of WU, thank you for believing in the mission of the association and pledging your commitment. Your parties are fun and enjoyable – and they provide a perfect opportunity to spend time with grand ladies.

Developing great collegial relationships across the campus and in the community that have been inspiring. One of those I must mention is Dr. Jim Rhatigan. Thank you for your inspiration, council and sharing your love of the university. You truly are the cornerstone!

Sharing my daily life with an exemplary staff that is committed to every alum and friend of the university. Your love of family and alumni, your passion for those things that you care about, your joy of life, your sensitivity for those who need compassion and your willingness to help each other and me are all admirable traits and the reasons why I care so much for each of you.

As I look back, with tear-filled eyes, at the time that has passed, I know that my Shocker relationships will continue into the future, wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing, the strength of our connections will remain.

Thank you for the unforgettable memories!

I know that my Shocker relationships will continue into the future, wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing, the strength of our connections will remain.


No Shocker Goodbyes

I know that my Shocker relationships will continue into the future, wherever we may be and whatever we may be doing, the strength of our connections will remain.