Spring 2018

WSU Alumni Awards Ceremony


Eight exceptional Wichita State University alumni, faculty, administrators and friends were honored in the Beggs Ballroom of the Rhatigan Student Center on the evening of April 17 with WSU Alumni Awards, continuing the WSU Alumni Association’s proud tradition of applauding personal and professional achievement, as well as service to Wichita State and to society. The Class of 2017 honorees were presented original pieces of Karg art glass – in striking Shocker yellow and black, of course!

Class of 2017 WSU Alumni Awards honorees, from left, are M. Lee Pelton, WSU Alumni Achievement Award; Cindy Claycomb, University Recognition Award; Mike James, Alumni Recognition Award; Kaye Monk-Morgan, Laura (McMullen) Cross Distinguished Service Award; Lisa Teachman, Young Alumni Award; Dorothy and Bill Cohen, Award of Distinction; and Bob Gutschenritter, Shocker Tribute.

The Class of 2017 award recipients joined an ever-growing list of individuals who have excelled in their professions and contributed to their communities in myriad, but always extraordinary ways.

Established in 1955, the Achievement Award is the highest honor given to Wichita State alumni by the alumni association. Recognition Awards are presented to alumni, friends of the university and faculty or staff for outstanding public service and/or particular service to WSU. The Laura Cross Distinguished Service Award recognizes current or retired WSU staff or faculty who have given exceptional service to the university. The Young Alumni Award is presented to accomplished Shockers who are 40 years of age or younger. The Award of Distinction is presented in recognition of truly distinctive service or for accomplishments that are of a unique character. The Shocker Tribute is presented to one-of-a-kind Shockers, either an individual or group that has shown particular devotion to and support of Wichita State University and its history and traditions.


M. Lee Pelton ’73 has been in education since he started kindergarten. He’s never left. Today, he is in his seventh year as the 12th president of Emerson College in Boston. Before moving to the East Coast in 2011, he was president of Willamette University in Salem, Ore. Before that, he held deanships at Colgate and Dartmouth.

Pelton graduated from Wichita State with a bachelor’s degree in English. His focus was 19th century British literature. He later earned a doctorate in English and American literature from Harvard, where he taught and eventually became a member of its governing board.

Pelton grew up in Wichita and graduated from North High School, where he was on the track team, played football and was an excellent student. 

He became the first in his family to go on to college. But the pathways through higher education weren’t always smooth. He explains, “My journey at WSU began with many bumps in the road, beginning with my advisor who, when I told him I wanted to join the honors program, without raising his head and without looking at my nearly straight-A high school record, said I wasn’t cut out for it.”

Pelton planned to study mathematics at WSU, but found he had no passion for that subject. He left school after his first year and spent time traveling abroad. When he returned to campus, he was armed with an insight that made all the difference in his long-term success in education: He had discovered he was more interested in intellectual growth than in purely obtaining a degree.


Mike James ’71 sports a number of claims to fame – as a Shocker and as a corporate executive. For one thing, he has worked for so many of the world’s top companies as a top executive that he may well hold the Guinness Record for serving as a vice president or higher at the most Fortune 100 companies. He has worked for eight of them: the American health-care company Baxter, the pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories, Kraft, Nestlé, Motorola, Medtronic, Medco Health Solutions and Express Scripts.

Since 2014, he has been president of EntrustRX, a subsidiary of Fred’s Inc., which is a $2 billion-revenue, publicly-traded pharmacies company headquartered in Memphis.

While a student at Wichita State, James was a basketball letterman, playing for the Shockers from 1967 to 1970. A political science major, he was selected as a Senior Honor Man and elected to serve as the Student Government Association president his last year at WSU. It was the 1970-71 academic year – a heartbreakingly tragic one for the Shocker community.

On Oct. 2, 1970, one of two charter WSU football planes crashed in the Colorado Rockies, killing 31. It was under James’ leadership as SGA president that not only was more than $5,000 raised by SGA itself for the Football ’70 Memorial Fund, but he and Dave Lewis, a crash survivor, undertook a national tour – featuring an appearance on the Dick Cavett Show – to talk about the tragedy and promote fundraising activities for those affected, including 

the nationally broadcast benefit Night of the Stars, held on campus at Henry Levitt Arena.


Cindy Claycomb ’79/91 has been a familiar face and influential presence on campus for years. She’s a proud Wichita State graduate – twice over – and a professor of business marketing who has taken on many top-level administrative roles through the years.

Currently serving Wichita State as assistant to the president for strategic planning, Claycomb has been director of WSU Ventures and the interim dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business. Before that, she was tapped to serve as co-chair of Wichita State’s strategic planning initiative, a yearlong process of mapping out the university’s future direction. The plan was approved by the Kansas Board of Regents in 2013.

A Wichita native, she holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from WSU, as well as a PhD from Oklahoma State. She has 12 years of experience working for such corporate giants as Boeing and the Pizza Hut division of PepsiCo – and she also has more than 20 years of academic experience in her field of business marketing. She joined WSU’s faculty as an assistant professor of marketing and entrepreneurship in 1994. Promoted to associate professor in 2000, she became a full professor in 2006.

This past year, after scaling back her duties at Wichita State, Claycomb took up a new challenge – she campaigned for and won a seat on the Wichita City Council. With her wide-ranging experience in business, higher education and community service, she was seen by voters in District 6 to offer a well-balanced perspective on the challenges that face Wichita now and in the future.


As a first-generation college student and a 1989 Gore Scholar, V. Kaye Monk-Morgan ’93/96 quickly learned the power of higher education in helping people change their lives for the better.

At WSU, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and business, a master’s degree in public administration, and is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational leadership. She is assistant dean for students at the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Recently recognized for 25 years of service at WSU, she began in 1993 as a residence hall director at Fairmount Towers. She later worked in admissions, and, in 1997, she accepted the position of director of WSU’s TRIO Upward Bound Math Science Center. During her 20 years as director, she guided, encouraged, coaxed, admonished – perhaps even from time to time – hounded hundreds of students on their paths to obtaining degrees from WSU.


Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Lisa Teachman ’02 brought 14 years of experience with her to her new position at KSN-TV last year. When she took up her duties at the KSN Storm Tracker 3 Weather Center, she became the Wichita market’s first female chief meteorologist to serve Kansas.

Teachman’s interest in meteorology was sparked by her dad, a Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service volunteer who assisted in emergency communications for Sedgwick County — including severe weather warnings. 

She liked storm-tracking so much, it became her first choice in careers. To prepare for her chosen profession, she interned at KSNW-TV and completed a dual program in communications at Wichita State and meteorology at Mississippi State.


As the namesakes of WSU’s Honors College, which serves high-achieving students who take on academic and extra-curricular challenges, Dorothy and Bill Cohen are passionate about the mission and future of WSU.

Since neither Dorothy nor Bill is a WSU graduate, their commitment to Wichita State academics and athletics, as well as facilities and special projects, doesn’t come from a sense of loyalty to their alma mater. It comes from their belief that a strong university is essential to a strong community. 


Shocker Nation is populated by many individuals who are Shocker Proud — none more so than Bob Gutschenritter ’70/75. By profession, he is a CPA. 

At the time of his retirement in 2012, he was director of oil and gas services and marketing for the accounting firm he co-founded: Gutschenritter & Johnson. Today, the firm operates as GJ & Company.

It was in 1977, two years after he earned a master’s degree in accounting, that Gutschenritter set up his Wichita-based firm. For the next 35 years, he enjoyed the relationships he made while building his practice – and his reputation as a business leader, tax expert and small-business supporter.

— Connie Kachel White

Video profiles of Pelton, James, Claycomb, Monk-Morgan, Teachman, the Cohens and Gutschenritter were debuted during the April 17 awards ceremony and can be viewed on the WSU Alumni Association’s YouTube channel.



WSU Alumni Awards Ceremony

Eight exceptional Wichita State University alumni, faculty, administrators and friends were honored in the Beggs Ballroom of the Rhatigan Student Center on the evening of April 17, 2018, continuing the WSUAA's proud tradition of applauding personal and professional achievement, as well as service to Wichita State and to society.