Stephenson Inducted into Shocker Sports Hall of Fame
Gene Stephenson, the sole inductee of Wichita State’s 2019 Pizza Hut Shocker Sports Hall of Fame class, was inducted during halftime of the WSU men’s basketball game against Southern Mississippi on Dec. 15.
Stephenson – whose credits as Wichita State’s head baseball coach from 1978 to 2013 include winning the 1989 College World Series Championship, making seven CWS and 27 NCAA Regional appearances, directing Wichita State to more wins than any other NCAA Division 1 program in the country eight times, being named NCAA Coach of the Year three times and Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year 11 times, coaching 33 Shocker players who went on to play in the Major Leagues, as well as three players chosen as NCAA Player of the Year and one named NCAA Pitcher of the Year – was also honored at a dinner Dec. 14 at the Drury Plaza Hotel Broadview in Wichita.
Some 500 guests were present at the sold-out dinner, which featured Stephenson, as well as keynote speakers Eric Wedge and Joe Carter. Other former Shockers, including Phil Stephenson and Charlie O’Brien, participated in a roundtable discussion, sharing Shocker baseball stories about their former coach and teammates.
The addition of Stephenson, who was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, brings the total of former coaches and student-athletes in the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame to 141, while there are 13 at-large selections.
Utash Named to American Workforce Policy Board
Sheree Utash, president of WSU Tech, has been appointed to the national American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Other members on the 25-member board include the CEOs of Apple, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, Home Depot and IBM.
Co-chairs of the advisory board – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Adviser to the President Ivanka Trump – announced the members of the board, which will work with the National Council for the American Worker to develop and implement a strategy to revamp the American workforce to better meet the challenges of the 21st century.
In addition to serving as WSU Tech president, Utash is WSU vice president of workforce development and serves on the President’s Executive Team.
Love Locks Pod First in a Series of Shocker Pods
Wichita State’s newest art installation, the Love Locks Pod, was dedicated, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day with remarks from Brady Hatter ’09, the trades supervisor in WSU’s carpentry shop and sculptor who proposed, designed and built (with a little help from Shocker friends) the pod.
The Love Locks Pod, located just east of Wichita State’s Food Court Plaza, is the first in a series of three Shocker Pods being constructed and installed as part of the university’s place-making initiative. For more about Hatter and the pod structures, follow him on Instagram: @bugmeat_macaroni.
Parkinsons Set Up Scholarship to Assist DACA Students
Former Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson ’80 and his wife, Stacy, have established a scholarship at Wichita State to help children of undocumented immigrants earn their degrees.
The Parkinsons said they believe the contributions of immigrants have helped the United States become the greatest country in the world. “What we have built in the United States is a miracle,” Mark Parkinson said. “The question was whether people from all over the world could come together, form a new government, build a just society, practice free market capitalism and succeed. The results have been spectacular.”
He added: “Yet, there are some who have forgotten what we are all about. They belittle and intimidate our new generation of immigrants. Stacy and I want these new pioneers to understand that they are not alone. Immigrants are not only welcome, they are a vital part of our country’s future success.”
The Parkinsons, who reside in Washington, D.C., have donated $200,000 to launch the Mark and Stacy Parkinson Scholarship for First Generation Immigrant Students. It is intended to support undocumented students who are children of immigrants, especially those in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Mark Parkinson, who took over the Kansas gubernatorial reigns from Kathleen Sebelius on April 28, 2009, was profiled five months later in The Shocker. The story can be found at theshockermagazine.com. In 2010, Parkinson was recognized by the WSUAA with the Alumni Achievement Award.