Murder, Morrison Hall?
Working at WSU can sometimes be murder — just ask Bill Bischoff, dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Bischoff recently participated in assistant professor Brian Withrow’s homicide investigations class as a voluntary victim in a mock murder case. More than 100 students participated in the investigation, with roles ranging from crime scene technicians to lawyers. Next semester, Withrow hopes to aim higher up the food chain. “I think,“ he quips, “we need to knock off the president.”
Nobody clowns around like Nancy Davis ’70 of Goddard, Kan. The just-this-spring retired elementary school teacher has been collecting clowns for some 40 years now — ever since she fell in love with the ceramic clown container that came as part of a gift on the occasion of the birth of her third child, Kristi Smith ’97. “I have more than 2,000 clowns in one room, alone,” Davis says with a laugh. “There’s everything from a nickel pencil topper to a nearly life-size clown doll that sits in a chair at a desk. When people walk into that room, they think there’s someone there.”
As they say, any publicity is good publicity. But this Wichita State “promotion” may have some university officials squirming: The John Sandford novel, Mortal Prey, boasts a main character who once lived in Wichita and attended Wichita State — the rub is, she’s an assassin. A New York Times best-selling author, Sandford is the pseudonym of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp, who received his first training as a reporter in Korea. Camp, whose brilliant characterizations and pace has garnered wide praise and made his books national bestsellers, has written 13 books in the “Prey” series.
Still an Engineer
Tayssir “Ty” Issa ’86 didn’t start out as a restaurateur. He came to Wichita at age 18 from his native Lebanon to attend WSU and earn a degree in mechanical engineering. But after graduating and four months of working as an engineer in California, he realized it wasn’t the career for him. The owner of Wichita’s Larkspur Restaurant & Grill for three years now, Issa says he’s still an engineer at heart: “I’m an engineer. My restaurant has to be efficient. It has to be workable.”
Viva La Siesta
Used to be that after kindergarten, they didn’t let you nap in school. And they certainly didn’t let you unfurl your napping mat at work. But members of a new organization in Portugal, the Association of Friends of the Nap, are encouraging employers to let employees take siestas. They say napping eases the stress of modern life and is thus good for one’s health. Calling the suggestion “interesting,” the Portuguese government is more or less taking the suggestion lying down. Closer to home, Brad Beets ’87, WSU Alumni Association director, says he’d take the matter under advisement before formulating any policy on office napping. But after a moment of musing, he adds, “If this nap thing takes off, I’d like to see our staff members dozing on WuShock-logo napping mats. I just may call the bookstore — there may be money in this!”
If a math professor enters the Tae Kwon Do U.S. Open in the male, over 53-year-old, 171-193 weight class after having practiced the sport for 30 years, what are the chances he’ll take home a gold medal? Darn good, if the professor’s name is Alan Elcrat, who did just that this spring. Though one question remains: Was he allowed to use a calculator?