More than 240 Wichita State alumni, faculty, staff and university friends gathered at the Rhatigan Student Center’s Shirley Beggs Ballroom for a gala celebration of Shocker excellence at the WSUAA’s 61st WSU Alumni Awards banquet and ceremony on April 20.
Six outstanding WSU alumni, faculty, and administrators were honored, continuing a proud tradition of celebrating personal and professional achievement, as well as service to Wichita State and to society.
Mark Finucane was recognized with the 2016 Alumni Achievement Award. A national figure in public health and the healthcare industry, Finucane is a managing director with Alvarez & Marsal in Los Angeles. The Achievement Award, established in 1955, is the highest honor bestowed upon Wichita State alumni by the WSUAA.
Jackie Williams, whose longstanding work in public service and the law, highlighted with 23 years of service in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Kansas, is currently serving as assistant attorney general for consumer fraud in the Kansas Attorney General’s Office. He received the 2016 Alumni Recognition Award.
Sociologist and educator Ron Matson was honored with the 2016 University Recognition Award. Dr. Matson, who first joined the faculty at Wichita State in 1970 as a member of the sociology department, is dean of the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Dean and Esther Headley were recognized with the Laura Cross Distinguished Service Award. Both of the Headleys have built strong reputations as market researcherswith a national and international reach. Dean, an associate professor at WSU, is co-founder of the national Airline Quality Rating, and Esther, who has served as a part-time WSU business faculty member for 37 years, is co-founder of Wichita-headquartered The Research Partnership.
Mildred “Mickey” Armstrong was honored with the 2016 Award of Distinction. Armstrong is the second person in the history of the WSUAA to serve as a paid staff person, a position that cultivated her abiding interest in and support of alumni records, communications and, more generally, safeguarding the history and traditions of Wichita State University.
The gala evening opened with a champagne reception, with music by the Michael Engdahl Trio, comprised of Shocker graduates Engdahl, Riley Day and Andrew Slater. After dinner, the awards ceremony proper began with welcomes from Courtney M. Marshall, WSUAA president and CEO, and Chris Purdum, WSUAA board chair. Tony Vizzini, WSU provost and senior vice president, gave special remarks, and Dick and Bonnie Bing Honeyman served as masters of ceremonies.
Short videos about each of the award recipients were debuted. Produced by the WSUAA and WSU’s Media Resources Center, the videos feature the voice-over talents of Larry Hatteberg, who was recognized with the Award of Distinction in 2014, and Dana Fleming Mastio. After the video bios were shown, each of the honorees was introduced, applauded and presented unique pieces of Karg art glass before taking the stage to give brief acceptance remarks.
The Honeymans and Marshall closed the evening’s proceedings with final words of congratulations to the 2016 Class of award honorees.
Shockers who were unable to attend the event are invited to view the videos about Finucane, Williams, Matson, the Headleys and Armstrong on YouTube’s “Wichita State University Alumni Association” channel.