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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

From the cockpit to the campus, WSU alum gives back


Cooper family
Roger McClure, with canine companions Cooper and Theodore, makes his home today in South Africa.

Roger McClure has many reasons for wanting to support Wichita State, but most of them boil down to being grateful for a college experience that helped shape his future. That happened in three important areas – his military and flying career, his love of music and his tight connection with his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

It was while McClure was pursuing a degree in music education that he got involved in ROTC as a way to meet a physical education requirement for students. After putting in two years, he discovered he liked the class and enrolled in advanced ROTC, which carried a requirement that he serve at least four years in the military. Part of that commitment was spent in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War, serving as a weapon systems operator in the back of an F-4 fighter jet.

That’s where he made the decision that he wanted to be a pilot. After his military stint, he obtained his license, became a flying instructor, then got hired as a pilot for a small airline called People Express Airline, later bought by Continental Airlines. He worked there for 21 years, then flew for six years as a private pilot for a Saudi sheik. “For a kid from Kansas, it was a pretty interesting life,” McClure says with a laugh. “If it hadn’t been for the Vietnam War, I’d probably be teaching music classes in a small Kansas town somewhere.” Music has always been important to him, and his time at Wichita State fed that passion.

“I discovered that I wasn’t talented enough to be a concert pianist, but I learned a lot about music, and it has been a big influence in my life,” says McClure, whose home near Cape Town, South Africa, includes a Steinway grand piano.

The third area that had a profound impact on him was his involvement with Sigma Alpha Epsilon. With the help of one of his ROTC instructors, he and other students became founding members of the SAE chapter at Wichita State. This fall, the chapter will celebrate its 50th anniversary, and McClure will be there for the festivities.

Music and his fraternity are so important to him that he has endowed two scholarships supporting them at Wichita State: the Roger McClure Scholarship/Fellowship in Piano and the Roger McClure Sigma Alpha Epsilon Scholarship. His $2 million estate gift is dedicated to supplementing those two endowments.

“Roger’s decision to support WSU through his estate is an incredible expression of his commitment and affection for his alma mater,” says Darin Kater, WSU Foundation associate vice president. “His legacy of generosity will make a substantial impact on future generations of Shockers.”

Today, McClure is enjoying his retirement in South Africa, where he ended up after going on safari and discovering the beauty and affordability of the country. And he travels, including spring and fall visits to Wichita most years.

He always takes the time to wander through campus. “I find the Innovation Campus to be fantastic,” he says. “Being on the campus helps to remind me what I’m supporting, and why it’s so important.”