Band director’s legacy lives on

Through his estate, Robert Warrender created an endowed music scholarship for WSU

Robert Warrender

Before his death, Robert Warrender established a trust to provide scholarships to future band students.

   The Robert R. Warrender Trust has established a new scholarship to carry on the legacy of Bob Warrender, a man passionate about music.

   Warrender graduated from Arkansas City Junior College in 1952 before enrolling at the University of Wichita, where he received his bachelor’s degree in music education in 1957 and master’s degree in music education in 1960. After serving in the Army, Warrender dedicated his life to teaching band to middle and high school students in rural Kansas.

   He taught in El Dorado and Ford, Kan., for a short period and Sedan, Kan., for 28 years. After he retired, Warrender volunteered at a grade school in Winfield for more than five years, and he also gave private lessons to middle and high school students.

   Before Warrender died in 2007, he set up a trust that he left in the hands of his good friend, Wayne Hamilton.

   “He wanted to be worth $1 million,” Hamilton said. “And by the time he died, he was.”

“He was one of those guys who you might say had a soft voice and a big stick. His band students knew he meant business.”

- Wayne Hamilton

   Hamilton remembers Warrender as thrifty, yet also generous. He liked to invest money, and he played in the Arkansas City Community Band and several Midian Shrine bands.

   Warrender wanted some of his money to be used for scholarship programs for students in Sedan, Arkansas City, Winfield and at Wichita State University. He kept in touch with his students, many of whom pursued college educations.

   “He was one of those guys who you might say had a soft voice and a big stick,” Hamilton said. “His band students knew he meant business.”

   At Wichita State, his scholarship will benefit students who want to become band directors.

   “Nothing is more satisfying to us in the College of Fine Arts than to memorialize a teacher through an endowed scholarship,” said Rodney Miller, dean of the College of Fine Arts. “Bob’s name will now be known to music educators for generations to come.”


circle arrow If you would like to establish a scholarship to help deserving students in the College of Fine Arts, please contact Diana Gordon, WSU Foundation development director for the College of Fine Arts, at (316) 978-7307 or at

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