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In This Issue


H. Russell Bomhoff strengthened WSU engineering program with his contributions

H. Russell Bomhoff with wife, Ilene.
H. Russell Bomhoff with wife, Ilene.

When he sold his successful business, Precision Pattern Inc., in 1997, H. Russell Bomhoff noted that one of the biggest challenges he had as an employer was recruiting engineers. He took steps to try to increase the pipeline of engineers by creating a scholarship at Wichita State University in 2001.

Five years later, he established the H. Russell Bomhoff Professorship in Engineering as a way to improve the quality of engineering education and to give back to a community that helped make him successful.

Mr. Bomhoff, a supporter of WSU and of education, died on Jan. 14 at the age of 92.

“Russell was a great man who was kind and generous to the WSU College of Engineering,” said Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “I was privileged to work with him.”

In addition to the engineering scholarship and professorship, Mr. Bomhoff also donated to the Rhatigan Student Center renovation, the WSU School of Music and the WSU bioengineering program. The WSU Foundation honored him with its Fairmount Founders’ Award in 2008, the same year that he and his wife, Ilene, were recognized as Fairmount Society Lifetime Achievement members.

Michael Papadakis, who holds the H. Russell Bomhoff Professorship, said he regretted that he never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Bomhoff.

“I was impressed, however, by his accomplishments, character and generosity in life stories shared by his friends and family during his funeral service,” Papadakis said. “The generous gift that he and his family have established has been invaluable in supporting my research and teaching activities.”

Mr. Bomhoff was born in 1922 in Wichita. By the time he was in seventh grade, he worked for area farmers and was purchasing his own clothing. He attributed his work ethic to his father, who operated Wichita Fish and Oyster Company in addition to a 50-acre truck and dairy farm.

Mr. Bomhoff attended night classes at the University of Wichita for a short time in the late 1940s, but left to start his own business, Precision Pattern, in 1952. The company specialized in making and selling interior furniture components for corporate jets.