Gary Bender '62 - 2013 recipient of the President's Medal

WSU President John Bardo with Gary Bender, President's Medal recipient

WSU President John Bardo and Gary Bender '62 on Dec. 15 at Charles Koch Arena prior to Bardo awarding the President's Medal to Bender during fall commencement.

Gary Bender is a homegrown Kansan whose career began while he was a student at the University of Wichita and then progressed into one as a noteworthy network sports broadcaster. On Dec. 15, he received the 2013 President’s Medal from WSU President John Bardo.

    The President’s Medal is awarded to a person who is selected for humility and interest in others and especially for extraordinary and exemplary leadership through integrity, service to humanity and expertise in his or her field. 

    “Gary is one of the many WSU alumni who have achieved excellence in their respective fields,” said Bardo, “and during that time, he remained committed to and supportive of his alma mater. In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and visionary leadership and as an alumnus of Wichita State University, I was proud and privileged to present this award to Gary.” 

"Being back on campus brought back so many great memories and has encouraged me to continue to be involved with WSU."

- Gary Bender '62

    “I am very humbled to receive the medal,” said Bender. “I am sincerely surprised I would be given such an honor, especially when you consider the previous recipients of the medal.”

    Bender graduated from the University of Wichita in 1962 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech and played football his freshman and sophomore years. He worked for the university radio station, calling the WU games. Bender went on to the University of Kansas, where he received a master’s degree in television and film. His wife, Linda, received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from WU in 1963.

    Bender spent more than 20 years covering 27 different sports, including the 1988 Winter Olympics. He has written two books and co-hosted a nationally syndicated radio show. Bender has been inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, the Phi Delta Theta Sports Hall of Fame and the Kansas Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

    He was a 2008 WSU Alumni Association Breakfast speaker. In 2009, he established the Gary Bender Scholarship in Broadcast Communication. He shares his knowledge with WSU students in the Elliott School of Communication and in athletics by coming to campus several times a year.

    “When I taught a class last winter in the Elliott School,” said Bender, “it was a way for me to give back to WSU, for the foundation it gave me to venture out into broadcasting. Being back on campus brought back so many great memories and has encouraged me to continue to be involved with WSU.”

President's Medal Recipients

Gary Bender
William B. Moore
James L. Mann
Donald D. Sbarra
H. Marvin Bastian
Verlon McKay
True Knowles
Marilyn B. Pauly
No award
Oliver B. Elliott
Bonnie Bing Honeyman
Marni Vliet
Michael C. Oatman
Lionel D. Alford
John Morse
Charles G. Koch
Jerry D. Florence
Velma Lunt Wallace
Nancy Martin
Robert A. Geist
Daniel M. Carney
Gordon Parks
Barry Schwan
Francis "Fran" D. Jabara
M. Dean Hargrove and John Edward Hurley Jr.
Olive Ann Beech
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