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WSU President’s Medal awarded to scientist & engineer Ruth David ’75

WSU President John Bardo and Ruth David, 2014 President’s
Medal recipient, at fall commencement Dec. 14, 2014.
Ruth David ’75, 2014 President’s Medal recipient, and WSU President John Bardo at fall commencement Dec. 14, 2014.

Ruth David, like many successful Wichita State University alumni, began her undergraduate education at a community college near home, then transferred to Wichita State.

“I always felt that my experience at WSU provided the perfect bridge between being a ‘farm girl’ and a career professional,” says David, who grew up near the small town of Dexter. “In addition to receiving a wonderful education, the environment at Wichita State afforded me an opportunity to mature and explore horizons well beyond my experiences while growing up.”

WSU President John Bardo has named David, who graduated magna cum laude in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, the 2014 recipient of the WSU President’s Medal. The award is the highest distinction the president can make. It recognizes those who show extraordinary and exemplary leaderships through integrity, service to humanity and expertise in their field.

“Dr. Ruth David has served our nation in a series of important national security roles,” Bardo said. “Her achievements reflect well on her Kansas roots and her Wichita State education. Even as she has ventured far from home, she has continued to give back through her involvement in the university, most recently by agreeing to serve on the board of the Wichita State Innovation Alliance, a group shaping the growth of the Innovation Campus.”

David said her life was greatly influenced by her professors at Wichita State, particularly one who urged her to apply to Stanford University for graduate studies and another who gave her a job and supported her eventual decision to join Sandia National Laboratories upon graduation.

But she has more light-hearted recollections of her WSU days, too.

“Some of my fondest memories are of being kidded about my choice of transportation,” she said. “I had a car but, weather permitting, rode a motorcycle. My rationale was that the gas mileage was infinitely better, but I took some ribbing about carrying a helmet to class.”

After earning her bachelor’s degree, David received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford in 1976 and her doctorate, also in electrical engineering, from Stanford in 1981.

Today, David is president and CEO of Analytic Services Inc. (ANSER), a nonprofit public service research institution based in Arlington, Va. ANSER provides research and consulting services to a number of government agencies. ANSER’s Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute is a federally funded research and development center operated on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security. David, a former CIA deputy director for science and technology, also serves as an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security.

David has authored or co-authored numerous papers and is the co-author of three books on signal processing algorithms. She also has been appointed to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest professional distinctions that an engineer can receive.

She is a member of the WSU Foundation National Advisory Council, was the recipient of the WSU Alumni Association’s Achievement Award in 2003 and was a speaker in the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Breakfast Series in 2002. In 2001, she served as a Distinguished Engineer-in Residence at Wichita State and she is a former member of the College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Board.

David and her husband, Stan Dains, live in northern Virginia.

As the recipient of the WSU President’s Medal, David delivered the fall commencement address at Wichita State University on Dec. 14, 2014.


Past WSU President's Club Medal Recipients

  • 2014
    Ruth David
  • 2013
    Gary Bender
  • 2012
    Bonnie Bing Honeyman
  • 2011
    John Morse
  • 2010
    Nancy Martin
  • 2009
    Barry Schwan
  • 2008
    William B. Moore
  • 2007
    True Knowles
  • 2006
    Marni Vliet
  • 2005
    Charles G. Koch
  • 2004
    Robert A. Geist
  • 2003
    Francis "Fran" D. Jabara
  • 2002
    James L. Mann
  • 2001
    Marilyn B. Pauly
  • 2000
    Michael C. Oatman
  • 1999
    Jerry D. Florence
  • 1998
    Daniel M. Carney
  • 1997
    M. Dean Hargrove and John Edward Hurley Jr.
  • 1996
    Donald D. Sbarra
  • 1995
    No award
  • 1994
    Lionel D. Alford
  • 1993
    Velma Lunt Wallace
  • 1992
    Gordon Parks
  • 1991
    Olive Ann Beech
  • 1990
    H. Marvin Bastian
  • 1989
    Oliver B. Elliott