Wichita senior Erin Gray wins esteemed humanities scholarship

The Anna Elizabeth Walsh scholarship is one of WSU's largest

Erin Gray

Erin Gray, winner of the esteemed Anna Elizabeth Walsh Humanities Scholarship, plans to major in creative writing at Wichita State.

The winner of one of the largest scholarships awarded at Wichita State University is a 17-year-old Wichita girl who dreams of being a playwright.

   Erin Gray, a senior at Northwest high school, will have her tuition, books, room and board and certain other expenses paid for as a result of winning the Anna Elizabeth Walsh Humanities Scholarship. The scholarship is renewable for all four years of college as long as the recipient meets academic standards, making the value of the award in excess of $50,000 over its life.

   Erin is soft-spoken and polite, but her gaze is direct and her words well chosen. Still, she found herself almost speechless when she was called to her advisor’s office and offered the scholarship over the phone by WSU officials.

   “I was sure it was going to be something bad,” she says about being called to the office. “I was just sitting there listening and nodding. I couldn’t believe it at first. I had no idea this scholarship even existed. It was really exciting.”

“We're thrilled to have a student of this high quality join us at Wichita State.”

- Eunice Myers, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences associate dean

   Officials in the Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences select the recipient for the scholarship,
which was established in 1994 by WSU alumna Kathleen Walsh in honor of her mother, a teacher. Since then, it has been awarded to 11 students in the Fairmount College.

   Erin was selected because of her 3.5 grade point average as well as a long list of accomplishments and activities, says Eunice Myers, Fairmount College associate dean.

   “She’s clearly a leader and a talented young woman,” Myers says. “We’re talking about a young woman with a wide range of abilities as a musician, writer and actor/director. We’re thrilled to have a student of such high quality join us at Wichita State.”

   Erin, the daughter of Daniel and Susan Gray, was a drum line co-captain in her school’s marching band, served as vice president of the Drama Club and won a playwright competition in the Kansas Thespian Contest in 2012.

   “I really enjoy writing and especially playwriting,” she says. “At first I thought I might want to be a journalist, but now I want to pursue creative writing. Wichita State has a great creative writing program.”

    She cites as the biggest influences in her life two teachers at Northwest, one in her literature and composition classes and the other in drama.

   Erin entered Wichita State’s Distinguished Scholarship Invitational, which awards some of WSU’s most prestigious scholarships to high-achieving students. Even if she didn’t win a scholarship, she planned to attend Wichita State, but figured she would have to live at home because of finances.

   Now, she says with a smile, “That’s all changed.” Next month, she’ll be a new resident of Fairmount Towers.


circle arrow If you would like to establish a scholarship to honor a special person and help deserving students, please contact Terre Johnson, WSU Foundation vice president for major gifts, at 316-978-3808 or at terre.johnson@wichita.edu

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