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$2 million estate gift by Pamela & William Lappin recognizes impact Wichita State had on their lives

William and Pamela Lappin
On breaks from their busy schedules, Pam and Bill Lappin enjoy beach time at their house on Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia.

When Bill and Pamela Hill Lappin moved to Atlanta so Bill could join the professional services firm Deloitte, he initially wondered whether his education from Wichita State University would measure up to that of the Ivy League colleagues he encountered.

“I was a bit intimidated at first,” said Lappin, now the top executive in Deloitte’s Atlanta office. “But through the years, I have come to realize what a great start Wichita State gave me. Now that I look back and reflect on it, I feel very, very proud of Wichita State.”

As he and Pam began to consider which organizations and causes they wanted to include in their estate plans, Wichita State was in the top tier. The couple has made arrangements in their estate for a gift valued at $2 million, designating that the funds be used to endow a faculty professorship or chair in the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

“I have many great memories of Wichita State but one of the strongest is the interaction I had with my professors,” said Lappin, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1979 and a Master of Business Administration in 1981. Pam graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“We would like to help Wichita State recruit the very best educators, teachers and mentors,” Lappin said. “That in turn will attract the best students.”

Many of the WSU memories Bill and Pam hold dearest are those associated with their Greek lives — Phi Delta Theta fraternity for Bill, where he was president in 1978, and Delta Delta Delta sorority for Pam, and the annual Hippodrome skit performances. Lappin hasn’t forgotten winning the best actor award in 1977 for his role in an opera parody called “Madame Butterball or The Dunk is Back.”

Though they moved away from Wichita shortly after graduation so Lappin could take a job in Dallas with Texas Instruments, one of the ways they remained connected through the years was their life membership with the WSU Alumni Association. It was Lappin’s father, George Lappin, president of the WSU Alumni Association in 1975-76, who gave the couple the membership as a wedding gift.

“Because of that membership, I’d get a call every year from the (WSU Foundation) Annual Fund and, of course, I’d make a contribution,” Lappin said. “Then we got to the point where we decided it was time to up our giving. So you could say this really started with my dad giving us that membership.”

Today, Lappin is the managing partner for Deloitte’s Atlanta office, which employs 2,800 people. With a total employment of more than 200,000 globally, Deloitte is one of the world’s largest providers of professional services. Lappin’s work takes him to Wichita frequently and he tries to take in a WSU basketball, baseball or softball game while in town.

Pam recently retired from a career in commercial property management and has turned her lifelong passion for vintage into an online business selling hats, fashion and jewelry. Called MadgesHatbox.com, it is named for her grandmother Madge, who was a milliner.

When he reflects on his successful career, Lappin credits WSU business professors like John Belt and Dean Vickery for teaching him how closely business success is tied to the ability to build trusting relationships.

“While business is dominated by numbers, they taught me first and foremost that business is about people,” Lappin said. “They helped me understand how important it is to know your audience and adjust your style to get the right message across. That’s been key to whatever success I’ve had.”