Professional fundraising group honors James J. Rhatigan with prestigious award

James J. Rhatigan, consultant to the WSU Foundation, accepts the Distinctive Community Service Award from Edwin Shafer, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Wichita Chapter.
James J. Rhatigan, consultant to the WSU Foundation, accepts the Distinctive Community Service Award from Edwin Shafer, president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Wichita Chapter.
 

It would never occur to James J. Rhatigan that his accomplishments in securing money for Wichita State or his belief in the “ethic of caring” for others should somehow be award-worthy.

    Whether he’s finding scholarship money for a deserving student, championing a faculty member’s work, helping his church grow or counseling a colleague or friend, Rhatigan is doing what fulfills him personally and professionally: Helping others succeed.


“Community is not just a place on a map but a matter of the human spirit." 

- James J. Rhatigan

    This month, the Wichita chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized his contributions to Wichita, his community and the nation by bestowing on him its Distinctive Community Service Award. The award was presented Nov. 12 at a luncheon attended by about 300 people as part of the organization’s National Philanthropy Day events.

    “I value the idea of community, so to receive an award that recognizes the importance of community is greatly appreciated,” said Rhatigan, consultant for the WSU Foundation. “I’m fortunate to have a job I find rewarding, one that keeps me engaged while finding resources for others.”

    His introduction at the AFP awards ceremony drew a standing ovation. In his remarks, Rhatigan said that community is not just a place on a map but a matter of the human spirit.

    “Childhood is where the seed of community is introduced and takes root,” he said. “As we grow older and gain experience, we see the value of connection, interaction, cooperation and collaboration, which lead to comity and community.”

    Rhatigan was selected for the award not only for his successful record in helping to raise more than $15 million for Wichita State during the years, but also for his commitment to two guiding principles. They are, in his own words, an “ethic of caring” for others and a belief that the “small wins” in one’s life do as much good — or more — than the most heroic feats people dream about.

    This personal and professional code of conduct has come to symbolize a man known throughout his community — and nationally — for his devotion to young people, to the life-changing power of education and to thoughtful engagement that inspires others.

    “This is such a fitting award for a man who has always placed community above himself, whether it’s a community of students, this university, this state, his church, or his colleagues,” said Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “His influence and mentoring have touched the lives of hundreds of people who are making a meaningful difference in our world.”  

Velma Wallace

 
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