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In This Issue


In 50-year history of WSU Foundation, only three people have held its top job

Dick Reidenbaugh
Third time's a charm. On the third ask by WSU President Clark Ahlberg, Dick Reidenbaugh visited Wichita and went on to accept the position as the first director of the WSU Endowment Association.

When WSU President Clark Ahlberg began looking for the first director of the WSU Endowment Association in 1968, he asked Richard Reidenbaugh Jr. to consider the job.

Reidenbaugh, then raising money for Drexel University in Philadelphia, declined Ahlberg’s first invitation to visit Wichita. And his second. But perseverance won the day. On Ahlberg’s third try, Reidenbaugh agreed and went on to accept the position.

“He grew to love it, I guess, because we stayed for 16 years,” said Jean Reidenbaugh, who was married to Reidenbaugh for 63 years until his death in 2007 at the age of 85.

In the 50-year history of the WSU Foundation — the successor to the Endowment Association, which was established in 1965 — only three people have held its top leadership role. Reidenbaugh came on board in 1969 and retired in 1985. For the next five years, Robert Hartsook presided over fundraising as vice president for advancement at Wichita State. He was succeeded in 1991 by Elizabeth King, who left a similar position at Friends University to take the job.

The Reidenbaughs arrived just one year before the 1970 plane crash that killed 31 members of the WSU football team, coaches, staff and boosters. The couple was supposed to be on the doomed plane, Jean Reidenbaugh said, but her husband withdrew at the last minute to work on a project for Ahlberg.

“I told them I would stay home, too, but my name was still on a list and so for a while people thought I had been on the plane, too,” she recalls.

Elizabeth King speaking at the 2015 President's Club Celebration
Elizabeth King has enjoyed hosting donors and guests to WSU Foundation special events for 24 years.

Her husband’s biggest rewards while at Wichita State were building the Endowment Association from the ground up and developing a strong working relationship with the city of Wichita, she said. When Reidenbaugh retired, Wichita leaders gave him the keys to the city in recognition of his contributions. The building that housed the Endowment Association was named the Reidenbaugh House in his honor. It no longer exists. At the Woodman Alumni Center, which is now home to the WSU Foundation, a wing is dedicated in his name.

Hartsook, in his position as vice president for advancement for Wichita State, also presided over University Relations, the WSU Board of Trustees and the WSU Alumni Association. He served in the administration of WSU President Warren Armstrong, leaving in 1990 to form his own fundraising consulting firm.

Robert F. Hartsook
Robert F. Hartsook

When King came to Wichita State, it also was as vice president for advancement, with the duties expanded to also include responsibility for the Ulrich Museum of Art. She remains the youngest vice president ever named at Wichita State and only its second female vice president.

In 2000, the Endowment Association changed its name to the WSU Foundation. King was named president and CEO of the WSU Foundation in 2006, a role created because of the substantial growth of the Foundation. Since King’s arrival at Wichita State, the WSU Foundation’s assets have grown from $53.8 million to $290.5 million in fiscal year 2015.

“It has been incredibly rewarding to watch Wichita State grow and get better and better with each passing year,” King said. “I am fortunate and grateful to work with a group of professionals who believe passionately in this university and who work diligently to help Wichita State reach its full potential.”


A Golden Anniversary


This year, the WSU Foundation marks the 50th anniversary of its founding. We will share highlights of our journey in each issue of Horizon this year. If you have a memory, story or observation involving the WSU Foundation, please share it by contacting Belinda Venters, WSU Foundation director of communications, at 319-978-5624 or