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Donors help ease student fees financing the Rhatigan Student Center renovation

A grand opening this month showcased a modern facility that will serve students for years

WSU President John Bardo addresses attendees at the Rhatigan Student Center grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
WSU President John Bardo addresses attendees at the Rhatigan Student Center grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hundreds of WSU students, faculty, alumni and friends gathered at the newly renovated Rhatigan Student Center on Sept. 15 for a grand opening that featured speakers, refreshments, music and tours of the brightly lighted and modernly appointed facility.

Visitors saw a lower level with recreational activities such as bowling, billiards, darts and a new video gaming center. They enjoyed snacks in the sleek dining area on the first floor, with plenty of lounging spaces nearby. They toured meeting rooms and spacious seating areas on the second floor, as light flooded the atrium from skylights overhead. And they strolled through the beautiful Shirley Beggs Ballroom on the third level, connected to a new terrace that lines the east side of the building.

James J. Rhatigan, for whom the Rhatigan Student Center is named, was among speakers celebrating the grand opening of the newly renovated facility on Sept. 15.
James J. Rhatigan, for whom the Rhatigan Student Center is named, was among speakers celebrating the grand opening of the newly renovated facility on Sept. 15.

In his remarks, WSU President John Bardo said the Rhatigan Student Center is a place where lifelong memories are made and where creativity and idea sharing will be fostered. James Rhatigan, former consultant to the WSU Foundation and the person for whom the student center is named, called it a place for community building and individual development.

“The unplanned things that happen when we enter this building can remain with us for a lifetime,” he said. “That is why this is such a dynamic and important place, a place of true unexpected opportunity.”

The grand opening was an opportunity for visitors to see the impressive results of a $33 million investment in the facility and hopefully be prompted to consider making a philanthropic gift to support it, said Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO. Contributions will decrease the bonded indebtedness that students will pay off through fees in the coming years, she said.

Those who donate at specified levels are offered naming opportunities for some of the rooms and other spaces in the student center. Many naming opportunities already have been reserved, but plenty remain.

Among those donors are Mike ’71 and Mary James, who, in a whimsical move, chose to name their meeting room after their dog, Olive.


"We wanted to be part of the family that helps students be all that they can be, just as we were helped many years ago."

- David Nygaard

“The student center was a major part of campus life for me,” said Mike, who lives in Chicago. “It housed student government activities, was a frequent stop for lunch and a convenient meeting place for all types of activities. This new facility will serve those same functions, only in a dramatically better fashion.”

“And if that isn’t enough, anything bearing the name of James Rhatigan would get a contribution from me,” he said, referring to the former dean of students.

Another donor, David Nygaard, ’73, ’74, said one of his strongest memories of being a student at Wichita State was visiting the student center and feeling a sense of family and camaraderie.

“The RSC is the one place where all the action is and you get to meet fellow ‘family’ members,” he said. “We wanted to be part of the family that helps students be all that they can be, just as we were helped many years ago.”

 

circle arrow If you would like to support the Rhatigan Student Center,contact Joseph Hunter, WSU Foundation vice president for development, at 316-978-3808 or josephl.hunter@wichita.edu. A list of RSC rooms and other spaces with naming opportunities can be found below or by clicking here.


 

Rooms and other spaces available for naming opportunities in the newly renovated Rhatigan Student Center

 

Lower Level:

  • Shocker Bowling, a suite of rooms that is home to the most accomplished college bowling program in the country.
  • Champions Room, a 400-square-foot meeting room.
  • Striker’s Lounge, popular with students and located near the Shocker Sports Grill and bowling lanes.
  • Billiards area, featuring six pool tables and dart boards.
  • Bowling lanes, with each of eight lanes available for naming.
  • Command Zone Gaming, a new area for students who enjoy video gaming.

First floor:

  • Harvest Room, a large dining and meeting area with large windows facing north and west.
  • Dining area, a large gathering spot located next to the food court.
  • Bluestem Lounge, with a theater-style seating arrangement and contemporary fireplace in a setting with natural light from windows on the east.
  • FastBreak, with three lounge seating areas and home to Starbucks coffee.

Second floor:

  • Office of Multicultural Affairs, an expanded suite of rooms promoting an all-inclusive campus community.
  • WU Lounge, located outside the Student Involvement and Student Government Association office complexes.
  • Huxley Room, a 500-square-foot meeting room.
  • Santa Fe Trail Room, the large meeting space is one of the most popular rooms in the RSC because of its size and central location.
  • Tallgrass Room, a 500-square-foot meeting room.
  • Smoky Hills Room, a 600-square-foot meeting room.
  • Sage Lounge, the premiere lounge spot on the second floor, with 900 square feet.

Third floor:

  • Aster Lounge, a pre-function space located outside the Shirley Beggs Ballroom and opening directly onto the new terrace along the east side of the building.