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Dr. John Bardo's Presidential Update

Dear Shockers:

The rapid transformation of Wichita State University has drawn a great deal of media and community attention. I am getting significant opportunities to explain what is happening at WSU and its connection to economic growth in our region. Technology increases our ability to change while creating new competitors. WSU will remain successful if we evolve and make sure our students are exposed to the latest learning techniques and the best equipment and facilities. I plan to communicate with you, on a regular basis, as these changes unfold.

One of my first goals upon returning to WSU in 2012 was to increase enrollment. After much collaboration among consultants, admissions' staff and related units, I am pleased to announce an increase in both enrollment and credit hours. On the 20th day of classes, the count was 15,003, up from 14,550 in fall 2014. The credit hour count was even more impressive. It topped out at the highest level in the history of the university with 165,131 credit hours. Last year’s credit hour count was 162,377.

What follows here are eight update briefs about our growing university. Thank you, Shockers, for your interest! If you have not visited your alma mater recently, I invite you to drop by, take a stroll and talk to students and other Shockers on campus. Be a part of WSU's transformation. What a great time to be a Shocker!

Learn, work, live, play.


Kansas Board of Regents Approves Legacy Tuition

Embracing progress, it is our goal to increase Wichita State's student body count even more. One initiative that will help growth is the new Legacy Tuition policy. The policy will allow out-of-state children and grandchildren of alumni to pay in-state rates to attend WSU.

Legacy Tuition Policy:

  • Student is admitted and designated as a non-resident
  • After admission/enrollment, student submits Legacy Waiver form to Registrar’s Office
  • Registrar’s Office confirms graduation of qualifying parent/grandparent
  • Confirmation goes to Student Accounts (along with required documentation of parent/grandparent relationship)
  • Waiver code is applied to student’s account so non-resident portion of tuition is waived for the entirety of the student’s enrollment at WSU


Living on Campus: Shocker Hall

Shocker Hall, WSU’s new student residence hall, has opened to great reviews. Students are thrilled with their accommodations, the new dining services and the fact that Shocker Hall is located in the heart of campus. Dining in Shocker Hall is open to all students, faculty, staff and visitors — including the Groundhouse Coffee Shop, good for coffee, drinks and snacks. The Groundhouse Coffee Shop is accessible to visitors from a separate entrance on the east side of Shocker Hall dining.


Bloomfield Funded Distinguished Chair

The Sam and Rie Bloomfield Foundation announced a $2.5 million gift to fund the Sam Bloomfield Distinguished Chair in Engineering Innovation. The gift is the largest made to Wichita State to date by the Bloomfield Foundation, which has a long tradition of giving in support of arts and engineering at WSU.

Bill Lucus, representing the Foundation, spoke at the news conference; he recognized the late Sam and Rie Bloomfield for their commitment to Wichita State. Sam, who died in 1979, was an inventor considered one of Wichita's aviation pioneers; he was the president of Swallow Aircraft Company. Sam and Rie resided in Wichita for some 20 years, and even after relocating always held an affection for and loyalty to WSU. Lucas shared that 95 percent of the Foundation's donations are to Wichita entities and about 75 percent of that is contributed to WSU.

Royce Bowden, WSU dean of engineering, noted that the gift will help move the College of Engineering forward. The Bloomfield Foundation previously gifted the university with funds to establish the Bloomfield Chair in Aerospace Engineering and the Bloomfield Chair in Engineering. Verlon McKay, Bloomfield Foundation trustee and 2012 WSU President's Medal honoree, commented that an effective chair is someone who does something memorable and contributes to the growth of the university.


Rhatigan Student Center

The Rhatigan Student Center renovation — almost a transfiguration — is complete. Originally constructed more than 50 years ago, the building was in major need of an update. Now 60,000 square feet larger — for a total of nearly 220,000 square feet— it serves as the hub of campus life. Among the new offerings are increased ADA accessibility and more social space for student and faculty interaction. The RSC features the all-new, beautiful Shirley Beggs Ballroom. A variety of dining choices, including fast food options, are available for students and visitors, along with separate dining space available for groups to book for a more private event.

The lower level sports a reconfigured and enhanced recreation center with bowling lanes, pool tables and food services, and is decked out with the latest in snazzy decor. And on the second floor, the WSU Alumni Association's student alumni group, Shockers Forever, mans an office.

What a fun place to be. Ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremonies were held on Monday, Sept. 15. Two of the speakers at the dedication were building namesake James J. Rhatigan, at left, and Student Government Association President Matthew Conklin.



Koch Global Trading Center

Wichita State is fortunate to have the recent contribution of funds to establish the Koch Global Trading Center, a simulated trading center situated in Clinton Hall.

The Center boasts equipment that supplies real-time quotes and international feeds. It is equipped with software that helps students learn and understand the process of trading commodities and the complexities associated with the commodities and financial markets. Koch Industries pledged the lead gift of $300,000 and later added another $46,800 for programming and the faculty support fund.

Allegro Development of Dallas donated a software package valued at nearly $2.3 million. Wichita State is the first university with which Allegro has partnered. As the partnership develops, WSU and Allegro will be looking for possible expansion to other universities that might be interested in commodity trading curriculums.

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. contributed $120,000 toward the establishment of the Trading Center in support of hands-on student learning. The Rudd Foundation has added a contribution of $150,000, and other donors have contributed or pledged another $597,150. The Center, a part of the Barton School of Business, enhances experiential learning at Wichita State. WSU business faculty and administrators continue to voice their appreciation for those whose contributions made the Koch Global Trading Center possible.


Innovation Campus

The response to the Innovation Campus reveal has been a game-changer for WSU. At this point last year it was just a mental exploration, but has evolved into architectural renderings, blueprints, timelines and funding. Wheat Shocker apartments will be cleared to make way for the first building, the Experiential Engineering Building and Maker Space. EEBMS will feature labs with cutting-edge technology and equipment for students, individuals, business and industry as platforms for innovation. Construction is slated to begin in spring 2015, and WSU plans to construct a number of other buildings for its Innovation Campus.

The financial support from Sedgwick County with its 40-year commitment from mill levy money was a substantial boost, enabling the university to move forward with its plans to foster student opportunities, grow business and create jobs for Wichita and the surrounding economic region. The campus expansion will utilize space that is now the Braeburn Golf Club. The plan includes retention of space for the WSU golf teams to practice after Braeburn closes Nov. 3.

The 20-year plan for the Innovation Campus includes mixed-use space for housing and restaurants, including international cuisine. The Campus will also boast green space for the enjoyment of the outdoors, with ponds and fountains and leisure areas. The campus landscape is changing, but the same strong commitment to providing a world-class education is not.

As plans for the Innovation Campus take shape, it is affirming that so many — and diverse — businesses are interested in partnering with Wichita State on this innovative enterprise. WSU’s innovation partners include ABI Group, NetApp and Tech Mahindra.

University administators and Innovation Campus leaders are planning on this new addition to Wichita State to providing many more excellent internships, which will lead to jobs and successful careers for Shocker graduates. The Innovation Campus is, they say, where innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and technology will help shape the future.


Grant Secured for Advanced Manufacturing Research

The Economic Development Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has awarded Wichita State University a $1.9 million grant to purchase parts and equipment for a high tech Multi-Robotic Additive Manufacturing laboratory (MRAM). The announcement was made by the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams.

The university plans to incorporate $2 million in matching funds. With nearly $4 million in funding, WSU scientists will be able to purchase high-tech lab components and software in order to invent and build breakthrough original equipment. MRAM will showcase a room-size 3D printer that will be capable of printing anything from tables to drones. While MRAM projects and research will hold an emphasis on the transportation equipment manufacturing industry, it also will focus on medical equipment manufacturing.

More information about the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership can be found here.

For more information about Innovation Campus and the experiential engineering building, visit


New Programs

We have many new and innovative programs to tout this fall: NIAR’s Ballistic and Dynamics Research Lab (research), WSU Ventures (for the innovator) Koch Global Trading Center (hands-on learning) and OneStop (student service) to name a few.

These, along with our traditional programs combine to form a place where all can Learn, Work, Live and Play. The history of WSU tells the story of its expansion and growth cycle. Every few decades the timing is ripe for major transitions that expand the university’s mission and responsibility to students.

Continuous changes in technology have taken us to that point once again. Not by choice, but by necessity, Wichita State is undergoing a metamorphosis. We must re-imagine.