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Brent Myers’ award for engineering faculty designed to develop innovative students

Royce Bowden and Brent Myers
Royce Bowden, dean of the WSU College of Engineering, and Brent Myers '58

As a resident of the San Francisco area, Brent Myers is bombarded almost daily with news of technological innovations emerging from Silicon Valley, just a few miles south of his home. His awareness of the value of new knowledge discovery is high, to say the least.

That’s one of the reasons he’s excited to see the development of the Innovation Campus at Wichita State University, and the important ways the College of Engineering will contribute to it. Myers, a 1958 graduate of the University of Wichita, earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

Myers worked with the WSU Foundation and College of Engineering Dean Royce Bowden to identify the most powerful way he could help students and faculty cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset crucial to technology breakthroughs.

The result: Myers has pledged $175,000 to create the Brenton Myers Innovation in Engineering Education Award.

“One of our priorities is to unleash the creativity of our students,” Bowden said. “This gives us a meaningful vehicle to do that. It provides support to faculty to enhance classroom activities that cultivate and foster the talents of students.”

Beginning this fall, faculty will submit proposals to use award funds to implement enhancements to their classes. That could include attending a conference, buying equipment or materials, hiring a student assistant — anything that fosters innovation in a course.

“Ultimately, what we want to do is show students how their technical training can be applied with an entrepreneurial mindset to develop new technology and designs,” says Myers. “It’s exciting. It’s introducing more creative elements into the engineering curriculum.”

The award is the first of its kind in the College of Engineering. Myers’ gift will help the WSU Foundation achieve its campaign goal of raising $2 million in new money for curriculum, instruction and professional development.

Myers spent the bulk of his career working in airport planning and development with the Kansas City Aviation Department. In 2011, he established the Brenton D. Myers Endowed Scholarship in Engineering. He also has supported the Shocker Racing team, giving a substantial gift in 2011 to help finance the expansion of the team’s workshop on campus.

circle arrow If you would like to support engineering students and faculty, contact Kim Bair, WSU Foundation director of development for the College of Engineering, at 316-978-3839 or kim.bair@wichita.edu