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In This Issue

       

Private support a cornerstone to building projects during WSU Foundation’s 50-year history

Groundbreaking for the Marcus Welcome Center with, from left, Howard and Rose Marcus, Shirley Beggs and WSU President Emeritus Don Beggs.
Groundbreaking for the Marcus Welcome Center with, from left, Howard and Rose Marcus, Shirley Beggs and Don Beggs, WSU president emeritus.
Rose and Howard Marcus
Rose and Howard Marcus

What comes to mind when you think about donating to a Wichita State University building? Cement forms? Ceramic tiles? Paint? Bricks? Yes, those materials probably would be purchased. What is not bought, but will result from the donations, are students filling the polished tile hallways deep in conversation and the muffled voices of faculty lecturing in modern classrooms. The learning and the sharing — those are what result from contributing to building projects.

“Many friends of Wichita State have donated to buildings, and in turn have made it possible for thousands of Shockers to gain knowledge, share experiences and talents, and make lifelong friends,” said Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “Ultimately, they invested in a vision.”

Did you know?
The Marcus Welcome Center features:
  • 2 stories & 29,320 square feet
  • 6 interactive displays
  • a 100-seat auditorium named for Velma Wallace
  • 3 multi-purpose rooms named for Mickey & Pete Armstrong, Becky & Steve Clark and Elizabeth King – a gift from Velma Wallace in King’s honor
  • the Milly Marcus Memorial Garden
  • the Betty & Edward Burns clock tower, located not far from where they met while attending the University of Wichita
  • the Office of Admissions: 30 full-time, 3 part-time & 37 student staff who have hosted 35,000+ individual campus visitors & their parents/guests during the past 10 years

During the 50 years that the Endowment Association and, now, the WSU Foundation have raised funds for Wichita State, several new facilities were made possible in full or in part by private support, including Woodman Alumni Center, Devlin Hall, the Advanced Education in General Dentistry building, the Ninnescah Biological Research Station, Elliott Hall, the Sheldon Coleman Tennis Complex and Marcus Welcome Center, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

New front door to WSU rolls out the welcome mat.

When Don Beggs, WSU president emeritus, was in office in 2000, he suggested creating a new front door to the university. A lead gift of $1.3 million from Howard and Rose Marcus, plus contributions from 150 other donors, funded more than half of the building's nearly $6 million cost. The Marcus Welcome Center stands on the site of the former Crestview Country Club clubhouse, originally built in 1924, which WSU purchased in 1969. The Marcuses were continuing a family tradition of giving to the university. Howard's father, Sam, who founded what eventually became Excel Corp., and his mother, Milly, provided the lead gift in the 1970s for the Marcus Center for Continuing Education, which also housed the University Club.

In 2000, when renovations to the continuing education center would have cost more than a new building, the structure was razed. In 2005 the welcome mat was rolled out and the doors of the Marcus Welcome Center opened to current and future students and their parents, alumni, friends, supporters and community members.

“Then, Rose and I thought the center was a great idea to welcome potential students, their parents, alumni and other guests to campus,” said Howard Marcus. “Ten years later we still believe it was a smart decision and now see how many lives it has touched.”