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Sept 2014 Horizon Header


Retired Faculty/Staff Coffee marks 47th year

J.C. Combs plays a tune at the 2014 Retired Faculty/Staff Coffee
Retired percussion professor J.C. Combs was guest speaker at the 2014 Retired Faculty/Staff Coffee. His presentation included a musical number.

About 150 of Wichita State’s retired faculty and staff members gathered at the Marcus Welcome Center on Sept. 3 for the 47th annual coffee and breakfast.

James J. Rhatigan, who retired this year from the WSU Foundation after 12 years as a consultant, emceed the event he founded in 1967 when he was dean of students. In his usual witty fashion, Rhatigan opened his comments by asking everyone if they had remembered to take their pills.

Stacie Williamson and Jessica Lemoine volunteering at the 2014 Wichita State Convocation
James Rhatigan shares his wit with guests at the Retired Faculty/Staff Coffee.

He introduced the guest speakers, who included Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation president and CEO; Tony Vizzini, provost and senior vice president; and J.C. Combs, professor of percussion who retired in 2007 after a 36-year career at Wichita State.

Vizzini told those gathered that a lot of good work is being undertaken at WSU now as the university’s leadership and faculty focus on building the Innovation Campus. He noted that, “It’s on your foundation that all this good work is being done.”

Emily Pirtle provided entertainment, playing the piano and singing a selection from the musical “The Spitfire Grill.” Pirtle graduated from Wichita State last May and is moving to New York to pursue a Broadway career.

Combs presented a light-hearted look at his childhood in a small town and those who inspired his journey to become a musician. He led the group in singing the novelty song “I’m My Own Grandpa.” Combs’ presentation was inspired in part by a new book he co-wrote with his sister, Barbara, titled “Clearmont: Life in a Small Town in the 1940s and early ‘50s.”