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George Platt’s impact on Wichita State continues with generous estate gift


George Platt
WSU’s unofficial historian, Dr. Platt had a front-row seat to the university’s growth and evolution

George Platt had an affection and respect for Wichita State University few could match. For many years after he retired, he came to campus nearly every day to work on projects, write and serve as an associate professor emeritus.

He held many titles during his 28-year tenure: associate vice president of planning and institutional research, director of graduate studies in public administration, associate professor of political science and associate professor of public administration. But just as important to him was the position he held as Wichita State’s unofficial historian.

“George knew things about the campus very few people knew, and he loved providing information and answering people’s questions,” says James Rhatigan, former WSU dean of students and a close friend. “With his death, Wichita State has lost an irreplaceable source of institutional history.”

Dr. Platt died in June at the age of 86. He demonstrated his devotion to Wichita State by leaving a substantial portion of his estate to the university, a gift valued at $456,950. He designated that the funds be used to endow the George M. Platt Director’s Discretionary Fund for the Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs, where he worked the last 10 years of his career with Wichita State.

Sam Brown, director of the Hugo Wall School, said the gift will make an impact on the school for years to come.

“The flexibility of this gift will permit the director to raise and refresh the profile of the school, develop research programs that meet market needs, strengthen and deepen enrollment, and position the school effectively for future success,” Brown says. “We are indebted to Dr. Platt, who gave of his time and talent well beyond what we expected or deserved.”

It is always gratifying when faculty and staff remember Wichita State in their estate plans, says Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president. “It’s a powerful sign of appreciation for their own personal experience, as well as a huge sign of respect and regard for the University.”

Dr. Platt worked on major projects and events that gave him great professional satisfaction, Rhatigan says. He was the official coordinator for Wichita State’s centennial celebration from 1994 to 1996, which involved researching and compiling the entire history of Wichita State.

As associate vice president of planning and institutional research under WSU President Clark Ahlberg, he helped oversee a period of active building construction and campus expansion. One of his fondest memories was guiding the installation of the great Marcussen organ in Wiedemann Hall.

Dr. Platt was born on New Year's Day, 1931, in Rapid City, South Dakota. He earned his bachelor's degree from South Dakota State University and his master's degree and Ph.D from Syracuse University, where he first met Ahlberg.

He wrote two books, contributed to eight others and authored dozens of articles and professional research papers.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about how to establish a planned gift for Wichita State, contact Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president, at 316-978-3804 or mike.lamb@wichita.edu.

mike lamb