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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

For WSU students, a helping hand from Dan and Jill Becker



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The Beckers have endowed a scholarship targeting students with financial need

Rachel is a first-generation college student who worries about the financial strain her education puts on her parents, who live on one income. Meghan’s family can’t afford to contribute to her education, so she works while going to school. Sheila counts herself lucky to have won scholarships to offset college expenses, but knows many other deserving students who aren’t as fortunate.

All three are Wichita State students with stellar academic records, ambitious career goals and strong financial need – the kind of students Dan and Jill Becker want to support with their new endowed scholarship. The Beckers, who live in Denver, recently contributed $250,000 to create a scholarship targeting students in need. They especially hope to assist women who face obstacles that could derail their education.

Shock The World
Increasing scholarship aid for students with financial need is one of the top priorities of the WSU Foundation’s Shock the World Campaign.

“It’s pretty obvious that women are underrepresented in business and government,” says Dan Becker, who graduated from WSU in 1987. “As a result, we’re missing out on their huge potential to contribute. We believe women can make any endeavor they participate in better because of their unique skills and experiences.”

During his 32-year career with Boeing, Becker had plenty of opportunities to see the benefits women bring to the workplace and also to see the void that occurs when they aren’t represented in the ranks of leadership and decision-makers.

“We’re at a point in our lives where we have the means to try to change that and help empower people who need it,” Becker said.

Dan joined The Boeing Co. in 1974 and continued his education at Wichita State University in the evenings, earning a degree in general studies in 1986. He retired from Boeing in 2006 as vice president/general manager of the 747, 767 and 777 programs.

Upon retirement, the Beckers decided to move to Denver to be closer to family and friends in Wichita, but still live in a place where they could enjoy the mountains. They maintain close ties to many friends from high school and college. Dan is a motorcycle enthusiast who takes biking trips with friends a couple of times a year.

He feels grateful to both Wichita and WSU for the opportunities both gave him.

“I started with Boeing as an hourly employee,” he recalls. “I was lucky and had great mentors, including some excellent faculty at Wichita State. WSU is really good at working to support non-traditional students like I was.”

He and Jill recognize the cost of getting a college degree has increased dramatically since he graduated from Wichita State. “As a result of that, I think some people have given up on their dreams of getting a college education. We hope we can help some of them stay in school and be successful in their careers.”

For more information

Interested in sharing your story and making a lasting impact on WSU students through an endowed fund? Contact Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president, at 316-978-7791 or keith.pickus@wichita.edu.

Aaron Winter