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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

Ed and Jeanne Cooper donate to new building to underscore value of a business education


Cooper family
 Ed and Jeanne Cooper with daughters Lauren, a Texas graduate who works in Houston as an aerospace engineer with NASA at Mission Control for the International Space Station; Madison, a freshman at Texas Christian University pursuing a degree in political science; and Megan, a graduate of the University of Texas who works in electronic advertising sales.
Ed Cooper has always felt a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the education he received at Wichita State, but when he looks at the advantages WSU students will gain from the Innovation Campus development, he grows even prouder of his alma mater.

“Wichita State is really taking shape as a major college campus,” says Cooper, who graduated in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in health care administration. “Positioning the business school on the Innovation Campus is the right thing to do. It sends a message about the importance of having a foundation in business, because it will relate to almost everything you do.”

Cooper and his wife, Jeanne, recently pledged a gift of $250,000 to support building a new home for the W. Frank Barton School of Business. The $56 million project is the top priority in the WSU Foundation’s Shock the World campaign, which seeks to raise half the cost in private funds.

Though Cooper’s degree was in health care administration, most of his classes were in business, he said.

“Health care administrators manage a business,” he says. “It just happens to be a business unlike any other. We’re not making potato chips. We’re taking care of people. But you have to know what it takes to make a good product and run an effective and efficient business.”

Cooper is also a highly successful entrepreneur. He is the founder, president and CEO of Acuity Healthcare, which specializes in the care of people with acute, long-term illnesses. The hospital company has facilities in five states. Cooper founded two other health care-related companies before launching Acuity Healthcare in 2001. It is based in Austin, where the Coopers have lived since 1991.

As a WSU student, one of the things that impressed Cooper most was the quality of his professors and their dedication to students.

“I look back on those days and realize how fortunate I was to get the education I did,” he says. “I want to do my part now to support the university so kids today will have the resources and facilities they need to get on the right track and, hopefully, have a successful life and career. I want them to have the same fond memories I have of Wichita State.”

Cooper’s father was in the U.S. Air Force and brought his family to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita when Cooper was in high school. After graduating from WSU, Cooper was commissioned in the U.S. Army and served in its Medical Service Corps. He decided to pursue a graduate degree to advance his career and earned a master’s in health care administration at the University of Houston/Clear Lake. That convinced him to move into the health care industry.

He still has friends in Wichita, but one of his deepest connections to the Air Capital of the World is the love of aviation it instilled in him.

“My dad was a fighter pilot and I’ve always been around airplanes,” he says, noting that today he has three planes – a restored Cessna 140 that flew for the first time out of Wichita in 1947, a turbocharged Cessna 210 and an open-cockpit biplane.

Cooper has been married for 30 years to Jeanne, who owns a gift boutique in Austin. They have three daughters: Megan, Lauren and Madison.

In addition to supporting WSU’s new business school building, the Coopers also provided a generous gift to the WSU Advanced Education in General Dentistry facility and they support the WSU College of Health Professions.

For more information

If you would like to learn more about the new business school building, please call Joe Swanegan, senior director of development for the W. Frank Barton School of Business, at 316-978-3948 or joe.swanegan@wichita.edu.

Joe Swanegan