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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

For Sandi Heysinger and Dick Williams, new business building will help students become career-ready


business building rendering
 A rendering of the business building
     Sandi Heysinger and Dick Williams have learned many business lessons over the course of their careers, but one of the most important has been the value of knowing about all facets of an enterprise, not merely their corner of it.

     That’s why they’re excited about the vision for the new facility for the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State – and why they’ve chosen to support it financially with a gift of $150,000.
Wilson K. Cadman
The Houston couple has donated $150,000 to the Shock the World campaign priority.


     “I think it’s awesome that this building will be a place where business students interact with engineering students and students from across campus,” Williams said. “It’s all about cross-pollination and understanding all sides of a business or project. What I see coming out of this vision are students who are tremendously qualified to enter the workforce.”

     The best advice Heysinger would give to business students is to create a broad experience for themselves.

     “That means traveling, getting familiar with other cultures, and taking classes that may be outside of your core curriculum. If you’re a business major, take an introductory engineering class, and vice versa,” she said. “Those opportunities for cross-disciplinary learning are very much a part of the experience the new building will make possible.”

     Heysinger, who graduated from WSU in 1975 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, spent her career with Exxon in a variety of positions, most of them related to marketing in Houston. Williams, a graduate of Penn State, spent 36 years as an engineer with Shell, the last seven of it as president of Shell’s wind energy business.

     Now retired, the couple has arranged estate gifts to the universities that are most important to them, including Wichita State. But when they learned about WSU’s plans to build a new business school complex, they chose to make an immediate gift, too, Heysinger said.

     “This contribution really is a result of Dick saying, ‘I think our gift needs to be sooner rather than later,’ ” she said.

     She added: “We want to see the school and its faculty have the tools they need to educate students properly and by that I mean the infrastructure and a modern environment to replace Clinton Hall. And we want to see them take advantage of the tremendous business partners they have who can offer students so much in the way of networking, collaboration and an outstanding business education.”

     Heysinger believes in the project so much she has agreed to serve on a committee of volunteers helping to raise money for it, as part of the WSU Foundation’s Shock the World campaign. Building the 143,000-square-foot complex on the Innovation Campus will cost about $58 million. The Foundation and its partners seek to raise half of that privately, with the remainder coming from the university.

     Heysinger, who earned an MBA from Indiana University, said Wichita State laid the educational foundation for her career. She especially has strong memories of her professors, including Donald Hackett, who recently let her know that she influenced his approach to teaching.

     “He reminded me of the time I let him know that I didn’t think he was calling on young women in his class as much as young men,” Heysinger said with a laugh. “I said maybe it was because he was afraid of putting us on the spot, but I told him he needed to challenge us as much as the guys. He said he appreciated the feedback and it made him step back and look at his approach.”

     Married since 1983, Heysinger and Williams spend much of their time in retirement traveling, hiking and biking. Heysinger also has become a certified gemologist and enjoys attending trade shows, buying and selling gems. She and Williams have two grown sons.