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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

Leon and Karen Lungwitz show faith in WSU baseball by donating to Eck Stadium project


John See
Leon and Karen Lungwitz showing their Shocker colors near the entrance to Eck Stadium.
     Like most Shocker baseball fans, Leon and Karen Lungwitz are eager for the program to relive its glory years – those seasons marked by College World Series appearances, trips to the NCAA tournament and MVC championships.

     They have confidence that the team, led by Coach Todd Butler since the 2014 season, will once again compete in a way that ignites community pride and the kind of Shocker spirit that fills Eck Stadium. In the meantime, they’re showing good faith by donating generously to a development plan for the stadium complex and by assisting the fundraising campaign for the project.
Wilson K. Cadman
A rendering of the Eck Stadium project


     “Wichita State has a vision to make this one of the finest Division 1 baseball facilities in the country, and we’re almost there,” said Leon, a 1970 graduate of Wichita State. “We’ve successfully completed four phases of a five-phase plan, and now we need to wrap this up.”

     The final phase of the Eck Stadium renovation project, one of priorities of the WSU Foundation’s Shock the World campaign, carries a $3 million price-tag, to be raised through private donations. About $1 million was secured in a previous campaign, so the Foundation and WSU Athletics are trying to raise the remaining $2 million now.

     At the project’s centerpiece is a 10,000-square-foot Performance Facility to be utilized by student-athletes in baseball, softball, golf and tennis. It will house a strength and conditioning center and provide access to and from the Bombardier Learjet Practice Facility, as well as to the Shocker dugout. The dugout will be moved from the first-base side of the field to the third-base side. Finally, the baseball program’s ticket office will be enlarged and remodeled.

     “A top-tier facility is absolutely necessary for recruiting,” said Leon. “Other schools are putting money into their stadiums. We need to stay competitive in that area.”

     The donation Leon and Karen made to the project includes funds from their business, Print Source, which they bought in 1982. The couple met while students at Wichita State and married in 1964, raising two sons, Stuart and Craig. Stuart is now president of Print Source, with Leon assisting part-time. Karen, who attended WSU for two years, has worked from the start in the company’s accounting department. She also taught preschool for 33 years at the couple’s church.

     Leon graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and worked for several different companies before Karen convinced him to get serious about starting his own business. The couple purchased an enterprise called Staats Decals and turned it into a full-service printing and graphics company, going from 2 ½ employees in 1982 to 107 today.

     “There’s no doubt that Wichita State gave me the educational foundation to accomplish what I have in business,” said Leon, who has served as president of the Shocker Athletic Scholarship Organization and now sits on the WSU Foundation’s National Advisory Council. “Fran Jabara was very much an influence on me. He always said: You have to make something of yourself. No one is going to give it to you.”

     Now Leon and Karen give back to their alma mater, not only by supporting WSU Athletics but also by establishing a business scholarship, supporting the business dean’s fund for excellence and pledging a gift from their estate. They contributed to the Roundhouse Renaissance Campaign to renovate Charles Koch Arena in the early 2000s and recently pledged a generous gift to the new Koch Arena project, which also is a priority in the Shock the World campaign.

     The Eck Stadium project is their chief focus, though. Leon serves on the leadership committee made up of volunteers helping to raise money for the project.

     “We’re hoping people will get behind this now, to help propel the team back to its glory, rather than wait for it happen and then get on board,” Leon said. “We can help the program get there with this facility.”