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Shock the World Campaign
In This Issue

       

Pizza Hut relocation & museum project will inspire WSU students


business building rendering
 A rendering shows what the new Pizza Hut museum might look like.
     Few stories of entrepreneurial success are more remarkable than the history of how two University of Wichita students turned a 500-square-foot pizza place into the world’s largest chain of pizza restaurants.

     The Pizza Hut story is one the WSU Foundation and Wichita State want to showcase to help students understand the power of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.

     They have launched a campaign to raise $1.2 million to move the original Pizza Hut restaurant from its current location on the WSU campus to the Innovation Campus, transforming it into a living museum.
Wilson K. Cadman


     “The Pizza Hut story is the quintessential entrepreneurial success story for Wichita and it epitomizes how innovation can lead to success,” said Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president for corporate and foundation relations. “We believe strongly its story represents the essence of what we hope to achieve with the Innovation Campus.”

     Dan Carney (at right), who co-founded Pizza Hut in 1958 with his brother, Frank, has agreed to donate his sizeable collection of Pizza Hut mementos and artifacts to the museum. And two Wichita franchisees, Larry Fugate and Bill Walsh, have made significant donations to the project, as has the corporate headquarters of Pizza Hut.

     “The Wichita franchisees are excited about the project,” said Bill Walsh, co-owner of Daland Corp., which has 106 Pizza Huts in 12 states. “I’ve had a love of this brand since I was 10 years old and went with my dad to the first Pizza Hut. And then it worked out that I was able to make a very good living for 50 years as a franchisee. I guess you could say I feel somewhat obligated to assist in making this museum a reality.”

     More than a third of the $1.2 million has been raised, with fundraising efforts ongoing. Most of the funds, about $700,000, will be used to relocate and renovate the building, including replacing its roof with the trademark red roof that used to dominate so many Pizza Hut stores. Other costs include installation of Pizza Hut memorabilia and video screens to share oral histories of the founding generation.

     The WSU Foundation plans to raise $500,000 to endow a student curator program, employing students in academic areas such as history and museum studies to work as docents and update museum contents. The museum is expected to open late next summer.

     “I think there’s a need to create this museum, not only as a tribute to Dan and Frank Carney, but also to the entrepreneurial spirit of Wichita,” said Walsh, a 1971 graduate of Wichita State who changed his major from English to business while managing his first Pizza Hut in 1967. “It’s an amazing story, and one that’s given an awful lot of people a world of opportunity.”

For more information

If you would like to learn more about investing in this project, contact Keith Pickus, WSU Foundation vice president for corporate and foundation relations, at 316-978-7791 or keith.pickus@wichita.edu.

Joseph Hunter