At age nine, Mary Wettig ’82, could be found behind the wheel of a tractor, working on her family’s farm. After high school, she took a teaching position while enrolled in classes at Kansas State University. Later in life, she worked second and third shift at Boeing as she raised six children on her own.
“She came from a family who were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination,” said son and ’86 Shocker alum, Chris Wettig. “But she didn’t let that stand in her way.”
Mary graduated from Wichita State in 1982 with her bachelor’s degree, the first of her family to do so, but far from the last. Each of her six children are college graduates; three have obtained advanced degrees and two hold CPA certifications.
“I can remember sitting at the kitchen table at a very young age, working on my letters and numbers,” said Chris. “She was always there, always encouraging me. She supported me and each of my siblings all the way through college.”
To give back to his alma mater and to honor his mother’s enduring passion for education, Chris, along with a supplementary gift from his brother, Jay, established the Mary Wettig Honors Scholarship.
“She never had an advantage growing up,” Chris said. “So, I hope this can help give future students an advantage as they work to receive their degrees.”
Mary’s enthusiasm for education continues to this day as she, now 90, cheers on her 16 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren through their schooling.
“I hope people understand how just one woman impacted so many lives,” he said. “The emphasis she placed on higher education extended not only one generation, to her children who obtained college degrees, but beyond – to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She’s just a spectacular woman.” And through the Mary Wettig Honors Scholarship, that impact will extend to Wichita State students for many more generations to come.