John ’58, ’64 and Kathy ’76, ’83 Wilson —
Promise for the Future highlight

Wilsons are champions for elementary teachers through scholarship and planned giving

John and Kathy Wilson
John ’58, ’64 and Kathy ’76, ’83 Wilson’s passion for and careers in education motivated them to create the “Dr. John” Scholarship for Elementary Education Majors, which will live in perpetuity through their planned gift that they established during the Promise for the Future campaign.

John and Kathy are passionate about education — they’ve dedicated their lives to it. Their certainty, according to John, that “elementary classroom teachers are the critical element in children’s overall education” is so strong that earlier this year they created the “Dr. John” Scholarship for Elementary Education Majors. They followed up by establishing a planned gift through the Promise for the Future campaign, to support it forever.

John is professor emeritus of elementary education at Wichita State University, where he was an educator for more than four decades, beginning in 1968. He’s also an alumnus, earning his Bachelor of Arts in education, majoring in elementary education, and Master of Education, majoring in education administration and supervision, in 1958 and 1964, respectively. John received a Doctor of Education from the University of Oklahoma in Norman in 1967. He taught in the elementary classroom for seven years, in addition to two years at the University of Oklahoma and one year at the University of Missouri. John also served as an elementary school assistant principal. This coming school year will mark his 54th year as an elementary educator.

“My five-decades-long career in elementary education has allowed me to experience what I consider the single most important and demanding work imaginable, elementary classroom teaching,” said John. “My respect for teachers in this domain is immeasurable and made the decision to contribute, in the fashion Kathy and I have chosen, an easy one, certain to never regret the investment.”

John Wilson's books
John Wilson authored or co-authored several books related to elementary-level curriculum and instruction, as well as published many articles in professional journals.

Six scholarships were received by students during the spring 2011 semester and five will be awarded for fall 2011.

To provide further assistance to future teachers through the scholarship, John is using his retirement fund to establish his and Kathy’s planned gift. They were recognized as new members to the Society of 1895 this past spring. Their gift comes during the Promise for the Future planned giving campaign, an effort by the WSU Foundation to inform supporters about the impact of including a gift to WSU in their estate plans.

“Because I have observed so very many students struggling with finances during the student teaching semester, the desire to help has been long term,” said John. “When we were able to start the scholarship, we did, and now we’re able to ensure it into perpetuity.”

John, who published many articles in professional journals and authored or co-authored several books related to elementary-level curriculum and instruction, is the recipient of several teaching awards, including the Kansas Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching award in 1971.

John remains actively involved with the WSU College of Education, where he observes students in their final semester in the teaching program. John is a member of Phi Upsilon Sigma fraternity and has been an annual member of the WSU Alumni Association for 29 years.

Kathy earned a bachelor’s degree from Friends University in 1971. At WSU, she completed a master’s degree in elementary education and a specialist degree in educational administration in 1976 and 1983, respectively. Kathy attended the University of Kansas, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in 1991. Sharing her husband’s passion for education, Kathy has more than three decades of service in education, serving as an elementary classroom teacher and as principal in all levels of education, most recently retiring as the principal of Newton High School. She also served as the initiator, with former Wichita Chief of Police Richard LaMunyon, of the School-Police-Liaison Program as the head of Career Education for the Wichita Public Schools. Kathy has been an annual WSU Alumni Association member for 16 years.

“You would have to search far and wide to find a couple more convinced than Kathy and me, about the importance of a sound elementary education. We’re honored to support individuals who are on the very edge of becoming licensed to assume this enormous, critical responsibility.”

To learn more about planned giving or the Promise for the Future campaign, contact Mike Lamb, WSU Foundation vice president for planned and annual giving, at (316) 978-3804 or

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