Gridley, Hoover, Allen honored at Fairmount Society dinner

Don and Shirley Beggs, Tracy Hoover, Curt GridleyWSU President and First Lady Don and Shirley Beggs with Fairmount Founders' Award recipients Tracy Hoover and Curt Gridley. 

Don Beggs, Tom Winters, Paul Allen, Andy SchlappDon Beggs, WSU Board of Trustees Chair Tom Winters, Board of Trustees' Award recipient Paul Allen, and Andy Schlapp, WSU executive director of government relations and board of trustees. 

Don Beggs and Craig BartonDon Beggs presents Craig Barton with a gift for his new Lifetime Distinction membership.


Click here for photos of all the new lifetime members, and more pictures from the 2012 Fairmount Society Dinner.

Nearly 200 people attended the Wichita State Foundation’s Fairmount Society Dinner May 8, where Curt Gridley and Tracy Hoover were presented with the 2012 Fairmount Founders' Award and Paul Allen was the recipient of the 2012 Board of Trustees' Award.

Gridley graduated from WSU in 1980 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics and a minor in Spanish. He received a master's degree in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1983.

"Jim Rhatigan and Emory Lindquist inspired me to be the best I could be," said Gridley. He is a technical and management consultant for small start-up companies.

Hoover graduated in 1985 from Wellesley College with a bachelor's degree in English and computer science. She is an accomplished musician who teaches private lessons in viola da gamba through the WSU School of Music.

In addition to volunteering their time at the university and the WSU Foundation, Gridley and Hoover are loyal financial supporters, creating the Curtis D. Gridley Professorship in the History and Philosophy of Science and the Gridley-Hoover Pilot Research Program for the Regional Institute on Aging at WSU, in addition to contributing to numerous other entities across campus.

Allen graduated from WSU in 1970 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. He is one of the founding members of Allen, Gibbs & Houlik LC (AGH), Wichita's largest CPA firm for the past 20 years. Allen became its chief executive in 1987. Allen joins Gridley on the WSU Foundation Board of Directors and also has served on the Barton School Advisory Board since its inception.

"I received an outstanding education at WSU and something more happened along the way," said Allen. "The friends I made at WSU and the teachers who challenged me started the process about what I would become."

Allen and his partners at AGH have given generously to WSU, and Allen's personal financial commitment to WSU includes the Allen Family Endowed Scholarship established in 1993, benefitting students from Frederick Remington High School in Whitewater, Kan., who come to WSU and major in business.

Equally as important as the two awards, the annual event honors new members to the annual and lifetime levels of the Fairmount Society, WSU's most prestigious support group.

Annual members give a minimum of $20,000 during the previous fiscal year. New lifetime members, contributing $200,000-$499,999 during their lifetimes, were Gladys and K.C. "Buck" Alley, Lora and Don Barry, Buckley Industries, Diane Cline, Sondra Langel and Richard Smith, John See, Grant Stannard, John D. White, and Patricia and Bob White.

New distinguished lifetime members, giving $500,000-$999,999 during their lifetimes, were Craig Barton, Meritrust Credit Union, and Klee and Jennifer Watchous. Lifetime achievement members are those whose total outright giving exceeds $1 million. Lee Riley was honored for reaching this milestone.

Surprise tribute to Shirley and Don Beggs

The evening capped off with a surprise tribute to Shirley and Don Beggs, first lady and president of Wichita State. Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation, highlighted their impact at WSU.

"Shirley and Don leave behind a legacy that will be enduring — and memories that are irreplaceable," said King.

Her comments were followed by remarks from the chairs of the boards most closely affiliated with Don Beggs' tenure: Tyler Heffron, chair of the WSU Alumni Association Board of Directors; Tom Winters, chair of the WSU Board of Trustees; Barton, chair of the WSU Foundation Board of Directors; and Ed McKechnie, chair of the Kansas Board of Regents.

"We feel like we have known you all of our lives," said Shirley Beggs.

In true Shocker style, the evening concluded with the audience singing the WSU Alma Mater led by King and the Beggs.

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