Velma Wallace’s gift will rename WSU building in honor of Donald Beggs

Don and Shirley Beggs with Velma Wallace

Velma Wallace (center), with Don and Shirley Beggs, recently made a $3 million gift to rename the Engineering Research Building at WSU to Donald L. Beggs Hall.

A $3 million gift from the late Velma Wallace will honor the 12th president of Wichita State, Don Beggs.

The Kansas Board of Regents unanimously approved renaming the Engineering Research Building at WSU to Donald L. Beggs Hall. The action was taken during the Regents monthly meeting Wednesday, June 20, and was effective July 1.

The gift from Wallace, widow of Dwane Wallace, who built Cessna Aircraft into a powerful aerospace company, will help pay for the bonds, which were used to construct the building.

“Naming the engineering research building after Dr. Beggs is a testimony to his many contributions.”

Velma Wallace

“Dr. Beggs is most deserving for the tremendous impact he and Shirley have had, not only on our university, but also on our community,” said Wallace in a statement before her death on July 8. “Naming the engineering research building after Dr. Beggs is a testimony to his many contributions.”

According to Elizabeth King, CEO and president of the WSU Foundation, Wallace wanted to recognize President Beggs in a special way.

“Her primary motivation was her respect for President Beggs and appreciation for his leadership at Wichita State,” said King. “Due to their long-term friendship, it is especially meaningful that Beggs Hall is adjacent to Wallace Hall.”

Wallace Hall’s namesake, Dwane Wallace, was one of the founding members and the first president of the WSU Endowment Association, now the WSU Foundation.

“I have profound admiration for Velma’s generosity and her acknowledgement of President Beggs’ impact on WSU,” said King. “This gift will benefit the university for many years to come.”

“Don made a lasting difference in this university during his tenure,” said WSU President John Bardo. “He has been a great ambassador for the university, both in the state and nationally.

“The action of the Board of Regents and the wonderful gift by Velma Wallace are a fitting tribute to one of the best leaders in the history of this university.”

 
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