Since its establishment in 1965, the Wichita State University Foundation and Alumni Engagement (WSUFAE) has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing the university’s priorities. In May 2023, Elizabeth King announced her plans to retire as the WSUFAE president and CEO after 33 years of leading these efforts. Telly McGaha will be assuming this top position, joining us from Georgia State University.
“We extend a warm welcome to Telly as the next leader of the WSU Foundation and Alumni Engagement team,” says WSU President Rick Muma. “His proven dedication to advancing university priorities aligns seamlessly with the history of collaboration between WSU and the foundation and alumni team. We look forward to achieving new milestones as we continue supporting the mission of Wichita State.”
McGaha most recently served as interim president of the GSU Foundation and co-interim vice president for university advancement at Georgia State University. Under his leadership, he has supported the launch of a $750 million capital campaign, overseen a $5 million merger with another foundation, and collaborated with GSU’s board of trustees, university leadership, and the University System of Georgia on the recent closure of a $33 million real estate transaction. Between 2021 and 2023, he also led a team of 20 development officers to achieve the three highest fundraising years in the university’s history.
“I am deeply honored and excited to join Wichita State University as the president and CEO of the Foundation and Alumni Engagement,” says McGaha. “As a first-generation college graduate myself, the university’s commitment to accessible education and innovation stood out to me immediately, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the continued growth of WSU. I look forward to collaborating with the incredible team to elevate our impact and contribute to the university’s success.”
Telly will join the WSUFAE team on Feb. 12 and will work alongside Elizabeth for a short period to allow for a smooth transition into the position. March 1 will be King’s official last day.
The search for new leadership of the WSUFAE began in July, following King’s retirement announcement. The search committee was led by Lynn Nichols, chair of the WSUFAE Board of Directors, and Jay Smith, chair-elect, with guidance from the Bryant Group and these additional advisory members:
- Dorothy Cohen, community volunteer and WSU supporter
- Shirley Lefever, WSU executive vice president and provost
- Anthony Muscat, dean of WSU’s College of Engineering
- Kevin Saal, WSU athletic director
- Maggie Topping, senior vice president of HR and communications for Textron Aviation
- Amy Williams, director of global culture and DEI for Spirit AeroSystems
- Elizabeth King, president and CEO of WSUFAE
- Rick Muma, president of Wichita State University
“Over the course of this search, we met with many candidates from across the country to find the best fit for this position, and we truly believe that Telly is the right person,” says Nichols. “Not only does he have an extensive history of fundraising experience, he also has the gift of collaborative leadership, which is exactly how the university and WSUFAE have created their longstanding success.”
With many exciting WSU projects on the horizon, including construction of the downtown Wichita Biomedical Campus, renovations to Wilkins Stadium and Cessna Stadium, and ongoing access and affordability initiatives within each academic college, the entire team at the WSUFAE is looking forward to welcoming Telly McGaha to Shocker Nation.