Young alumni leave a gift to fill the gaps
Ryan Doll and Joan Wagner have fond memories of their time at Wichita State, easily recalling the instructors and courses that left a lasting impression on their professional lives. But they also remember the challenges they encountered as students. To help the university fill gaps in funding that often get overlooked, the couple is pledging a planned gift valued at $1 million dollars to the university.
“One of the challenges colleges face is that equipment will be donated, but they don’t have the little pieces to support it – like cables or even space for tables to set it up,” said Doll. “This gift will provide for those little things that sometimes get missed.”
Doll, who graduated with a computer science degree in 2002, has always been a hands-on learner, which is part of why WSU was a perfect fit for him.
“My mother worked at WSU, so I grew up on the campus, but the way the university sets you up to learn in many different ways really sets it apart,” he said.
Similarly, Wagner thrived as an undergraduate research assistant, completing her degree in industrial engineering.
“I had tremendous opportunities as a student, but I wouldn’t have had many of them without involvement from alumni and industry partners,” she said. “We want to contribute to the development of hands-on experiences beyond just financial support.”
They’re doing just that, with Wagner serving on the Honors College Dean’s Advisory Board, and Doll exploring opportunities for industry involvement in the College of Engineering. In addition to their time, they’ve also given $25,000 to establish a lab fund to ensure current students can benefit from the same experiences they did.
“I work with a lot of recent graduates in my role, and I’m always so impressed with their ability to take in so much complex information and distill it down to something really useful,” said Wagner. “We see students coming in, and the diversity of programs they experience at WSU gives them a great education. The university helps prepare them for employment post-college, and that’s a big thing.”
In addition to their lab fund, the couple’s planned gift will also benefit the Honors College, the Wallace Alumni Legacy Scholarship and KMUW.
“This gift is unrestricted, because we want the deans and colleges to use it for what they need to build on the strengths of the university,” said Wagner. “We certainly hope WSU will be around forever, and we love being a tiny part of the longevity of the institution.”