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Wichita State's College Of Fine Arts Honors Five Alumni


Wichita State University’s College of Fine Arts is honoring five alumni with an induction into its Hall of Fame. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur has more…

This year’s class of inductees have made their impact both locally, and globally.

They include international opera stars Samuel Ramey and Joyce DiDonato, award-winning actor Shirley Knight and graphic designers Sonia Greteman and Bill Gardner. Gardner, who founded and runs Gardner Design, has deep roots in Wichita. He says his father, James, was mayor in the 1950s.

He gives credit for his induction to his co-workers.

“(I’m) very fortunate that I have a great group of designers here that make me look great,” he says. "A lot of them are Wichita State grads and it’s kind of nice to be able to carry that tradition forward.”

Picture a local business and Gardner Design has probably branded it: Spangles, Wichita Festivals, Spirit Aerosystems and, even Wichita State. Gardner has a long list of national clients, too. Including Kroger and SeaWorld.

Also being inducted are community donors and current and retired Wichita State staff members. A comprehensive list is below.

Alumni: Former WSU students who have distinguished themselves in the arts and who have been out of school for at least five years.

  • Joyce DiDonato, international opera star
  • William (Bill) Gardner, graphic designer
  • Sonia Greteman, graphic designer and marketing expert 
  • Shirley Knight, award-winning actor
  • Samuel Ramey, international opera star

Contributors: Community donors or patrons who have given time and resources for the betterment of the fine arts at Wichita State.

  • Lewis and Selma Miller, patron of the arts
  • Edwin A. Ulrich, patron of the arts
  • Gladys H.G. Wiedemann, patron of the arts

Mentors: Current or retired WSU faculty or staff members or administrators who have supported, inspired and motivated the Wichita State community in the area of Fine Arts.

  • Jacquelyn Dillon-Kraus, professor
  • Mira Pajes Merriman, professor
  • Richard (Dick) Welsbacher, professor

Inductees to the hall of fame are chosen by a selection committee that includes WSU administrators, College of Fine arts patrons and retired faculty members.