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WSU To Honor Opera Stars Karla Burns And Samuel Ramey

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WSU Distinguished Professor of Opera Samuel Ramey and Broadway star and Tony Award nominee Karla Burns will be honored by WSU this weekend.

Two Wichita State University alumni will receive awards this Sunday. Operatic mezzo-soprano and actress Karla Burns will receive an honorary doctorate, and opera star Samuel Ramey will receive the president’s award at WSU's fall commencement.

Karla Burns' numerous accomplishments range from her work on Broadway to winning an Olivier Award – the British equivalent of Broadway's Tony Award. Burns was inducted into Wichita State's Fine Arts Hall of Fame earlier this year.

"They say your gift will make room for you, so my gift has made room for me to do this and I’m grateful," Burns says.

WSU Distinguished Professor of Opera Samuel Ramey will receive the President's Medal. For almost three decades, Ramey has been one of the world's foremost interpreters of operatic and concert repertoire. ??

"I guess I’d like to be remembered that I was a very solid performer, but also a good human being, which I try to be," Ramey told KMUW last year ahead of his return to the Wichita Grand Opera.

The President's Medal is awarded annually to a person for exemplary leadership, service to humanity and expertise in their field. Honorary degrees must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.


Carla Eckels is assistant news director and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.