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WSU Holds Farewell Reception For The Beggs

Carla Eckels
KMUW/File Photo

A farewell reception for Wichita State University President and First Lady, Don and Shirley Beggs was held Thursday on campus.

A room in Koch Arena was filled with well-wishers, faculty and staff wearing black and gold, the Wu Shock, cheerleaders, all wanting to express their appreciation for the Beggs.

For 13 and a half years, the couple tirelessly supported WSU.

Bobby Gandu was a student during their tenure and is now WSU’s Director of Admissions. He says the Beggs are going out with style, grace and a lot of respect and pride for the institution.

“For me I think what I will always appreciate about them is their affinity, their dedication, not only for the students but first and foremost for the students, but also for the staff and the faculty and all the other community members here in Wichita,” says Gandu. 

“They leave a legacy here, one that will never be forgotten.”

The couple created a scholarship for students and a program to reward professors. 

The Beggs’ worked closely with the WSU foundation, where private funds have nearly doubled to more than $224 million since they arrived on campus in 1999. 

They’ve received many community accolades including recognition from the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce. 

Their support on campus includes the new dentistry building, Marcus Welcome Center, the engineering research building and substantial improvements to Koch arena.

When finished, the renovated Rhatigan Student Center ballroom will be named after Shirley Beggs. 

President Beggs told the crowd he was proud to serve.

“Today is a good example of how you can be successful as president at Wichita State University,” says Beggs.

“You have talented students, talented staff, talented friends who care about this institution and so for us this means so much!”

The reception ended with the Beggs singing along with crowd, front row.

They plan to retire in Bloomington, IL near their children and grandchildren.