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WSU Receives $1 Million Gift For Aerospace Engineering Building

Jimmy Wayne, flickr Creative Commons

Significant upgrades will be made to Wichita State University's aerospace engineering building next year.

The building, named for Dwane and Velma Lunt Wallace, will undergo a facelift in the coming years, thanks to a $1 million gift from the foundation bearing their names.

Wallace Hall was built in the 1970s and has not had significant renovation since then. The university says funds will also be used to update and modernize the facility with an emphasis on making it more student-friendly, functional and aesthetically appealing.

A grant to the WSU Foundation also will help convert some spaces to faculty offices and research labs to accommodate an increase in hiring the past couple of years. Renovations are set to start on the building next year.

Meanwhile, the university has agreed to provide money for exterior structural work on the building and a range of interior projects. In addition, Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) will donate engineering services to the overall project.

The contributions of the Wallace Foundation and PEC will count toward the matching funds required by the College of Engineering to continue receiving the Engineering Expansion Grant implemented by the Kansas Legislature to increase the number of engineering graduates from the state’s three research universities.

Dwane Wallace, a 1933 graduate of the University of Wichita with a degree in aeronautical engineering, was president, chairman and CEO of Cessna Aircraft. He retired in 1975 and died in 1989. Velma Lunt Wallace died in 2012.

“The Wallace family is excited to support Wichita State’s ongoing investment in its engineering students and the enrichment of learning opportunities in and out of the classroom,” said Steph Johnson, a granddaughter of Dwane and Velma Wallace, in a news release. “It is inspiring to see what a dynamic time it is at WSU. As our grandparents were before us, we are proud to be part of Shocker nation.”