$540,000 gift helps WSU Barton School launch Student Career Development Office


The Wichita State University Foundation has secured a $540,000 lead gift from Meritrust Credit Union to expand the W. Frank Barton School of Business’ career efforts with the formation of the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD).

The OCPD is aimed at linking academic programs to meaningful personal and professional lives by preparing Barton School undergraduate and graduate students to land quality internships and employment in their desired field.

“This gift is a pivotal piece to the success of the new office and all who will benefit from it,” said Jessie Rainey, WSU Foundation development director, who raises funds for the Barton School. “With the generosity of Meritrust and the diligence of the Barton School, many students’ lives will be changed for the better.”

The OCPD will work in partnership with WSU’s Shocker Career Accelerator to expand and amplify their efforts while adding signature programs and giving personalized attention for Barton students.

“We are very excited to work with the WSU Shocker Career Accelerator to be a difference-maker for our students and transform their lives,” said Dr. Larisa Genin, dean of the Barton School of Business. “We’re not just here to expand the academic knowledge of students but to also prepare them for exciting professional lives, help them discover their passions and strengths, teach them life skills and push them toward securing their dream internships, jobs and careers. We are connecting their passions with desired professions.”

Many of the current signature programs will be housed within the Barton School’s OCPD, including the Executive-in-Residence program, Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, Executive Speaker Series, BKD Tutoring Academy, Widener Global Leaders Program and Professional Edge.

Professional Edge, which teaches students life skills and competencies, will expand significantly under OCPD with the help of Meritrust’s lead gift of $540,000. Merirtust is one of the numerous corporations excited by the launch of the new office and committed to supporting its efforts.

In addition to expanding current programs, OCPD will launch a variety of other new initiatives personalized to specific majors and employers in collaboration with department chairs. The office will be housed in the Student Success Center on the first floor of Woolsey Hall, which is set to open in fall 2022.

“This office will be pivotal in preparing students to hit the ground running and be able to make an immediate impact in their field,” said Dr. Shirley Lefever, interim executive vice president and provost.

“There is and always will be a demand for talent in the business community,” said James Nastars, president and CEO of Meritrust Credit Union and member of the WSU Barton School’s Dean’s Advisory Board. “Our companies and our communities are looking for a more polished and prepared generation of business leaders. I believe that next generation is being molded by the Barton School.”

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University serves as the Kansas urban-based research university, enrolling more than 16,000 students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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About the W. Frank Barton School of Business

The Barton School of Business has been the undergraduate and graduate college at Wichita State University since it’s founding in 1926. Located in Kansas’ business hub, the college continues to transform with extensive applied learning opportunities and majors for students. The Barton School currently offers more undergraduate business degrees than any other institution in Kansas – including the state’s only entrepreneurship major. It also holds a double AACSB accreditation for business and accounting, which is the largest selection in the state and puts it in the top 1% of business schools worldwide.