Faculty award winner expresses creativity with guitar and jazz


William Flynn, assistant professor of guitar at Wichita State, recently won the Excellence in Creative Activity Award, which recognizes faculty members who have established an exemplary record of creative activity that has brought recognition to the university.

With a history of performances around the country, instructional videos on social media, published guitar books and several released albums, William has definitely established a record of exemplary creativity. Along with his role of assistant professor, he holds the positions of director of jazz studies, graduate coordinator for the School of Music, jazz combos coach and director of guitar ensemble.

“It’s really an honor to be recognized,” he said. “I’m just doing things that I’m passionate about and that are important to me.”

In second grade, William started playing trumpet and loved it. He took lessons for a couple years, until he got braces and could no longer play correctly. Soon after, he picked up a guitar, and hasn’t put it down since. William’s high school band teacher introduced him to jazz, his specialty today, and further encouraged his creativity and passion.

“I dove down the rabbit hole and never looked back,” he said.

Today, William focuses on helping students at Wichita State improve and expand their guitar skills. He just began his seventh year at WSU and loves coming to work because he gets to hold a guitar in his hand all day and help students hone their passion.

“The students are great,” he said. “They teach me just as much as I teach them.”

William also credits his fellow faculty members for his enjoyment and success at WSU.

“The faculty is also great to work with,” he said. “It’s like a star-studded, talented, creative, smart group of people that make me want to step my game up because they are so good at what they do.”

Last year, William won the Excellence in Creative Activity Award from the College of Fine Arts. To win the award at the university level this year was a great privilege for him.

“To me, this award means that the university values what I’m doing as an artist and as a creative musician. It gives me a sense of gratitude and pride and worth within this academic environment,” he said.

William is working on a new album he hopes to release next spring. Along with that, he wants to perform more around the country and internationally. He would also love to work on projects that challenge him and help him grow, possibly in the form of collaborations with people from different departments across campus. After that, William has one goal.

“I’m just going to keep at it.”

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