New $2.2 million estate gift is dedicated to Wichita State students


Nearly 70 years after John and Colleen Wooley first met as students at the University of Wichita, they have established a legacy that will touch the lives of Wichita State University students for generations to come. The couple’s $2.2 million estate gift will provide more than $100,000 in scholarships each year for students with financial need.

Before he died in 2019, Mr. Wooley said he wanted to make a donation that would acknowledge the role the university played in his and Colleen’s lives. Their estate gift will fund the Colleen Lee Wooley and John B. Wooley Scholarship, an endowment that will exist in perpetuity.

“It was important to John that their gift make an impact on the lives of students with financial need in all academic areas of study,” said Darin Kater, WSU Foundation vice president. “He didn’t care about their majors. He just wanted to make sure students with need had the opportunity to get a high-quality education at WSU.”

Mrs. Wooley earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1952 and worked for several years in public relations for the American Red Cross. She also worked for the state of Kansas and the WSU School of Music before returning to the Red Cross to end her career, serving a total of 30 years with the organization. Mrs. Wooley died in 2013.

After serving in the U.S. Navy for three years, Mr. Wooley earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1954, then a law degree from Washburn University. He had a long career in the legal profession, working in several private firms, the office of the County Attorney and, eventually, as a Federal Magistrate Judge, from which he retired after 24 years.

Their affection for Wichita State and their dedication to the power of education mean that, for generations to come, WSU students who otherwise might not be able to afford college will receive meaningful scholarships to achieve their educational dreams.

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