Former Wichita State University students might remember Clinton Hall as a dark and cold building, but starting in September, it will begin its metamorphosis into the bright and welcoming Shocker Success Center.
This project will completely transform Clinton Hall into a holistic resource for student services, said Elizabeth King, president and CEO of the WSU Foundation. Centralizing access to these services will help students stay on course to graduate.
The Shocker Success Center will house 17 student services that are currently scattered across campus in 10 buildings: the Office of Adult Learning, CARE Team, Career Closet, Military and Veteran Services, Office of Disability Services, OneStop Student Services, Shocker Support Locker, Office of Student Success, Tech Help, Testing Services, TRIO Disability Services, TRIO Student Support Services, Writing Center, Math Lab, Supplemental Instruction, Physics Lab, and the Shocker Learning Center.
Over the summer, the current occupant of Clinton Hall — the W. Frank Barton School of Business — will move to its new home in the brand-new Woolsey Hall on the Wichita State Innovation Campus.
“When the business school moves to Woolsey Hall, Clinton Hall will need a new occupant,” said Corey Saleh, campaign director for the WSU Foundation. “When we were looking at our Strategic Enrollment Management plan, we said, ‘What is the most important thing that our students need to succeed that could be housed in this space?’”
All-inclusive student support
Consolidating the vital services that help students be successful on their academic journeys felt like a natural fit, she said.
Clinton Hall is in a prime location with its proximity between Ablah Library and the Rhatigan Student Center, serving as a visible reminder of how central student success and accessibility is to Wichita State, said Dr. Teri Hall, vice president of Student Affairs at Wichita State.
“The hope is that students will go into the success center to address one issue and then see the many other services they can take advantage of while they are there,” Hall said.
“It will be a welcoming and safe space, where students feel comfortable getting help to be successful,” Saleh said.
Throughout the planning process, Saleh said, the team has worked closely with representatives from the Student Government Association.
“With the renovation of Clinton Hall, we know that students will benefit from the centralization of resources so important to their success. The time they spend now walking from one building to another and trying to figure out a confusing system will be spent on more productive activities,” said Rija Khan, Wichita State former student body president.
The Clinton Hall renovations are expected to cost about $17 million, with the university paying two-thirds of the cost and the WSU Foundation fundraising for the remainder. So far, the foundation has raised roughly $3.5 million from 39 individuals or families, one foundation, and three corporations, including 90% of the WSU Foundation Board of Directors.
The Shocker Support Center is the largest capital initiative of WSU President Rick Muma’s administration and feeds directly into the university’s priority of making education affordable and accessible.
“Once we recruit students and bring them to campus, our work is just beginning,” Muma said. “It’s our job and our responsibility to support our students throughout their time at Wichita State so that they can persist and be successful on their journeys to achieve their academic and professional goals. The Shocker Success Center will create an oasis on campus for Shockers to find the help and opportunities they need to succeed.”
King said there’s been overwhelming support for Muma’s initiative from alumni and donors.
“Our donors see the impact this project can have on our students’ life and want to support the effort,” she said.
Giving back and helping students
Shelli Herman, a 1988 Shocker graduate, gave $100,000 to help build the Shocker Success Center because, “To me, the Shocker Success Center is the kind of place that will create a holistic experience for students who have specific needs,” she said. “It’s very much about helping students be successful both in and outside of the classroom.”
Herman — who founded Shelli Herman and Associates, an executive search firm in Los Angeles — said, “I’m the person I am today because of my incredible experience at Wichita State.”
In 1997, Kung Chi Kang Silver graduated from Wichita State and went on to become an asset manager, working with international investment funds. He’s also made a significant donation to the Shocker Success Center.
“It is time for me to help young people who are like I was back then,” Silver said. “My best times at WSU were my junior and senior years. We had a lot of projects and spent a lot of time together in the lab and NIAR (National Institute for Aviation Research). We stayed up together and got tired together. But it was great. I still think about that all the time.”