Wichitan Leslie Rudd established the Rudd Foundation in 1994 and in 2018 the Rudd Scholars Program began honoring the Midwestern values that strengthen character and lead to a lifetime of success in business, community, and family.
The Rudd Scholars Program helped more than 100 Kansans attend Wichita State University and benefit from the program’s mentoring, personal and professional development, and community.
Wichita State is proud of its role helping Rudd Scholars pursue passions and realize dreams in the state’s largest city. Rudd Scholars at Wichita State are supported by many developmental activities outside the classroom. They network with leaders in their future professions, build strong relationships among themselves and serve to help the next generation of scholars through an active and connected alumni association after graduation.
Here's what Rudd Scholar Bayle Sandy has to say about her time at WSU:
Why did you apply for the Rudd Scholarship?
I applied for the Rudd Scholarship because I am a first-generation student. Affording college on my own was an immense challenge. My parents couldn’t provide financial assistance and I needed support to make higher education a reality.
What made you want to attend Wichita State?
Wichita State University appealed to me primarily because of its affordability and strong sense of community. I knew that I could receive a quality education without accumulating overwhelming debt and I felt the university's commitment to creating a supportive environment.
How did the Rudd Scholarship and support structure at Wichita State help your academic progress?
The Rudd Scholarship and the support structure at Wichita State played a pivotal role in my academic progress.
They provided essential funding for meals, housing, school supplies, offered mentorship, life coaching, and mental health services. College can be incredibly challenging, and the Rudd Scholarship has made it significantly easier by ensuring that I have the resources and guidance I need to succeed. I have never had to worry about a school bill.
How did the Rudd Scholarship and support structure at Wichita State help your professional development?
The Rudd Scholarship opened doors for me. It connected me with opportunities to network with professionals in my field, allowing me to build valuable relationships. This support has been instrumental in preparing me for my future career.
The Rudd Scholarship is designed to keep talented, hard-working Kansans in Kansas – what does that goal mean to you?
The goal of the Rudd Scholarship resonates deeply with me.
I believe in the potential of our state and the importance of contributing to its growth and development. While it might not always mean physically staying in Kansas, it signifies a commitment to remembering one's humble beginnings and giving back, when possible, to the communities where we were raised.
Leslie Rudd, our founder, serves as a remarkable example. He was undoubtedly a serial entrepreneur who never waited for good things to happen, but instead made them happen. Originating in Wichita, Kansas, he expanded his businesses throughout the heart of Napa Valley, California. While he took his business beyond Kansas, his legacy of success and giving back serves as a testament to the idea that we can grow and achieve, all while remembering and supporting our Kansas roots.
How has being a Rudd Scholar challenged you during your time at Wichita State?
Being a Rudd Scholar challenged me in many ways. It's a competitive scholarship that pushes you to think outside the box and collaborate with other highly motivated individuals.
This challenge has been instrumental in my personal growth and development. I have learned and grown from my other Rudd Scholars.
What has been your most helpful learning experience at Wichita State?
One of the most valuable learning experiences during my time at Wichita State has undoubtedly been my participation in ScotMUN, representing the Model United Nations team in Edinburgh, Scotland.
This international platform exposed me to diverse perspectives and global issues, enhancing my diplomatic and negotiation skills. It challenged me to think critically, collaborate effectively, and engage in meaningful debates, all of which have been instrumental in my personal and academic growth. The ScotMUN experience has not only enriched my education but has also broadened my horizons, preparing me to navigate the complexities of our interconnected world.
Aside from gatherings with other Rudd Scholars, what organizations are you involved
in on-campus and in the community?
I contributed to several on-campus and community organizations. Notably, I served as the President of the Green Group, a role that holds significant meaning for me. As the leader of this environmental organization, I had the privilege of spearheading sustainability initiatives on our campus and addressing the urgent issue of climate change.
In addition to my role as Green Group President, I have participated in Economics Anonymous and Model UN. These organizations provide unique platforms for me to contribute to my academic interests and growth while fostering a sense of community and collaborative problem-solving. The chance to engage with like-minded individuals and make a meaningful impact within these groups is what makes them especially meaningful to me.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I've received a full-time job offer from a corporate company. I'll most likely accept this offer, which might require me to move outside of Kansas. I hope to return to Kansas once I have explored other areas outside our state.
What advice would you give to students applying for the Rudd Scholarship?
Approach the scholarship essay and questions with a high level of seriousness and dedication. Use this platform as a chance to authentically convey your distinctive story and ambitions. Allow your passion and unwavering determination to illuminate your responses. Remember that this scholarship has the potential to be transformative, so invest your time and effort into crafting a compelling application.
Furthermore, I encourage applicants to leverage the resources available through their educational institution and the Internet. Research what constitutes a strong essay, delve into sample essays, explore relevant books and articles, and seek guidance from mentors or advisors. The wealth of information at your disposal can significantly enhance your application and increase your chances of standing out among the applicants.
About Wichita State University
Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling almost 22,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including 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.