Speaker Bio

dr rick muma

Interim President Rick Muma

Dr. Muma  has more than 30 years of experience as a professor/administrator and physician assistant (PA) in internal medicine and infectious diseases. Before assuming the Provost position in 2018, he served as the Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Strategic Enrollment Management. While at WSU he has also served as Chair and Professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Physician Assistant. Prior to joining the WSU faculty, Dr. Muma served as Chair for Saint Louis University's Department of PA Education and an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, Department of PA Studies.Interim President, Wichita State University

He's still involved in his research on healthcare issues, with a current project focusing on human health outcomes of rapid energy exploration. He has published his research in notable journals and has edited four books, two on HIV infection and two others on patient education.

In October 2020, Muma was named Interim WSU President. 

mayor whipple

Mayor Brandon Whipple

Dr. Brandon Whipple was elected as the Mayor of Wichita in the Nov. 5, 2019, election and was sworn in to office on Jan. 13, 2020. 

Mayor Whipple graduated from Dover High School in Dover, New Hampshire, and also earned his Associate of Arts in liberal studies from Hesser College.  He moved to Wichita in 2003 at age 21 in a year-long education-service mission with AmeriCorps.  In that program he worked with at-risk youth at Wichita South High School, and ultimately made a decision to call Wichita home.

He graduated from Wichita State University where he earned a Bachelor of General Studies and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies with an emphasis on cross-cultural studies and public administration. Whipple also earned a Doctor of Arts in Leadership Studies from Franklin Pierce University.

Mayor Whipple is married to his wife, Chelsea, and they have three young children, Adrian, Tristan and Julian. When not working, Mayor Whipple enjoys studying history, teaching martial arts and spending time with his family exploring all that Wichita has to offer.

Photo of Ms. Laura LappMs. Laura Lapp Laura is the Vice President of Sustainability and Culinary Services for Chartwells Higher Education. Laura is a Registered Dietitian, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and her career began as a clinical dietitian. She has been with Chartwells Higher Education for fifteen years, developing additional skills and interests as the industry changed. For the last five years she has lead the culinary and sustainability initiatives for the higher education sector, building linkages between wellness, sustainability and culinary initiatives. She received continuing education in sustainability through the Harvard Extension School. Driving long-term sustainable food procurement and positively impacting both global and local environmental efforts is part of Laura’s passion. In her downtime, Laura loves to cook (both healthy and indulgent foods), walk and run with her dogs Maddie and Ranger, and spend time with her family.

image of michael ranney

Dr. Michael Ranney

Professor Michael Ranney joined the University of California -Berkeley after serving as a post-doctoral fellow at Princeton’s Cognitive Science Laboratory.  His PhD and MS in experimental cognitive psychology followed undergraduate majors in microbiology (molecular/cellular/developmental biology) and psychology.  Although his first publications followed his earliest findings in the field of applied physics, Ranney’s current research explores people’s relative explanatory coherence/understanding as he seeks to foster the public’s incorporation of challenging information, lately focusing on global climate change.  His work 1) designs methods, curricula, and software to improve rational thinking and 2) offers simple, potent, public-policy-relevant representations (e.g., please visit HowGlobalWarmingWorks.org). Ranney was a Spencer Fellow of the National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation, was a University of California Regents' Junior Faculty Fellow, and is a Fellow of the Psychonomic Society.  At Berkeley, he leads the Reasoning Research Group, is past chair of SESAME, and is a member of many faculties - several involving the environment, such as Development Engineering, including: Education, Psychology, Cognitive Science (e.g., ICBS), and IPSR (the Institute of Personality and Social Research).