Forward Together

2020 shines with Shocker innovation

Dr. Richard Muma

Dr. Richard Muma, interim president

Hello, Shocker Nation.

I think most of us will agree that 2020 has been an unprecedented year of curveballs, uncertainty, and tumult. But, as a proud member of Shocker Nation, I can’t help but to be impressed with the innovation, determination, and pure grit that I’ve seen blossom from Wichita State University in the face of extraordinary circumstances.

When COVID-19 came to Kansas in March of this year, Shocker Nation didn’t miss a beat.

  • Our campus community flipped on a dime to a fully online format in an effort to keep our faculty and students healthy. Those efforts continue today and will continue for as long as necessary with safety measures, such as wearing face coverings, social distancing, and hybrid or online learning formats.
  • Our Shocker innovators and business partners came together to collect and manufacture PPE and disposable stethoscopes to protect our healthcare workers.
  • And our top-notch researchers jumped into action to study potential treatments and process tests through our state-of-the-art Molecular Diagnostics Lab.

Looking beyond the pandemic

  • Wichita State is marking its 125th birthday and after all these years, we are still focused on providing students an affordable education, supporting businesses by making sure we provide talent that meets their needs, and increasing economic prosperity of our community. In doing so:
    • 4,000 graduates earned degrees this year.
    • We’ve awarded $1.2 million to four teams as part of the Convergence Sciences Initiative. These interdisciplinary teams of researchers are working to solve complex issues such as educational access for refugee learners, health disparities among vulnerable populations, community resiliency to natural disasters, and creating methods for sustainable 3D printing.
    • Overall, our faculty, students, and innovation partners have brought in almost $165 million in research awards.
    • Our alumni and community have donated more than $25 million to the WSU Foundation, much of which funds scholarships to make education affordable and accessible for our students.
    • Our Innovation Campus is expanding, adding internships and hands-on learning opportunities for our students, creating jobs for our community, and diversifying our Kansas economy. Additions include the Molecular Diagnostics Lab, Martin Defense Group, Hyatt Place, the Jerry Moran Center for Advanced Virtual Engineering and Testing, and a larger-than-life bronze WuShock sculpture. Additionally, Wichita State celebrated the groundbreaking of two new facilities on its Innovation Campus: Deloitte’s Smart Factory @ Wichita and the Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, which will be the new home for the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

As we say goodbye to 2020, I am humbled by Shocker Nation’s collective resolve in furthering the university’s commitment to building a better tomorrow. And as 2021 dawns, I look forward with confidence and conviction that the best is yet to come.

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dr. Rick Muma,

Interim President, Wichita State University