Search committee bios
The following individuals have been appointed by the Kansas Board of Regents to assist and advise the Kansas Board of Regents in the selection of the next President of Wichita State University.
Steve Clark, Chair
Steve Clark serves as Chairman of Clark Investment Group, a real estate development and investment firm in Wichita with a portfolio over eight million square feet of investment properties in several states including New York, California, and Florida.
He has served on the INTRUST Bank Board for over 30 years and is a past president of the Greater Wichita YMCAs. He also served for several years on the Kansas Board of Regents and was recognized as the Wichita Chambers 2015 Uncommon Citizen.
He is a Business Administration graduate of Wichita State University and served as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force. He and his wife, Becky, have four children and reside in Wichita.
Mark Hutton, Vice Chair, Regents member
Regent Mark Hutton was appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents by Governor Jeff Colyer in 2018. He is the founder of Hutton Construction Corporation in Wichita and worked as CEO until 2010.
Hutton served as a State Representative in the Kansas Legislature from 2013 to 2016. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Associated General Contractors of Kansas and is a national director of the Associated General Contractors of America.
Hutton is a graduate of Kansas State University College of Engineering with a degree in Construction Science and Management. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons and seven grandchildren and reside in Andover.
Blake Flanders, Regents President and CEO
Dr. Blake Flanders serves as President and CEO for the Kansas Board of Regents, which is the governing board of the state’s six universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions.
Prior to his current role, Blake served as the Vice President for Workforce Development for KBOR and provided executive leadership for the Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority. He completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction at Kansas State University.
Blake and his wife, Risa, have three children and reside in Topeka.
Kitrina Miller is Wichita State University’s Student Body President with the 62nd session of Student Government Association. In the previous session of the Student Government Association, she served as the Student Advocate. Kitrina is also the Service Chair with the Fairmount Chapter of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. She is majoring in Social Work with a certification in Social Work and Addictions and minoring in Women’s Studies. After graduating in May of 2020, she plans to obtain a Master’s in Social Work and work with women’s issues.
Brandon Eckerman serves as the President of the Student Ambassador Society at Wichita State, which works on behalf of the WSU Admissions team to help with recruitment efforts across the region. He is an undergraduate student involved or previously involved in several areas of Wichita State including Greek life, departmental research, and various honors and ambassador programs. He is majoring in Biomedical Engineering while minoring in Personal Selling and has close ties to students in a wide range of disciplines.
Rhonda K. Lewis, Ph.D., MPH. is professor and chair of the psychology department at Wichita State University. Dr. Lewis is a WSU Alum graduating in 1991 with a B.A. in Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1996. She is a Service-Learning Faculty Fellow at WSU. She has been on the Faculty at WSU since 1997. She uses behavioral and community research methodologies to promote health among adolescents and reduce health disparities. She has over 60 publications and 100 presentations at regional, national, and international conferences. In 2017 she received the President’s Distinguished Service Award at Wichita State. In 2014, Dr. Lewis received the WSU Alumni Association’s University Recognition Award, and the H.T. Sims Excellence in Education Award from the NAACP. From 2009-2014, Dr. Lewis served on the Faculty Senate Executive Committee at Wichita State.
Dr. Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn currently serves as Director of the School of Music at Wichita State University. He has served on the faculty for eight years and in his time at WSU has served on the University Strategic Planning Committee, Faculty Senate, The President’s Advisory Council on Innovation, and various other roles within the University and College of Fine Arts. Dr. Sternfeld-Dunn is an award winning composer whose music has been performed throughout the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Shirley Lefever has served as the Dean of the College of Applied Studies (formerly College of Education) at Wichita State University since 2015. She began her career at WSU in 2005 serving first as the Department Chair for Curriculum and Instruction followed by her role as the Associate Dean for the college. Shirley’s previous experiences in higher education include 14 years at the University of Arkansas. Prior to her career in higher education, she was a classroom teacher. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction as well as her master’s degree and bachelor’s degrees from Kansas State University. Shirley and her husband, Steve, reside in Mulvane, Kansas, and have four children and four grandchildren.
Camille Childers serves as the Director of Student Health Services at Wichita State University. She is Chair of WSU’s Health Risk Assessment Team, a member of the Care Team, President of the Unclassified Professional Senate for 2018-19, and a board member of the Medical Service Bureau, a local non-profit organization. Camille completed nursing school in Duluth, Minnesota, and her bachelor’s degree from University of Phoenix. Relocating to Kansas in 2012, Camille and her husband Cevin live in Wichita.
Dr. Alicia Thompson serves as Superintendent of Wichita Public Schools, which is the largest school district in the state of Kansas. Dr. Thompson’s career in education has advanced from kindergarten teacher, to principal, to Executive Director of Staff Development, and then Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools prior to her current role. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in education at Langston University, master’s in education at Newman University, and doctorate of education at Wichita State University. Dr. Thompson and her husband, Reggie, are residents of Wichita and have two daughters.
Lyndon Wells retired from INTRUST Bank at the end of 2016. During his 40 plus years in banking, he has served in a variety of roles including Community Bank President, State Executive in Business Banking, various marketing roles and most recently as Director of the Public Affairs Division of INTRUST Bank. He has maintained active roles in each community in which he has served and currently is Chair of the Advisory Board of the Wichita State University Campus of Technical and Applied Science (WSU Tech), Chair of the Board of Trustees of Ascension Via Christi Health, Inc., member of the Board of Directors of the Andover State Bank, and Treasurer of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He also consults with the Greater Wichita Partnership in the area of Business and Education. Wells and his wife, Marty, have three grown children and five grandchildren.
Jerry Aaron graduated from Wichita State University in 1964 and secured a JD degree from Washburn University in 1966. His legal career included 15 years as a corporate attorney and General Counsel of Pizza Hut, Inc. and President of its Franchisee Association for five years. After a brief stint as a franchise consultant, Aaron joined Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon, Inc. as General Counsel/Senior V.P., enjoying a career that lasted 17 years, retiring in 2008. Aaron has been involved in numerous nonprofit organizations, both religious and educational. He has been a board member and Chairman of Via Christi Health Systems, Guadalupe Clinic and other ministries. Relative to Wichita State University, Aaron served on the Investment Committee and have been a member of the National Advisory Committee for over 15 years.
Dan Unruh is a partner with InSite Real Estate Group, a commercial real estate brokerage
and development firm based in Wichita. Unruh is a Certified Commercial Investment
Member (CCIM) and is a 1986 graduate of Wichita State University earning a Bachelor
of Business Administration. Unruh remains active with the WSU Alumni Association,
serving as Chairman in 2008-2009 and has served as an adjunct professor within the
WSU Finance, Real Estate and Decision Sciences department. He is also a 1982 Gore
Scholar. Unruh and his wife, Alissa, live in Wichita. Both of their adult children
reside in the Kansas City area. All four are graduates of
Wichita State University.
Tom Gentile was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Spirit AeroSystems in August 2016 after joining the company in April 2016 as chief operating officer. Prior to Spirit, he served as president and chief operating officer of GE Capital, overseeing global operations, IT, and capital planning. Gentile has also served as President and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems and for GE Aviation Services. An active community member, Gentile serves on the executive committee of the Aerospace Industries Association and the governing boards of the Greater Wichita Partnership and Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters. Gentile is a champion of Spirit’s Good Neighbor Fund employee giving program and also serves as a Trustee of the ALS Finding a Cure organization. Gentile earned his bachelor’s degree in economics magna cum laude and an MBA from Harvard University, and studied international relations at the London School of Economics. He and his wife, Julie, have three children.
David D. Mitchell has been Managing Partner of Mitchell & Richards, CPAs since 1982. As a strong supporter of WSU, he has served through his involvement with the Center for Entrepreneurship, WSU Alumni Association, the WSU National Advisory Council and teaching for ten years as a member of the adjunct faculty. He is a board member of the Wichita State Innovation Alliance, a past Rotary President and currently serves as a Trustee of the WichitaSedgwick County Historical Museum, and the Wichita Art Museum. David and his wife, Rynthia, have two grown sons. David is a lifelong resident of Wichita.
Lou Heldman is Wichita State University’s Vice President of Strategic Communications. He serves as a member of the President’s Executive Team and the Board of Directors of the Wichita State Innovation Alliance. His previous roles at the University included interim director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and of the Elliott School of Communication. Prior to joining Wichita State in 2007, he was President of the Wichita Eagle and Kansas.com. He is a graduate of Ohio State University and of the Program for Management Development at Harvard Business School.
Debbie Haynes, MD retired in 2015 from the full-time practice of family medicine in Wichita, Kansas, where she cared for patients for 33 years. In addition to her medical career, Debbie held numerous leadership positions in her field. She was the first female president of the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians and served on the board of directors for the American Academy of Family Physicians. She achieved the position of clinical professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. In 2012, Debbie was honored as the Kansas Family Physician of the Year. Before earning her Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Debbie was a Gore Scholar at Wichita State University, where she was elected student body president. A champion for Wichita State University, Debbie is current chair of the Wichita State University Foundation board of directors and an avid supporter of WSU sports. In 1987, she and husband, Dr. Larry Beamer, established a faculty fund in WSU’s Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to provide instructional and research related resources. Six years later, they created a general scholarship to help students with unmet financial needs.
Steve Feilmeier is an executive vice president and the chief financial officer of Koch Industries, Inc., as well as a member of the Koch Industries board of directors. Steve began his career with Koch companies in 1997 as controller for Koch Chemical Group. He later served as vice president of tax, accounting and finance for Koch Industries and was responsible for controller operations, tax, treasury, cash management, and mergers and acquisitions. He was also vice president and controller for KoSa B.V., a Koch Industries subsidiary that was combined with INVISTA in 2004. Steve earned a master’s degree in accounting from Wichita State University and is a certified public accountant.
Sheryl Wohlford, President and Co-Owner of Automation-Plus, Inc. is a graduate of Wichita State University and a native Kansan. Civic engagement is a priority in Wohlford’s life, which has led her to serve in leadership roles on numerous community boards. She currently serves on the boards of Fidelity Bank, Music Theatre Wichita, Sedgwick County Zoo, Wesley Healthcare, WSU Board of Trustees, and the WSU National Advisory Council.