Spirit of the Gift Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's endowed funds

Mike Oatman Endowed Scholarship in Entrepreneurship

Known by many as, “Ol' Tee-legged, Tow-legged, Bee-legged, Bow-legged, Curly-headed, Pee-wiliker Mike,” or simply Ol' Mike, KFDI owner and disc jockey, Mike Oatman, was a prominent businessman and adored resident of Wichita. Aside from co-owning Great Empire Broadcasting, which consisted of twelve radio stations, Mr. Oatman was a board member of the Wichita Art Museum, Friends University, Goodwill Easter Seals, Boy Scouts, Wichita Children's Home, University of Kansas, Wichita Community Foundation and Wichita State University. In addition to numerous broadcasting and non-broadcasting awards, Mr. Oatman was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in Nashville, the Texas Music Hall of Fame and America's Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame.

Mike Oatman maintained a meaningful relationship with Wichita State University. Although he was not a graduate of WSU, he served on the Board of Trustees, the Wichita State University Foundation's National Advisory Council, Elliott School of Communications Facility Committee, was a member of the University Club, and was a guest speaker for three entrepreneurship programs. In 1999, he was awarded the President's Medal and in 2001 he received the Honorary Alumnus Award. After passing away in 2003, a major campus street was named in Mr. Oatman's honor. “He was a humanitarian, generous, soft-hearted ñ everyone's neighbor and a true friend of Wichita State,” expressed WSU President Don Beggs. This scholarship was established by Mike Oatman's widow Pegi and his children, Melissa, Andy and Richard, as a tribute to his memory.