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Fri, Jul 13, 2012

Gone West: Wichita Philanthropist Velma Wallace

Longtime Supporter of Wichita State University and Aerospace

The aerospace and education communities lost a great supporter last Sunday with the passing of Velma Wallace. She was the widow of Cessna Aircraft chairman Dwane Wallace and a longtime supporter of Wichita State University. Her death was not a surprise as she had been battling an illness for the past several months. Final arrangements are pending through Downing and Lahey Mortuary.Her passing was confirmed by family friend and former dean of students at WSU, Jim Rhatigan.

Wallace had been in the news just recently with her announcement of a $3 million gift to WSU. In the 1970's she and her husband founded the Wallace Scholars Program which covered most expenses for 10-15 students a year who were majoring in aerospace engineering. Some of the students found the program challenging and officials say they would persevere because they didn't want to let Mrs. Wallace down.Many kept in touch with her long after they graduated.

The Wichita Eagle is reporting her age at 95, but Rhatigan says she considered her real age a closely guarded secret, adding, "She wouldn't even tell me."

FMI: www.wsu.edu/, www.cessna.com

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