Letter to the Editor — Eugene M. Hughes

Generally, presidents emeritus fade quietly into the sunset and are seldom, if ever, heard from again. That has been the case with me for the past 18 years. However, a recent event on campus at Wichita State University has necessitated my writing. An article in the student newspaper, The Sunflower, dated March 17, prompts my letter. I feel required to write to express my concern for the continuing loss of some of WSU’s best and brightest staff members. Throughout its history, WSU has been identified as an institution made up of faculty and staff who have given their all for the university and have done so professionally and always with the best interests of the students in mind. As I reflect on those academic professionals, I think of persons such as Dr. James Rhatigan, the “dean” of deans of students nationally; professors Ron Matson, John Dreifort, Andrew Craig, Esther Headley and Ravi Pendse, each of whom was/or is among the most student oriented faculty member that you would find on any university campus. Included in that group, in my opinion, is Christine Schneikart-Luebbe. I must admit to being biased, as I hired Christine 23 years ago. According to the Sunflower article, Christine, who served WSU in a variety of roles, has recently announced “her resignation” as Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students mid-semester.

During the past few years, WSU has lost a number of its best and brightest. Some, evidently recognizing the warning signs, were able to move on to other institutions where they have achieved even greater distinction. Others decided to “stick it out” in hopes that the situation would improve and that their many positive contributions would be recognized. Unfortunately, that has not always been the case. For those of us who gave our all in assisting WSU in its quest to be one of the finest Metropolitan Universities in the nation, it is a sad day indeed.

Dr. Rhatigan once reminded me that Institutions survive and ultimately thrive in spite of people who are in leadership roles. He cited as examples universities founded in the middle ages and the Catholic Church. Such will be the case of Wichita State. It is just too bad that the likes of Ravi Pendse, Christine Schneikart-Luebbe, and a number of others will not be on-campus to add their expertise to that effort.

March 17, 2017 was a sad day, indeed!


— Eugene M. Hughes, President Emeritus Wichita State University & Northern Arizona University