WSU presidential search committee planning to have first meeting Friday


Joseph Barringhaus

Morrison Hall on Wichita State University’s main campus.

Wichita State’s presidential search committee will have its first meeting this Friday, Kansas Board of Regents President Blake Flanders said at a KBOR meeting Wednesday. 

The committee is chaired by Wichita Attorney and WSU Foundation Board of Directors Chair Dan Peare. KBOR appointed 22 members to the committee— three of whom are WSU students. 

Committee members include the presidents from each of the three senates representing those who work at WSU: Aleks Sternfeld-Dunn, Faculty Senate, Trish Gandu, Unclassified Professionals Senate, and Randy Sessions, University Support Staff Senate.

The three student representatives are Student Body President Rija Khan, WSU Graduate Student Council Representative Corinthian Kelly and Engineering Technology Management senior Sierra Bonn.

KBOR moved for a closed search at their Nov. 18 meeting, which means that presidential candidates’ names will not be released to the public and finalists will not meet with anyone outside of the search committee. 

Flanders expressed his hope during that meeting that the Regents would honor the resolutions by the Faculty Senate and the Student Government Association asking for fair representation in the search process. SGA opened applications for students who were interested in serving on the committee after the Regents requested the association to recommend students representatives.

The last search committee had 19 members, two of whom were students. The current committee is composed of eight faculty and staff members — three more than the five members who served last year.

The Regents’ charge to the committee states that the committee’s role is to “assist and advise” the Regents in selecting the next president of the university. The committee will present an unranked list of three candidates whom they believe would serve the university well. KBOR will make the final decision.

Search committee members full list:

Dan Peare, chair

Allen Schmidt, regent

Blake Flanders, board president and CEO


Rija Khan, WSU student body president

Corinthian Kelly, WSU graduate student council representative

Sierra Bonn, engineering technology management senior


Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn, Faculty Senate president

Melissa Walker, professor 

Mehmet Bayram Yildirim, professor

Shirley Lefever, interim executive vice president and provost

Trish Gandu, Unclassified Professional Senate president

Randy Sessions, university support staff senate president

Sheree Utash, WSU Tech president

John Tomblin, executive director of the NIAR


Elizabeth King, WSU Foundation CEO

Jeff Turner, WSU alumnus, retired president and CEO of Spirit Aerosystems

Junetta Everett, WSU alumni, VP of professional relations for Delta Dental in Kansas


Charmes Chandler, IV, CEO, INTRUST bank

Steven Packebush, founder and partner, Elevar Partners

Yolanda Camarena, board member of the Kansas Hispanic Education and Development Foundation

John Rolfe, chief business officer, Kansas Leadership Center

Paul Allen, chief executive of Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.