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Our history includes many memorable moments that have transformed our students, inspired change and brought us to where we are today. Our university, from the very early days of its existence, was built on a pioneering spirit. Church leaders forged the new Conference of the Northwest, garnering support for a new educational institution within it. Henry Mayo and Daniel McGurk, the first students to graduate, trusted our faculty to deliver. And they did.
Wesleyan students have learned from some of the most talented and worldly scholars such as Ben Fuson, who went to Iran on a Fulbright Scholarship and attended a world parliament; Paul Stucky, who took students on geology field trips to Colorado and offered study courses in Mexico and Peru. Dr. George Taylor, who later went on to become president of the Saline County historical society, and David Clark who made it possible for some 300 students and community members to witness Haley’s Comet through a Wesleyan telescope. And there was Dr. Sue McDonald who inspired the physics club to launch a weather balloon 96,000 feet in the air, and Dr. Yuan Chiang, who directed a litmus project for NASA that included an attempt to make the paper color change—to purple and gold of course!
Professors past and present have and continue to affect and shape the lives or our students, inspiring them to achieve success in their career fields. We are proud to have among our outstanding alumni: Bill Graves, the 43rd Governor of Kansas, Rebecca Chopp, first female president of Swarthmore College and Wes Jackson, founder and current president of the Land Institute. Paul Fisher, scientist and inventor of the NASA Fisher Space Pen; Thomas Craven, art critic and historian and actor George Murdock. Olympic Gold Medalist and Pro basketball player, Bill Wheatley and Dale Browning, chairman of Frontier Airlines Holding Incorporated.
Being a pioneer involves risk, requires purpose, faith and confidence. It requires leaders who are not afraid to think big; faculty who look beyond the walls of the classroom for learning opportunities; students with open minds and supporters who trust. That pioneering spirit is what built this campus, it is what has sustained us for the past 127 years, and it is what will put us at the forefront of education well into the 21st Century.