Skip to content
Kansas Wesleyan University

Editor’s Note: This event, along with the remainder of Alumni, Family & Community Weekend, has been cancelled due to the situation surrounding the coronavirus.

Kansas Wesleyan University and the KWU Foundation will welcome The Honorable William P. (Bill) Graves ’76, former Gov. of Kansas, as the featured speaker for the 2020 KWU Scholarship Gala, to be held Saturday, April 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Salina.

The event will begin with a social hour, starting at 6 p.m., and the evening’s program will begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $75 for individuals, and sponsorships at various levels are available as well.

Graves has a long association with KWU, which goes considerably beyond that of most graduates. His great-grandfather, Henry M. Mayo, was the very first graduate of KWU in 1887. His sister, Martha, graduated in 1974 and his father, also named William Graves, spent time on the KWU Board of Trustees. The younger Graves played football and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

He joined the KWU Board of Trustees in 1982, became Kansas’ Secretary of State in 1991 and was elected governor in 1995. Graves served on the university’s board until 2000, and completed two full terms as Gov. of Kansas, leaving office on Jan. 13, 2003. He still stands as the longest-serving Republican governor in state history. Graves went on to help fuel the construction of KWU’s sports complex by serving as national co-chair of the capital campaign, and the complex bears his family’s name. Graves currently serves on the board of directors of the International Speedway Corporation, one of the driving forces behind American auto racing.

Along with Graves’ remarks, the evening will include music from KWU alumni and students, as well as words from students and donors focused on KWU scholarships.

For more information on this year’s scholarship gala, please visit