Honorees are Cleo Littleton ’55, Achievement Award; Lynn Stephan ’64, Alumni Recognition Award; Dave Dahl ’71, Alumni Recognition Award; Connie Kachel White, Distinguished Service Award; and Alex Kanelakos ’07, Young Alumnus Award. The recognition of these five outstanding Wichita State alumni and staff continues the alumni association’s proud tradition of celebrating personal and professional achievement, as well as service to WSU and to society. Established in 1955, the Achievement Award is the highest honor given to Wichita State alumni by the alumni association. Recognition Awards are presented to alumni, friends of the university and faculty or staff for outstanding public service and/or particular service to WSU. The Laura Cross Distinguished Service Award recognizes WSU employees or retired employees who have given exceptional service to the university. The Young Alumnus Award is presented in recognition of the accomplishments of a WSU graduate 40 years old or younger.
Cleo Littleton is one of only five Shocker men’s basketball players to have his jersey retired and hung in Charles Koch Arena. As a Shocker freshman in 1951, wearing No. 13, Littleton became the first black basketball player to play in away games in the Missouri Valley Conference, a distinction he held for two years. He also became a lightning rod for racial hostility, both subtle and blatant. During road trips, Littleton often couldn’t eat or sleep with the rest of the team. He was called names, from the stands and the floor, and vilified when he made a basket — which was often. Littleton still holds the Wichita State record for the most points scored in a career: 2,164. Named All-MVC four times, he is a charter member of the Shocker Sports Hall of Fame.
began his four-year term earlier this year as a judge in the family law department of the 18th Judicial District Court in Sedgwick County. Among Dahl’s “keys to the bench” are 42 years as an involved Wichitan, plus a sterling reputation as a family man, an educator and an attorney with an unshakeable sense of fair play — and a love of Shocker basketball. After playing basketball for WSU during his student days, he became the color commentator to Mike Kennedy’s play-by-play calls of men’s basketball games in 1980. Known for his “keys to the game,” he was inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame for broadcasting in 2010. Among his many contributions to the alumni association is serving as president of the board of directors in 2005-06.
Lynn Stephan is known for her talents in finding the precise word to make an ad campaign sing, the perfect color and texture for a room’s accent piece. No matter what the target of her creative attention, this retired Stephan Advertising Agency executive and award-winning community volunteer works impeccably hard to deliver end products that are precisely right. Through the years, Stephan has held 18 different leadership roles on 12 different nonprofits. She has also remained extraordinarily connected with her alma mater, in particular with the WSU Elliott School of Communication and the WSU Alumni Association.
Alex Kanelakos has been fascinated by space and space exploration just about his entire life. Today, he is pursuing his dream career in space science and technology as a spacewalking instructor and flight controller with NASA’s Extravehicular Activity Team at Johnson Space Center. Kanelakos, a Wallace Scholar who began working at JSC in 2004 as a WSU/NASA co-op student, has already received five NASA awards for technical contributions.
Connie White penned her first story, “The Mystery of the Moaning Graves,” in second grade. Since that first exercise in storytelling, she has gone on to write all kinds of stories — mostly Shocker stories. A former English teacher, White has served as writer, editor and director at the alumni association for some 20 years now. She is the founding editor of the association’s The Shocker alumni magazine, and has been presented more than 40 awards for her writing, editing, design, PR and event-promotion projects over the course of her career in communications.
In addition, as the WSU Alumni Association, established in 1913, continues its yearlong celebration of a “Century of Shockers,” a special “Shocker Tribute” will recognize the 10 individuals who have served the alumni association as its administrative leaders: Esther Wenzel ’34/34, Mickey Armstrong ’45, Beulah Mullen ’35/71, Ethel Jane King, Jane Gilchrist ’68, Jim Moore ’66/69, Mike Meacham ’74, Lynda Sade ’72, Brad Beets ’87 and Debbie Kennedy ’94.