Spirit of the Gift Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's endowed funds

Betty and Oliver Elliott Endowed Fund for the School of Communication

Oliver Elliott graduated from Wichita University in 1942 with a degree in economics. As editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, the Sunflower, he received the Outstanding Student Journalist award. After graduation, Mr. Elliott worked for Cessna Aircraft, where he met Betty Thomas. They were married in 1943. Over the years he acquired and initiated 20 different businesses, eventually becoming president and CEO of National-Spencer, a manufacturing and sales company.

Mr. Elliott credited his experience in journalism for his success. In 1988, a contribution by Mr. and Mrs. Elliott established the Elliott School of Communication, at the time the second largest gift in university history. Mr. Elliott served as president of the Alumni Association and was recognized with the WSU Alumni Achievement Award and President’s Medal. Mrs. Elliott served on the board of the Wichita Radio Reading Service at KMUW and was involved with Music Theatre of Wichita and Rotary Ann’s. Both Mr. and Mrs. Elliott were life members of the Fairmount Society. Their outstanding dedication to the Wichita community earned them the “1995 Couple of the Year” award from the Arthritis Foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Elliott passed away in 1996 and 2005, respectively.

The Betty and Oliver Elliott Professorship in the School of Communication supports an associate professor within the school.

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