Born in Osceola, Wis., Clayton H. Staples attended the Chicago Art Institute where he graduated with honors. Well-known as a painter of landscapes, seascapes and still-life in the naturalist tradition, he came to the University of Wichita in 1930. Until his retirement in 1950, he served as chair and director of the art program where he built a tradition that brought national attention to WU. In 1978, the Clayton Staples Memorial Art Gallery in McKnight Art Center was dedicated in his honor. Although he and his wife, Esther, moved to Colorado Springs, they remained involved with the university and the art gallery. The endowment of their estate in 1971 established the Esther V. and Clayton H. Staples Memorial Fellowship, continuing their influence and promotion of the arts at Wichita State University.