Herrin, John Davis among Alumni Association honorees

11:49:47 AM CDT - Thursday, January 20, 2005

WSU numbers-cruncher Mary Herrin and campus policeman John Davis are among the five Shocker alumni who will be honored during the 49th annual Alumni Association awards banquet Jan. 28. During the vent, the university's first couple, Shirley and Don Beggs, will also be designated as honorary WSU alumni.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a champagne reception, and the program will follow at 7:30 p.m. at the Wichita Marriott Hotel. RSVPs are due Friday, Jan. 21.

The other award-winners are James L. Mann '56, Ronald L. Baldwin '75, and Ann E. (Foley) Konecny '91.

Herrin's Shocker pride shows in many ways, including her regular attendance at basketball games — she's often described as "bleeding black and gold." The WSU Staff Recognition Award winner, this 1972 and 1976 accounting graduate plays dual roles as director of budgets and associate vice president of administration and finance at Wichita State. She oversees the university's complex budget and works to promote and support a wide array of university offerings — educational, cultural and athletic.

WSU Police Capt. Davis will receive the Laura Cross Distinguished Service Award. A university staffer for more than 35 years, Davis is a 1975 administration of justice graduate who balances his career in law enforcement with two "professional" hobbies: collecting Shocker memorabilia, which he often donates to university fund-raisers, and photography. The shutterbug attends a variety of Wichita State events in order to document the festivities with his camera  — and often provides attendees and the university with prints at his own expense.

Mann will receive the Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an alumnus by the WSU Alumni Association. After five years as a pilot in the Air Force Strategic Command, Mann used his 1956 business degree to gain a sales job with IBM in the early 1960s. He quickly learned the ways of the new computer age and by 1965 had started a computer services and software company of his own. Twelve years later, the company was worth $21 million. In 1983, he founded his current company, SunGard Data Systems of Wayne, Pa., and now, as chairman, CEO and director, he oversees an industry giant with profits of more than $3 billion annually. Last year he was the featured speaker at WSU's Business Week activities. He also was entrepreneur-in-residence in 1991 and is on the WSU Foundation's National Advisory Council and the Barton School of Business advisory board.

Baldwin, a 1975 business graduate, is the WSU Alumni Recognition Award honoree. Baldwin is well known in Wichita's business, education, political and charity circles. He is COO and president of Intrust Bank, and has served as chair of the WSU Foundation's board of directors and as finance chair for U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt's election campaigns. His own battle with cancer led him to serve the nonprofit cancer support group Victory in the Valley.

The world of heavy construction and farming equipment is male-dominated — but Konecny, a 1991 magna cum laude graduate of the Barton School, holds her own. This Young Alumna Award recipient is CEO of her family's business, Foley Equipment Co., and one of only two women in the world to run a Caterpillar dealership. She is also active at Wichita State and with numerous charitable and business organizations, including the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce, of which she serves as chair.

Although their degrees are from Southern Illinois University, where they also served as chancellor and first lady, Don and Shirley Beggs have proven themselves true Shockers since their 1999 arrival on campus, serving as tireless ambassadors for Wichita State. While their gifts to WSU range from creating a scholarship fund for the children of WSU Physical Plant workers to helping upgrade the school's array of musical instruments, perhaps the nearing completion of the university's Marcus Welcome Center stands as the best symbolic description of this stellar Shocker couple — classic, versatile, open, warm and welcoming. For their many and diverse contributions to the university, they will be named honorary alumni.

For more information about the awards banquet, which costs $45 per person or $360 for a table of eight, contact Robin Bauer at 978-3831 or robin.bauer@wichita.edu. RSVPs are due by Friday, Jan. 21, and can be made online at http://www.wichita.edu/alumniawards.

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