The Heroines

Jean McClure

is honored with a Medium Paver from the Center for Management Development.

It's appropriate that Rogena "Jean" McClure be honored in Wichita State University's Plaza of Heroines because she has shown a longtime commitment to the university and a great love of education.

"The most rewarding thing I've ever done was come to the university because it's a special and unique community," Jean says.

A Wichita native, Jean began her association with the university in 1962, when she took a job as an administrative assistant to Ray Ahrens. She immediately set out to help support the push for the Municipal University of Wichita to join the state system by organizing meetings with area clergy on this issue.

Three years later, in 1965, she joined the public relations office. During her 15-year tenure, Jean was at the forefront of instituting and helping with a number of things that continue today in that office-- developing a WSU directory, editing an internal newsletter and coordinating public events, such as lectures, commencements and building dedications.

Among her fond memories are the people she met while organizing the Eisenhower Lecture Series, established in 1971. She met Milton Eisenhower, served tea to British commentator David Frost and visited with women's activist Gloria Steinem about her return to the working world in the 1950s when "working Mom" was anything but the norm. Her saddest memory was helping coordinate information in the aftermath of one of the university's worst tragedies: the Oct. 2, 1970, airplane crash in Colorado that took the lives of 33 football players and supporters.

In 1980, Jean decided it was time to challenge herself with a change in jobs. She joined the Center for Management Development as its first program coordinator. It's at the center where Jean thinks she has touched more lives, helping business professionals expand their knowledge. In the process, she has continued her own educational growth, proving herself invaluable to the staff. As program coordinator, she prepared the monthly course catalog and monthly brochures, handled supervision of students and staff, and was responsible for the center's financial reports and budgets. During that time, she went from posting expenditures in green ledger sheets to entering records in computer spread sheets.

Since 1989, after technically taking "early retirement," Jean has continued to help ensure the success of the center by acting as a consultant. She currently manages the center's mailing list, the CMD's lifeline to the business community. For Susan Cherches, current center Director, Jean has been much more than a consultant. She's been a confidante and supporter, helping show Cherches the ropes when she joined the CMD in 1993.

"She has been my mentor, trusted advisor and loyal friend," says Cherches. "I will always cherish having had the opportunity to know and work alongside this gifted woman."

"I can't think of the CMD without thinking of Jean," says Cherches. Jean's commitment to the CMD, and the university, is what prompted Cherches and her staff to honor Jean in the Plaza of Heroines.

While Jean views her various roles and duties at the university as an education itself, she continues to fuel her brain and spirit with numerous credit, non-credit and audited courses since graduating from high school in 1945. Some classes she has taken for pleasure, others she's taken to enhance her professional skills.

"I believe that education is a process that begins at birth and ends at death," Jean says.

While her accomplishments at the university are commendable, Jean says her "proudest accomplishment has been to raise children without prejudice, with open-mindedness and with an interest in the humanities."

Jean and her husband Jim, now retired from Beech Aircraft, have two children: son J.L., who teaches composition and English at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and daughter Barbara who teaches creative writing and literature classes at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Community College.

November 2, 1998