The Heroines

M. Diane Roberts

is honored with a Large Paver from Ellen R. Anderson, Lesli Bethel, Linda B. Black, Patricia A. Bunton, Dori and Charlie Chism, Mary E. Conrad, Kathleen-Tinh Dang, Linda J. Erbstoeszer, Phyllis A. Fletcher, Clint Forrest, Donald and Cathy Freeman, Linda Gill, Stephen and Marsha Gladhart, Diana W. Guthrie, Joe Gutierrez, Linda Hargrove and the WSU Women's Basketball Team, L. Marie Haun, Donna Hawley and Frederick Wolfe, Barbara S. Helena, Sherry Heyen, Ruth Hitchcock, Bonnie J. Holaday, Charlotte F. Howard, Ann L. Hunter, Diane E. Huntley, Phyllis M. Jacobs, Paula Jittawait, Kristie Kautz, Deborah Kennedy, Paul, Nancy and Kate Kraemer, Marvis Lary, Salme Lavigne, Gerald and Treva Lichti, Patricia MacDonald, Denise C. Maseman, Alt and Dee McDaniel, Jim Matney, Mary McHugh, Nannette McNiel, Cory L. Morrison, Toni L. Neff, Cecilia Nguyen, Maria Nguyen, Ben Perry, JoDell Chaney and the WSU Housekeeping Staff of Ahlberg Hall 1997, Ruth B. Pickard, Kenneth H. Pitetti, Steve Randall, Melissa L. Rausch, Danielle Lynn Reda, Cramer Reed, Herbert and Olivia Reid III, Roger and Rhonda Scudds, Patricia L. Seery, Vichy Setiawan, Lois M. Short, Pat Smith, Betty A. Sullivan, Donna R. Walker, Catherine O. Weber, Naomi J. Werne, Peggy Wilson, Kathy V. Wolfe, WSU Dental Hygiene Class of '97, and Marilyn R. Yourdon.

Mary Diane Roberts was Dean of the College of Health Professions at Wichita State University for 11 years from 1986-1997. She came to WSU in 1954 as Associate Dean in the college and was named interim Dean in 1985 after the sudden death of her predecessor. The following year, with the support of the college's faculty and staff, she was formally appointed Dean of the College of Health Professions.

Dr. Roberts inherited a college facing enrollment declines, financial constraints, internal strife, and programmatic concerns. Through her style of collaborative leadership, common sense approaches to problem-solving, and down-to-earth interactions with everyone she encountered, she successfully guided the college through those difficult times and helped it to emerge at the forefront of the university by pursuing her commitments to quality educational programs, support for faculty, staff and students, and community involvement. Dr. Roberts fostered diversity and broadened educational opportunities for all students. Her vision encompassed accessible health care and education without walls or boundaries; and under her leadership, the entire college worked towards those goals.

During her tenure at WSU, Diane gained a reputation as an expert in public health education, as a bold and tireless advocate for her college, and as an outstanding member of the university community. Her knowledge and vision contributed to her effective leadership, while her humanistic approach to management and to life gained her the respect, support, and affection of her colleagues and students. She wasn't afraid to take a stand on issues, but one-upmanship didn't interest her; whenever possible, she tried to solve problems in ways that made all parties a winner, and she treated everyone, no matter what their circumstance or position, with dignity and respect.

Whether she was developing strategic plans with the college executive committee, negotiating new programs with university and community leaders, engaging in impromptu hallway conversations with faculty, celebrating birthdays with her staff, joining the building custodians for dinner, or jumping into water fights and being "slimed" with green gelatin by students during the annual college picnic, Diane Roberts was the same intelligent, courageous, honest, forthright, dedicated, accessible. In short, to the colleagues and students who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her, she was "the Dean."

We appreciate her, and we're glad we've known her. Thanks for 11 great years, Diane. We'll miss you.

July 22, 1998