2020 Board of Trustees’ Award winner Dave Unruh

Narrator: David Unruh, the recipient of this
year’s Board of Trustees’ award, has been instrumental in building relationships
throughout the Sedgwick County community and Wichita State. Pierre Harter: Dave Unruh has
been a county commissioner for over 16 years and throughout his tenure he
really understood the value of a partnership between the county and the
university. Dave was always a proponent of the mill levy and really
understood the value that the mill levy brought, not only to Wichita State
University and the students that it helped, but also to the broader
community as a whole. Narrator: A retired County Commissioner, Dave
understands the important role that Wichita State plays in driving economic
opportunity for the area. Dave’s strength as a leader helped create
growth between businesses and Wichita State. Andy Schlapp: I remember he was running
for office first in 2002 and he was the president of WIBA, Independent Business
Association, and at that time the people who worked at the County were freaking
out that he was going to win and a conservative businessman coming into the
county was going to be very very difficult. He came in and was just a
breath of fresh air. He listened to everything. He never prejudged anything
of what was right or what was wrong and then once he understood what was going
on, he started asking questions but always respected the individual in every
position that worked at the county and really just had a great approach from
from an elected official – one that I’ve never seen from anybody else. He was
truly a special person. Dave Unruh: I have always had a clear understanding that our community
has a tremendous asset in Wichita State University – not only from the academic
perspective but also it has a tremendous economic impact on the community. It
makes us a community that’s attractive for both small and large firms to decide
that Wichita’s their home, and so from the beginning I didn’t underestimate the
importance of that and felt like WSU deserved and a sense needed all
the support that we could give it. Narrator: Sheree Utash, President of WSU Tech,
credits Dave for his unwavering support and considers him one of the founding
fathers of WSU Tech and the National Center for Aviation Training. Utash: Without
Dave’s influence and Dave’s tenacity and his courageous step stepping forward in
this community as a county commissioner to get this project off the ground, I
don’t think we would see WSU Tech where it is today at all. I don’t even know
that it would be WSU Tech. It would probably still be Wichita Area Technical
College setting behind East High School. I think that is the incredible marking
of the things that he has done, but at the end of the day, he is so committed to
making sure that Wichita is the best place it can be: for higher education
with WSU and WSU Tech, for a community, for our people to live and grow and play
and for quality of life. Unruh: WSU is going to outlive all of us and it’s part of
the identity of our region and whenever and however we can be supportive and
promote the university we need to do that. Narrator: A loyal champion for his community and a
devoted friend to Wichita State, congratulations to Dave Unruh, the
recipient of the 2020 Board of Trustees’ Award.

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