Velma Wallace’s generosity toward Wichita seemed to know no bounds, and neither did her love for the community and her belief in its potential and especially its young people.
“The First Lady of Cessna,” who died Sunday at age 95, carried on after the 1989 death of her husband, longtime Cessna Aircraft executive Dwane Wallace, by donating her time and treasure to seemingly countless efforts relating to the arts, culture, children, education and more. Her $10 million gift made Exploration Place possible, also signaling other donors of the significance to Wichita of what became a landmark children’s and science museum. Just last month it was announced that she had committed $3 million to rename the Engineering Research Building at Wichita State University after retired WSU president Donald Beggs.
She once said: “I realized that my heart belongs to young people, and every venture that I have had with them has been so rewarding.”
Wichita long will reap the rewards of having known and been home to Velma Wallace, and will dearly miss having her around to guide and inspire it.
For the editorial board, Rhonda Holman