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Sources: Charles Fehrenbach, 532-3461,;
and Stephen Kiefer, 785-532-2642,
News release prepared by: Bob Kruh, 785-537-4566,

Monday, April 20, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's first lady Ruth Ann Wefald has a new honor. K-State's chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is naming her an honorary member.

Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most widely recognized academic honor society, recognizes excellence in liberal learning and cultural achievement in academic institutions and in the community at large.

"Ruth Ann Wefald's accomplishments exemplify Phi Beta Kappa's values, and election to honorary membership is its highest form of recognition," said Charles Fehrenbach, research assistant professor in physics and president of K-State's Phi Beta Kappa chapter. "In a lifetime of service she has been a strong advocate for the advancement of the arts, the humanities, liberal education and public cultural life."

At K-State, Wefald has been a strong advocate for the arts, most notably in spearheading the successful effort to establish an art museum for the university, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art. She has been a member of the Beach Museum's advisory board and the board of visitors. She also has been an active supporter of the K-State Libraries, botanic gardens and historic costume museum, as well as the university's programs in theater, dance, sculpture and international studies.

In the Manhattan community, Wefald has had major roles in advancing local charitable causes, such as the United Way, the Child Care Coalition and the Flint Hills Breadbasket.

Wefald will be recognized at the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony April 24.

The K-State chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1974.