The Wichita Aero Club will present its first Wichita Aero Club Trophy to Velma Wallace. The trophy, which is awarded annually to a living person or persons with a strong relationship to the Wichita area who has distinguished himself or herself through exemplary achievements or contributions in the field of aviation or aerospace, will be presented at the club’s annual ball Sept. 18.
“The selection of Mrs. Wallace was one that received a great deal of support from representatives of every aviation company in Wichita…and from around the industry, for that matter,” explained Dave Franson, executive director of the Wichita Aero Club. “Her influence has been felt throughout the aerospace community because of the ongoing interest and personal relationships she has maintained with Wallace scholars over many years. There are many leading engineers in Wichita’s aviation companies who have a great deal of affection for Mrs. Wallace and have remain indebted to her for giving them a boost in their education at Wichita State University. She always made it a point to get to know the recipients of the Wallace scholarships, to host luncheons for them and to stay in touch with them. Her interest went far beyond just endowing a scholarship that bears Dwane’s and her name. There are, in fact, more than 200 Wallace Scholars who have benefited from Mr. and Mrs. Wallace’s generosity in the more than 30 years since they established the endowment…and Velma took personal pride in each one of them.”
Velma Wallace is more than just the wife of Dwane Wallace, the former chairman of Cessna Aircraft Co. A single and multi-engine pilot, she maintained an active role in the Wichita community and in the aviation world through her continued involvement with Wichita State’s College of Engineering even after Mr. Wallace’s death in 1989. She earned the Wichita Area Girl Scout Council’s “Woman of Distinction” Award, the Chamber of Commerce’s “Uncommon Citizen” Award, the Forum for Executive Women “Wing Walker Award” and the National Conference for Community and Justice “Brotherhood and Sisterhood” Award to go with the President’s Medal and recognition as an Honorary Alumna she received from Wichita State University. She was also instrumental in the completion of Exploration Place, Wichita’s science center.
A native of Wichita, Mrs. Wallace graduated from Wichita Business College and began her business career at Cessna where she met Dwane Wallace. They married and raised four daughters: Linda, Diana, Karen and Sarah.
“Mrs. Wallace was selected from a number of very deserving nominees submitted by members of the public,” Franson noted. “The committee, which included members of the Wichita Aero Club Board of Directors and prominent members of the aviation community, evaluated all of the nominations before choosing the winner. We especially wanted this initial recipient to be someone whose ties to Wichita are obvious and well established. Mrs. Wallace was born and raised here and has been a significant contributor to this community for virtually her entire life. We’re extremely pleased to recognize her in this way.”
The other nominees will remain under consideration for the award in the future, Franson also pointed out.
The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding.
For more information: 316-681-4471, 641-5962 or WichitaAeroClub.org.