Friends University making positive strides

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

Gary Plummer is the President & CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce

I had the good fortune of attending a “State of the Organization” breakfast this week at Friends University in Wichita. Friends President Amy Bragg Carey updated a gathering of community leaders, faculty and boosters on major milestones hit by the University in the past year. It was an informative look at the pressures facing higher education today, including competition for students,  quality job placement for graduates, concerns about costs and rising student debt. It was these pressures, along with declining enrollment and a challenging financial outlook, that faced President Carey when she took over the helm in 2015.

The entire University community has responded well to this challenge, evidenced by the two-year Revitalization & Growth Plan adopted on campus. The plan focuses on Friends’ mission, focuses on the University’s strengths and proactively addresses the organization’s bottom line. Dr. Carey was quick to point out that the past year included some tough financial decisions, but has laid the groundwork for a turnaround at Friends University.

Of course, the success of any educational institution depends greatly on its ability to meet marketplace demands. Friends has a history of that and is nationally recognized for programs like zoology and spiritual formation. In the last year, they have also launched the first cyber security program in Wichita to meet the need to defend information infrastructure of business, government and the military. Friends also launched an innovative special education program that allows teaching licensure within a year, helping Kansas meet the increasing demand for special education teachers. Quality programs and affordability landed Friends at No. 44 on LendEDU’s 2016 College Risk-Reward Indicator. The indicator ranks institutions in terms of average student loan debt (risk) and average early career salary (reward). Friends was the highest ranking college in Kansas on the list.

At the conclusion of the presentation, one member of the audience summed up what everyone in the room was thinking: President Carey’s leadership in her first year has been the key to this turnaround at Friends. Dr. Carey deflects that credit to a supportive board and engaged team, but she certainly has built a tremendous culture on campus and is having an impact through her involvement in the Wichita Metro Chamber and other organizations. We are delighted to have Amy and Bryan as new members of the Wichita community!




Chamber publication wins marketing award, 2015 advertising space available

photoOur 2014 “Metro Wichita Economic Development” magazine recently won a Gold MAX Award from the Wichita American Marketing Association (WAMA) in the non-profit direct marketing category. Produced on an annual basis, the publication showcases the best of Wichita and surrounding communities – our skilled workforce, progressive business climate, amenities, and cultural attractions. Distributed both in print and electronically, it is used to familiarize potential businesses, employees, and residents with the business community and our quality of life.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the advertisers who participated in the 2014 issue. Our production and distribution of this magazine wouldn’t be possible without their financial investment. We are most appreciative of their assistance in our work to increase the economic vitality of the region:  Ambassador Hotel, BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas, City of Derby, Coleman, Coventry-Preferred Health Systems, Doubletree by Hilton Wichita Airport, Friends University, GoWichita Convention & Visitors Bureau, Riordan Clinic, Via Christi Health, Wells Fargo Advisors, Wesley Medical Center, Wichita Airport Authority, Wichita Area Technical College, Wichita Collegiate School, and Wichita Public Schools.

Work on the 2015 edition is currently underway, and there are several advertising opportunities available if you are interested in promoting your company or organization. Jarod Scott, Integrated Media Manager for Journal Communications, is working to maximize those opportunities for advertisers and would be happy to speak with anyone interested in learning more. He can be reached at 615-771-5552 or