Band together supporting students

Six Pride of Wildcat Land alumni established a scholarship to honor former band leader Phillip Hewett and support drum majors.

For the first time in decades, Sue Williams returned to Manhattan for homecoming. She reconnected with former K-State bandmates from the 1970’s and reminisced about those who impacted their lives at K-State, like Phillip Hewett. From 1968 to 1982, Hewett was the director of the Pride of Wildcat Land marching band and grew the organization from 62 members to more than 300 members, the largest band in the Big Eight Conference at the time.

“After reconnecting, we realized that all six of us became successful over the years no doubt, in part, thanks to Mr. Hewett,” Sue said. “Each of us has personal stories we remember to this day of how he coached, mentored and taught us, which paved the way for each of us to become successful individuals.”

 The reconnected friends learned that when Hewett passed, his family had started a scholarship in his memory but the scholarship never became endowed. They decided to change that.

“We didn’t think that was right, so we talked among ourselves and decided to give back and honor Mr. Hewett’s memory,” Sue said.

This scholarship provides $1,000 to three drum majors annually.

“We understand college is far more expensive now than it was when we attended. We also know that the schedules of the drum majors are extraordinarily demanding and leave no time for employment,” Sue said. “Hopefully these scholarships will ease the financial burden for three very hard-working student leaders.”

Sue says she feels a sense of obligation to help support the next generation toward a successful and rewarding professional career. 

“I received an extraordinary education and start of my career at K-State. I think that comes with the obligation to give back and strive to make some sort of difference in the life of a student starting the journey.”

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