Elvira Crocker, a journalist, communications specialist and activist, and Louis Sturns, a Texas lawyer and judge, were inducted into the Wichita State University Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the school last month. Both cited the pivotal role that higher education played in their lives.
Crocker grew up in western Kansas as the child of Mexican immigrants. She came to WSU as a transfer student from Garden City Community College. While at WSU, she worked in the school’s public relations office, graduating with a journalism degree in 1961.
Crocker worked as a reporter and women’s news editor for the Wichita Eagle and Beacon and also earned a three-month travel and study to Peru, where she wrote and headquarterd at Presna newspaper in Lima.
After moving to Washington, D.C., Crocker worked in communications for the National Council of La Raza, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Education Association and other organizations. She was a delegate to the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference, worked on both of President Bill Clinton’s national campaigns and has been active in many state and national advocacy roles for women and Hispanics. Crocker, who has won numerous journalism awards, is a former board member of The Active Age who helps edit the newspaper each month.
In remarks at the induction ceremony, Crocker said she was fortunate to come from a home in which education was emphasized. Of her 10 siblings who survived childhood, half earned college degrees, including four of her sisters.
Sturns came to WSU from Fairview, Texas, supporting himself by enrolling in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and working as a school bus driver. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Sturns earned a law degree from the University of Kansas, then served as a captain in the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He returned to Texas to practice law with civil rights legend L. Clifford Davis. Sturns became the first African American to serve on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the state’s highest court for criminal cases; and the first African American President of the Tarrant County Bar Association. Sturns presided over an inquiry into prosecutorial misconduct which led to major changes for rules of discovery in Texas. He has received numerous awards for his civic work, which has included serving on the Texas Department of Public Safety Commission and three other major state boards. He is active in Community Christian Church and serves on the board of Texa Weslyan University.
Sturns said he was unsure of his abilities when he arrived at WSU but left with the educational foundation needed to succeed in his career. While attending WSU, he lived with family members who had moved here earlier, several of whom attended the induction ceremony.