Wichita Festivals made history this afternoon by naming Kaye Monk-Morgan as the first African-American woman to serve as Admiral Windwagon Smith, the ambassador for this year’s Wichita River Festival, June 2-10 in downtown Wichita.
The Admiral, chosen by previous Admirals, is selected from the ranks of people who have donated considerable time and talent to the annual festival.
Morgan was introduced in style in North High School’s new gym, where she was welcomed by the pep club drumline, past admirals, the Wichita Wagonmasters and this year’s squad of Prairie Schooner Mates who represent local high schools and assist with public activities during the Festival.
She was piped aboard the Windwagon, passing beneath the traditional canopy of mops and waved to the crowd from atop the distinctive wagon, which serves as the icon of the Festival.
Morgan, a North High graduate, paid tribute to her family’s generations deep-roots at the historic school where she said you have the “unique opportunity to grow up seeing people who look like you and people who don’t.”
She said she is excited to be an ambassador for the River Festival, which is a time for the whole city to come together and celebrate Wichita.
Monk-Morgan is the 49th Admiral Windwagon Smith, a position that has been historically held by White men. She is only the second African-American Admiral Windwagon. Retired Deputy Fire Chief Bob Thompson, a long-time River Festival volunteer, was the 30th Admiral Windwagon Smith.
Monk-Morgan is the third female Admiral Windwagon. She follows Linda Davidson, the 26th Admiral and Wendy Johnston, the 44th Admiral.
On March 6, Monk-Morgan became President and CEO of the Kansas Leadership Center after serving as the organization’s Chief Impact Officer since August 2022.
She has 30 years of experience as a university administrator, educator and advocate and was previously the vice president for Strategic Engagement and Planning at Wichita State University.
An active community servant, Monk-Morgan has served on non-profit and corporate boards at the local, state, regional and national levels, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas, Emprise Bank, The Kansas African American Museum, and the Council for Opportunity in Education. She has earned multiple academic credentials including a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Business, a Master of Arts in Public Administration and Doctorate in Educational Leadership.
I am soooooo very, VERY proud of you, Dr. Kaye. Although I will not be in attendance for the fun festivities, my thoughts wii be with you!
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