Mr. Wayne Willis was born in eastern Kansas and spent part of his youth in Maryland and Virginia. In both environments he was constantly exposed to the sportsman’s life and spent every available moment hunting, fishing, and in the outdoors sketching and drawing wildlife.
Wayne’s remarkable aptitude for painting stemmed from his desire to recapture his experiences in the field, for he was an ardent sportsman and conservationist. He ranked among the top wildlife artists in the country and is considered by many to be the premiere quail painter.
In 1992 former Kansas Governor Mike Hayden, Community Leaders in Kansas and the Willis family created the Wayne Willis scholarship fund, later known as the Wayne Willis Wildlife Foundation, partially funded by the annual Governor’s One Shot Turkey Hunt and auction. Scholarships were established to support university students enrolled in Wildlife Management programs.
The Wayne Willis Foundation, Inc. board managed this fund for years. In 2012 they began exploring alternative options for management, while ensuring the original intention of this scholarship would be preserved.
In the Fall of 2012 the Wayne Willis Foundation, Inc. arranged the on-going management of this scholarship with El Dorado Community Foundation, an affiliate of Central Kansas Community Foundation.