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The Ichabod statue on the back patio of Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center during the fall

Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center

A place for Ichabods to gather and celebrate

The Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center is one of the marquee buildings on campus and a space in which alumni can take pride. The building houses the Alumni Association staff, additional office space for university units and meeting space for Alumni Association, campus and community events. Discussions for an alumni gathering place stretch to the 1960s in the aftermath of the Topeka tornado, and ideas were presented for an alumni convocation center in the early 1980s. After more than a decade of planning and fundraising, the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center opened in April 1996. The facility is named after Washburn alumnus and renowned graphic designer Bradbury Thompson, ba '34 (1911-1995).



The Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center is off 17th and Jewell, across the street from White Concert Hall and Mulvane Art Museum (directions and campus map).


Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center


Bradbury Thompson and the Washburn College Bible

Bradbury ThompsonBradbury Thompson was born in Topeka in 1911 and graduated from Topeka High School and Washburn College, where he received a bachelor of arts in economics in 1934. While at Washburn, Thompson was president of his class as a senior, captain of the track team, editor of two editions of the Kaw yearbook and the designer for seven volumes of the college annual.

Thompson designed the official Mr. Ichabod symbol for the 1938 Kaw. Depictions of that original image are still used today in the design of our mascot. Thompson designed large murals for the Washburn Memorial Union that depicted campus buildings lost in the 1966 tornado. He was one of the most innovative and renowned graphic designers of the 20th century, working as the art director of Mademoiselle and design director of Art News and Art News Annual. He designed the formats for dozens of other magazines, including the Smithsonian. Thompson also designed more than 90 U.S. postage stamps, created a new font, Alphabet 26 and was a faculty member at the Yale School of Art for more than 30 years.

One of his signature achievements is the Washburn College Bible, a three-volume typographic redesign of the King James Bible, published in 1979. In 1980, Oxford University Press published a one-volume edition, which was made a Book-of-the Month Club special selection.

Washburn College Bible opened to an inside page

Washburn awarded him an Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 1958 and conferred an honorary doctor of fine arts on him in 1965. A track and field star, he was inducted into the Washburn Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. He died in 1995 at age 84.


Facility Rental

Many of the rooms and facilities are available for rent for university and community use. Visit University Scheduling or call 785.670.1725 for questions or to schedule your event.

After Hours crowd

The Ruth Garvey Fink Convocation Hall serves as one of the premier event spaces on campus. The 3,420-square-foot room features a fireplace and large windows fronted by three columns. The columns overlook the Joss Garden. The space can be divided into three rooms and doors on the south lead to a service kitchen. Rental of the convocation hall includes use of the Joss Reception Gallery and Joss Garden. The convocation hall is used for Alumni Association events, by other departments on campus and for weddings and receptions. Maximum capacity is 350 when no chairs or tables are present and varies depending on room configuration.

The Washburn Bible Room

The Washburn College Bible Room displays the last edition of the Washburn College Bible, designed by alumnus Bradbury Thompson, ba ’34. The room contains a conference table that seats 16 people.  

Joss Reception Gallery

As you enter from the east, the Joss Reception Gallery is illuminated by natural light from skylights. A custom-made staircase leads to the upper level where university offices are located.

Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center

Outside the hall is the 16,500-square-foot Doris Firestone Joss Garden, featuring a brick sidewalk that forms a “W,” as well as a 5-foot-11 bronze Ichabod statue.


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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483