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Alumni, donors, students, faculty and staff

Read the latest feature stories from people who are making a difference for Washburn. Many of these articles appear in our publications like The Ichabod and Bell Tower.

Washburn Welcome Center outdoorsResolute but Adaptive: Washburn remains committed to mission amid COVID-19 disruptions

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
As Washburn was on spring break, much of the world was beginning to make decisions regarding closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Washburn decided, like most other academic institutions, to move its spring classes online. Faculty and staff had one week to make sure students could continue getting the resources important to their success.

Student Adam Young with Elizabeth WarrenOn the Trail: Political science students study firsthand the uniqueness of Iowa presidential politics

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Iowa commands months of attention in presidential politics every four years. Campaigns and dreams are born and die in this state as the two major political parties begin the process of choosing their nominee for the nation’s highest office. Washburn University students get a front-row seat.

Washburn nursing students at a clinicalRenewed and Well: School of Nursing using $5 million grants to help care in underserved areas

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Natalie Peterman shadowed a nurse in rural Kansas during a pre-nursing class before coming to Washburn University. “I absolutely loved it,” she said. “I saw the hard work rural nurses do and the impact it makes for the community, and I thought it was something I would really like to do in the future.”

Chief Justice Marla Luckert being sworn inLeading from Atop: The Hon. Marla Luckert, ba ’77, jd ’80, sworn in as chief justice of Kansas’ highest court

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Outside Chief Justice Marla Luckert's desk, the Kansas State Capitol sits proudly, seeming to scrape the Midwestern sky. “It’s a good reminder. I want to do everything I can for citizens of Kansas to make access to justice more than just a statement we throw out. It’s something real and meaningful.”

Tom AverillThe Kansas Story: Mabee Library celebrates decade of thriving collection

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
For the last 10 years, the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Washburn University has become an exhaustive body of work dedicated to Kansas literature. Housed in Mabee Library, the collection enhances the study of Kansas literature through the state’s folklore, history, geography and culture.

Paul Humann with books he's publishedGetting the Picture: Paul Humann, jd '64, going on 60 years of scuba diving, underwater photography

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
“A huge school of hammerheads came straight toward me out of the blue. They went right over me and then just stayed there. So I wondered, how close would they let me come? I rose up out of the crevice and swam up in the open water right into the middle of the school and got a couple of unbelievable pictures.”

Mariana Yoshita holding a childGoing Places: Mariana Yoshita, bba '16, travels the world and inspires others to do the same

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Mariana Yoshita is a world traveler by heart, a Brazilian citizen by passport, a proud Washburn alumna, and has already visited 34 countries. “My experience at Washburn University was exceptional,” Yoshita said. “It was just the start of my international business career.”

Eric HinostrozaClubhouse Veteran: Military, fatherhood experiences come into play for first baseman Eric Hinostroza

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
At age 25, Eric Hinostroza already has a lifetime of experiences. Between his first and second seasons at Kansas City Kansas Community College, the Brandon, Florida, native got married, became a father of two and spent four years serving in the U.S. Army. Now he's a leader on the Ichabod baseball team.

Ron WassersteinIt All Adds Up: Good-natured Ron Wasserstein, ba '78, in 14th year leading national statistics organization

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
One of the things Ron Wasserstein is remembered for at Washburn is his ability to have fun while raising funds for the school. In 1996, he made a challenge to faculty and staff for their annual campaign: If half the faculty contributed at least a dollar, he would belly flop into the White Concert Hall fountain. They rose to the challenge, and that fall he had to pay up.

Bill EldienIn Good Spirits: Bill Eldien, b ed '71, leading 300-year old distillery that produces Ketel One Vodka

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Running a 300-year-old business is no easy feat. It takes passion, commitment and creativity – and for Bill Eldien, personal enjoyment of the product he’s selling. As CEO and president of Nolet Spirits USA, a family-owned distillery founded in Holland in 1691, Eldien still remembers the time he tried Nolet’s Ketel One Vodka on a whim. It was love at first sip.

Jake LebahnCalling the Shots: Ichabod announcer, father-to-be Jake Lebahn, ba '07, enjoying life at home and on the road

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
When he’s not hosting his weekday sports talk show, the 6-foot-4 former wide receiver crams into a car and travels to nearly every Washburn football and basketball contest to call the game. After all the uneventful drives, it may come as a surprise to hear the Voice of the Ichabods refer to a 2014 flight to Hawaii as his “trip from hell.”

Whiting FieldhouseStudent-Athlete Spotlight: Ichabods staying connected, focused after seasons canceled, classes moved online

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Washburn student-athletes were preparing for competitions in March as leagues around the world were canceling because of COVID-19. The Ichabods went on as usual until they got the same heartbreaking news about their seasons. As it sunk in, they have been finding ways to finish classes and remain connected while looking ahead to brighter days.

Tommy and Lou OlsenSpecial Connections: As fans and donors, Olsens enjoy watching student-athletes grow, build careers

From The Ichabod - Spring 2020
Lou Olsen has worked at Washburn for 36 years, spending all but two years in Human Resources. As supporters of Ichabod athletics, Lou and Tommy Olsen enjoy watching local athletes come to Washburn, have successful playing careers and return as employees or fellow donors and fans.

Larry and Lois DimmittLarry, jd ’68, and Lois Dimmitt: New plans excite alumnus, encourage gift to School of Law building fund

From Law Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2020
Larry Dimmitt, jd ’68, finished the last two years of his legal education taking classes in trailers. After graduating, he proudly watched a new law school building rise on a campus scourged by a tornado. Now, 50 years later, he and his wife, Lois, heartily made a $100,000 gift toward a new building that will meet the changing demands of legal education.

Tom Bayles and Lindsay BaylesBayles Family: Second-year Washburn Law student Lindsay Bayles guided by family advice

From Law Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2020
Lindsay Bayles’s family history at Washburn goes back two generations, but when she and her husband decided to study law, the decision to attend Washburn was not an automatic one. They ultimately decided on Washburn, the same school Lindsay’s father, Tom Bayles, mba ’94, jd ’97, chose, and her grandfather, James Bayles, taught law at.

Kate Langworthy at Highland gamesKate Langworthy: Scottish Highland games and agricultural law interest 1L

From Law Alumni Newsletter - Spring 2020
Like most things, Kate Langworthy’s success as a Scottish Highland games athlete is dictated by her amount of training. “Trying to juggle law school, motherhood, and life in general, sometimes training gets pushed to the wayside,” she said. “Just like in law school, if you're not putting in the time outside of class, it's going to translate to your outcome.”

Be the voice, voter registration formDriving Discussions: Anniversaries of voting amendments will draw focus on citizenship, suffrage

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
In an election year, census year and year that celebrates milestone anniversaries of the right to vote in the United States, the theme of this year’s WUmester, citizenship and suffrage, is not only timely, but important. Washburn University will make the topic prevalent in many of its courses and events this spring semester.

Maya Angelou's portrait in "I Dream a World"Stunning Collection: Mulvane acquires photos from Pulitzer Prize winner’s book

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
The oldest art museum in Kansas celebrated its 95th birthday with a special announcement of its acquisition of Brian Lanker’s photographs from his book “I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America.” The exhibition and book presents an African American female view of the world, accompanied by the critically-acclaimed portraits.

Marian McGaw WellhouseFighting Words: Washburn alumna active in national suffrage work prior to 1920 amendment

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
The words and actions of a Washburn alumna more than 100 years ago helped fuel the national fight for women to vote. Marian (McGaw) Wellhouse, ba 1911, moved to the east coast prior to adoption of the 19th Amendment. She marched at the White House, met with Congressmen and had her words published, becoming part of the collective voice.

Voter registration driveParty Lines: Bi-partisan efforts better equip students for citizenship roles

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
In a country that seems more politically divided than ever, Washburn students from opposing sides of the political spectrum have united with a common goal. Members of the Washburn College Democrats and College Republicans organizations teamed up in the fall to encourage fellow classmates to register.

Nashville Public Library director Kent Oliver, ba '77Celebrating Suffrage: Kent Oliver, ba '77, brings access to roles of citizenship as Nashville library director

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
One hundred years ago sounds like a long time, but the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote is just as significant today. At Nashville Public Library, director and Washburn University alumnus Kent Oliver is honoring this critical component of democracy by spearheading a multimedia experience celebrating the amendment.

Faculty members Alexandra Klales (left) and Ashley Maxwell lead the Washburn University Forensic Anthropology Recovery Unit. Washburn is one of only five U.S. schools to allow undergraduate students to do active forensic casework. Active Investigators: Forensic anthropology students get an edge with crime-scene casework

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
Law enforcement agencies have surveyed the scene and need help identifying human remains. Everything the forensic anthropology students learned will now be put to work. This is no longer an exercise in the dig site outside the KBI lab on campus. This is an active investigation and the beginning of a recovery process hopefully bringing closure and justice.

Katie GlatczakThese Bods Care: New program connects student-athletes with area school children

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
With messy faces and between bites of pizza, kids at Meadows Elementary School in Topeka visited with four student-athletes from the Washburn University women’s basketball team in October. This was one of hundreds of visits Ichabods have had since Bods Care started in 2018, each one a chance for a priceless connection.

Lauren Edelman (left) has been a mentor for senior Claire Leffingwell. Mentoring Matters: Leadership Institute celebrates 10 years of its flagship event

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
Lauren Edelman, ba '11, was a senior at Washburn when she served as the first Leadership Challenge Event student fellow in 2011. Today, she’s the interim director of the Leadership Institute and mentors the current fellow, senior Claire Leffingwell, for the upcoming 10th annual Leadership Challenge Event.

Janice Watkins and her family posing at a build siteBuilding Community: Commitment to serve is lifelong charge for Janice Watkins, ba '05, director of Habitat for Humanity

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
Janice Watkins is executive director of Topeka Habitat for Humanity. As a Washburn student, she earned Washburn Women's Alliance scholarships for single parents. Now, she’s helping give back by serving on the WWA board.

Suzanne Lane posingEnergized Executive: Suzanne Lane, mba '01, grows in her leadership of energy co-op

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
Suzanne Lane’s career in the energy industry has surged in the past year. The CEO of Kansas Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. recently attended a nuclear reactor technology program at MIT to learn more about the safety aspects, benefits and challenges of nuclear energy and bring the knowledge back to her company's 300,000 rural Kansas customers.

Dina BennettMusical Culture: Life surrounding African American music inspires museum curator Dina Bennett, ba '90

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
Dina Bennett grew up around blues and gospel music, or whatever her father’s band Roland Bennett and the Rockin’ Whalers were playing that evening. Now she's helping build the National Museum of African American Music from the ground up, curating exhibits that show the legacy of African American music from its beginnings.

student athlete advisory committee meetingBe Well, Be More: Mental health screenings help Ichabod student-athletes improve their game

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
If an athlete sprains an ankle or pulls a hamstring, treatment will undoubtedly take place until the injury heals. Mental health hasn’t always received the same kind of attention in the world of sports. Washburn University’s athletic and psychology departments have been proactive about changing that mindset.

Richard Ochieng and Lydia Akumu OikaLegendary Legacy: Alumna from Kenya started nursing agency; her brother carries on her dream

From The Ichabod - Winter 2020
During her lifetime, Lydia Akumu Oika, bsn ’02, was always a pioneer. In 1998, she moved to Topeka from her home in Nairobi, Kenya, to pursue a degree in nursing at Washburn University. The result is a family business she started and a legacy of hard work and determination.

The Marching IchabodsA Feather in Their Cap: New band uniforms honor memory of former director, excite students

From Bell Tower - Fall 2019
New marching band uniforms were purchased following one of the largest crowdfunding campaigns in University history, which raised $100,000 for 200 new uniforms. The campaign was kick-started by a $50,000 matching donation from David Woods, b music ’65, and his husband, Ted Yungclas, who honored the memory of former band director James Van Slyke.

Softball renovations ribbon cuttingField of Dreams: New softball field turf, facility upgrades surpass expectations

From Bell Tower - Fall 2019
Bill and Emilie Gahnstrom set up a challenge gift to rally financial support for upgrades to Washburn's softball facilities. The resulting new fieldturf and other features were unveiled during a ribbon cutting this fall, giving the Ichabods a facelift to their home field that was only able to host four games in 2018 due to weather constraints.

Jim and Kathy MaagConnecting a Legacy: Volunteer work inspires Jim, ba '61, h '04, and Kathy, bba '64, Maag to plan for future

From Bell Tower - Fall 2019
As alumni, Jim and Kathy Maag have served the University extensively through volunteering and with their financial resources. They have also chosen to make Washburn a permanent part of the legacy through a planned gift to support three scholarships for the School of Business, music department and tennis team.

Brenda and Steve KitchenHenderson Facelift: Renovations focus on creating collaborative space thanks to Steve, bba '70, h '05, and Brenda, bba '95, Kitchen

From Bell Tower - Fall 2019
When major renovations began at Washburn University’s Henderson Hall this summer, one fact became quickly apparent: The almost 50-year-old building has good bones.

Bill RichFostering Engagement: Bill Rich to retire from law faculty after 43 years

From Washburn Lawyer - Fall 2019
During his 43 years as a professor at Washburn Law, Bill Rich has seen a lot of changes in legal education. Class sizes have gotten smaller, resulting in better opportunities for interactions with students. Long-time faculty members have become well versed in the art of teaching. And perhaps the biggest change of all: Technology has taken on a prominent role.

David PierceMentoring Students: After 30 years, David Pierce reflects on career at Washburn Law

From Washburn Lawyer - Fall 2019
When it comes to his 30-year career as a professor at Washburn Law, David Pierce, jd ’77, says he has his wife, Martha Pierce, bsn ’77, to thank. The couple married while they were both undergraduates at Pittsburg State University in Southeast Kansas, and Martha attended nursing school at Washburn while David studied law.

Jay and Danielle HallCollaborating, Connections, Competition: Halls coach trial advocacy team at Washburn Law

From Washburn Lawyer - Fall 2019
For Jay and Danielle Hall, Washburn Law’s trial advocacy program is the gift that keeps on giving. Jay, ba ’04, jd ’07, and Danielle, ba ’06, jd ’09, each participated in the program while attending law school, and the married couple has been coaching trial advocacy teams together since 2010.

Law ClinicEducating Future Lawyers: Largest law firm in Kansas looks to support future generations

From Washburn Lawyer - Fall 2019
Washburn Law remains the ideal place to impact the world through a legal education. The impact may best be seen in the roles Washburn-trained lawyers played in the landmark Brown v. Board case ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Washburn hosted a celebration of the 1954 decision with a banquet on the 65th anniversary earlier this year.

Dale and Lynn WardSupporting Each Other: After the Wards met in law school, they have enjoyed flourishing careers

From Washburn Lawyer - Fall 2019
When Lynn Ward, jd ’90, attended Washburn Law, she got much more than just a quality legal education. In some of her classes, another student caught her eye. Dale Ward, jd ’90, was not afraid to answer or ask questions, and Lynn said she could tell right away that he was “pretty smart.”

Lanna Allen and Prof. Tonya KowalskiTonya Kowalski: Students and faculty work to expose others to needs of Native American communities

From Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2019
Exposing students to Native American legal issues is the goal of the re-activated Native American Law Student Association and its organizers. Tonya Kowalski, professor of law, is advising the organization. "The lawyers we are training need to have exposure to these issues because they can do harm without even realizing it,” Kowalski said.

Justice Lee JohnsonJustice Johnson Retiring: The Honorable Lee Johnson, ’80, has served on Kansas Supreme Court since 2007

From Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2019
The Honorable Lee Johnson, jd ’80, had the chance to observe appellate arguments and study appellate briefs while a student at Washburn University School of Law. When he graduated and returned to Caldwell, Kansas, to practice he knew where he wanted to go in his career.

Alumnus Paul Brady posing with wife and guests at BvB 65th anniversary celebrationIdeal Connections: School of Law has been training grounds for many fighting for civil rights

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Washburn Law remains the ideal place to impact the world through a legal education. The impact may best be seen in the roles Washburn-trained lawyers played in the landmark Brown v. Board case ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Washburn hosted a celebration of the 1954 decision with a banquet on the 65th anniversary earlier this year.

Students from Ichabods Moving ForwardMoving Forward: Student group raising funds to benefit other students

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Ichabods Moving Forward is a student-led organization that raises money for an emergency fund to help recipients get through one-time financial emergencies when all other resources have been exhausted. The group is in its third year and began awarding grants last year, including one that helped a student land a dream job.

Tish Graham in the newsroomNever Say No: Tish Graham, ba '80, and her passion shatter glass ceiling in broadcast technology

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
“I once drove a live truck through a forest fire in the mountains of Central California to get video back.” Tish Graham (Nelson) is never one to shy away from a challenge. In fact, Graham believes her motto of “never saying no” is what got her to where she is today – serving as ABC Owned Television Stations VP of broadcast technology.

Greg BrennemanPlan of Action: Former CEO Greg Brenneman, bba '84, h '99, focuses on big-picture outcomes in life and business

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
“What are your eulogy virtues, not just your resume virtues? What do you want someone to say at your funeral? I suggest people use the five Fs – faith, family, friends, fitness and finance."

Corey Ballentine with the GiantsGiant Steps: Fallen friend motivating Corey Ballentine, als '19, in journey to make NFL roster

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Corey Ballentine has spent his life overcoming hurdles on his path to the NFL. Hours after his dream was realized with a selection by the New York Giants, the day that was supposed to be his happiest was marred by a shooting that killed his best friend and Washburn teammate. He's worked this summer to overcome that and secure a roster spot.

Dwane Simmons playing footballSpirit of a Warrior: Washburn remembering a life cut short by senseless tragedy

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Football Coach Craig Schurig said part of the team's focus this season will be on remembering and honoring fallen teammate Dwane Simmons. “You can see his closeness to others, not just Washburn football, but Washburn Athletics and the University as a whole. We’d like to have his legacy be as strong as possible.”

Kristi and Brendan Sneegas in front of an airplane at downtown Kansas City airportLove Takes Flight: Kristi, bsn ’92, and Brendan, bsw ’92, Sneegas providing compassion in their careers

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Kristi and Brenden Sneegas have shared a life of compassion toward others since meeting at Washburn. Brendan works for Angel Flight Central, which arranges charitable medical flights for people in need, and Kristi is a registered nurse with Pentec Health treating patients with chronic pain and spasticity disorders.

Richard Ross and Steve Hornbaker in DenmarkTreated Like Family: Richard Ross, ba ’71, jd ’75, and the Honorable Steve Hornbaker, ba ’70, jd ’73, commemorate 50 years since semester in Denmark

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Richard Ross remembers persuading his parents to let him spend a semester in Denmark while a student at Washburn. “I was wanting to convince my parents this trip was a good idea and I ran across a quote: ‘Travel teaches toleration.’ I have never forgotten that quote."

Jacob WamegoAge of Leadership: Jacob Wamego, bs '07, connecting his Washburn service to Prairie Band tribal citizens

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
As a Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation tribal citizen, Jacob Wamego has lived his whole life on the reservation, so he understands the needs of the community. Having succeeded in a leadership role, he is now trying to give back and help the next generation of tribal citizens. A growing part of this outreach includes becoming more involved with Washburn.

The Wiechert FamilyAbove and Beyond: Four generations strong, Wiecherts still amazed by Washburn experience

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
A warm welcome that included brushing mortar off a dusty couch weeks after the 1966 tornado was enough to convince Stan Wiechert that Washburn was the place for him. Since then, 11 family members, spread across four generations, have enrolled at Washburn. 

People watching a film at WIFI Film FestivalBehind the Scenes: Mass media department’s debut film festival considered a huge hit

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
When Washburn University’s mass media department decided to launch its first film festival, Matthew Nyquist worried they wouldn’t get enough entries for a successful festival. After all, there were less than six months between its inception and the actual event. Leave it to the filmmakers to provide a happy ending.

James Barraclough and Paul Mismaque in the libraryFirst-year Focus: Washburn earns national recognition for student mentoring

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
When Paul Mismaque came to the United States from France, Washburn's Center for Student Success and Retention gave him the resources he needed to succeed. Now he's helping new first-year students as a senior peer educator. The program was recently awarded for its work with student mentoring.

Mike RacyBalanced Approach: Washburn education propelled career for MIAA Commissioner Mike Racy, bba '87

From The Ichabod - Fall 2019
Mike Racy got his start at Washburn where the small setting made him feel he could make a difference. He has since built similar opportunities as commissioner of the MIAA, Washburn's athletic conference since 1989. He talked this summer about changes in the MIAA and what excites him about the balanced experience student-athletes get.

School of Law rural law story - buildingRural Kansas: Continued investment in rural legal program

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2019
The School of Law has been offering a robust summer externship program as part of its Rural Law Program since 2017 thanks to a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. The goal of the program is to provide students opportunities to experience life and practice law in a rural community, as well as to interest them in pursuing careers in rural Kansas.

Rosemary MenningerPassions Drive Philanthropy: Work, community service provide ideas to support for Rosemary Menninger, ba  '84, bfa '85

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2019
The visions of many others have helped Rosemary Menninger shape her careers, her community involvement and philanthropic efforts. Along the way, gifts she has made to Washburn have been made with intention and her belief in the power of the programs.

Gary and Mary EisenbarthSupporting Scholarships: Great faculty inspires giving for Gary, ba '69, and Mary Eisenbarth

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2019
Gary Eisenbarth grew up in Topeka and chose Washburn because it was affordable – he could go to school and still live with his parents. He and his wife, Mary, met in high school and came to Washburn together. Inspired by the work faculty do to support today's students, they created the Gary and Mary Eisenbarth Business Scholarship Fund.

Finnup FoundationFinnup Foundation: Providing opportunities for Southwest Kansas

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2019
Sharing opportunities with Garden City and the southwest Kansas communities has been at the heart of the Finnup family and the Finnup Foundation for more than a century. A generous annual gift from the Foundation goes toward scholarships for Washburn students who have graduated from Foundation's the surrounding area.

Washburn campusTransformational Experience: Bob Meinershagen, ba '63, providing funds to change lives

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2019
Bob Meinershagen had a lot of trust in faculty members while a student at Washburn, and his relationship with the biology department today is no different. He and his wife established the Robert E. and Helen L. Meinershagen Excellence in Biology Fund and they continue to support the fund every year with a generous gift.

 
More stories

Spring 2020 Alumni Mag

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2019-20 spring edition online and look for it in mailboxes in May.

View past editions

 

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