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Our Stories

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.

Ben ReedTurtle Trackers: Students design research projects around turtle populations in Midwest

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
After following a tree line for some time, the telemetry signal told biology major Becca Tolbert she would need to turn into a thick forest if she was going to find Lady of the Lake. Ben Reed, her professor, didn’t hesitate. He goes where turtles go, and that can include a thorny forest, a sunbaked prairie, a patch of poison ivy or elbow-deep in a dark hole.

Nursing graduate Parker JonesIntensive Care: Recent nursing graduates provide compassionate care during pandemic

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
Treating patients with coronavirus has become a part of daily life for Washburn University-trained nurses, but some aspects of the job never get easier. Three recent nursing graduates discussed their roles and experiences working amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marable Justin, Roaming Beneath, acrylic screen printSustaining Voices: Third annual WUmester will explore global theme of sustainability

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
If all goes as planned, the conversations and ideas sparked by this year’s WUmester will last well beyond the spring 2021 semester. The third annual event’s theme is sustainability, and faculty and staff have plans to engage students and the community through panel discussions, speakers and events.

Indoor Athletic Facility exteriorA Track and a Field: Indoor Athletic Facility increases options for practice, competition on campus

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
When the ribbon was cut at Washburn with the opening of the new Indoor Athletic Facility, it signaled fruition of many dreams. The football, soccer, track and field, baseball and softball teams will now have places to practice indoors, and Washburn and the city of Topeka will have a new building to host indoor track and field competitions.

Students at multicultural centerAll Are Welcome: Students and staff look forward to the future of a new space and new direction

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
For multicultural students at Washburn, when they don’t see a space for themselves, they create it. Washburn celebrated the opening of the Multicultural Intersectional Learning Space in September. The learning space will be focused on student support, safety, outreach, intersectional learning and leadership to help improve cultural understanding.

Tyler Quintin Finding RestWell-formed Plan: Tyler Quintin, bfa '16, explores cultural themes at ceramics residency in Florida

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
“I am Korean-American with an entirely American upbringing. When someone meets me, they see an Asian person and will have their own assumptions based on appearance.” Just like the artist himself, with Tyler Quintin’s ceramics, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

Will LawrenceSustaining Ties: Working with both sides of the aisle focus for Will Lawrence, ba '10, jd '13

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
Before he started working as chief of staff for Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly in 2018, Will Lawrence didn’t think much about emergency management. Tornadoes and floods are common in the Midwest, but the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the unforeseen challenges of balancing the needs of the economic and business sectors with public health.

Vanessa Dudley MillerHelping Them Grow: Vanessa Dudley-Miller, msw '06, advocating for foster children, trauma survivors

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
Recent research on resiliency showed individuals who have healed from trauma share a common variable: They all have strong relationships and systems of support. In her role as state director of the Kansas Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, Vanessa Dudley-Miller sees the value of strong role models every day.

Rick FlemingVoice for the Public: Rick Fleming, bba '90, advocates for the average investor with the SEC

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
When the financial crisis in 2008 left many concerned Wall Street had a little too much of a say on the rules of investing, Congress went to work. A package of legislation was passed to improve financial regulatory structure. In it – the creation of a role with one thing in mind: to look out for the average investor. Enter Rick Fleming.

Students using the 3D scannerSharper Image: Donated 3D scanner gives students an edge up

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
Washburn recently received a 3D scanner donated from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and with this high-tech equipment, students will be able to obtain real-world experience in the classroom setting, as well as training on equipment that will help them on the job or in graduate school.

Garrett and Caley LoveHolding Water: Professionals in various fields do their part to sustain vital resource

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
Life is impossible without water. But Earth’s most important resource is necessary for much more than just survival. Without it, countless occupational and recreational activities would also cease to exist. Farmers and professors share why they’ve chosen to make the sustainability of water a central focus of their life’s work.

Chris Herron and volleyball team at Hy-VeeSet for Life: Adulting 101 classes provide crash course in everyday skill sets

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
The opportunities to bump and spike may have been limited this season, but when it comes to life lessons college students aren’t typically taught, the volleyball team is now set. The coaches organized a series of Adulting 101 classes that covered practical topics ranging from financial advice and insurance coverage to eating healthy and using good manners.

Carolyn CovingtonRisks and Rewards: Actuarial science program gives students pathway to premium positions

From The Ichabod - Winter 2021
As the only school in Kansas recognized as an advanced undergraduate program by the Society of Actuaries, Washburn holds a distinct advantage in producing actuarial science graduates who are prepared to complete the demanding exam sequence and remain in the industry for the long haul.

James HurdBells Restored: Donation from Dr. James Hurd, ba ’67, for maintenance of bells revives familiar tune

From Bell Tower - Fall 2020
Kuehne Bell Tower may be Washburn’s most iconic structure. The tower sets a visual tone that is secondary only to the audible one that can be heard from every inch of campus. The bells sat silent the past four years, in need of maintenance until Dr. James Hurd chimed in with a donation that will keep them ringing for generations to come.

Becky HeidrickEducation, Faith and Compassion: Values drive scholarship gift in Becky Heidrick’s memory

From Bell Tower - Fall 2020
For Gary Heidrick, bba ’73, meeting his wife, Becky Heidrick, was the highlight of his time as a student at Washburn. The couple got to know each other in 1972, when Gary was a senior majoring in business and accounting and Becky was a freshman. The first time Gary saw Becky at an event, she made quite an impression.

Pat and Jorge NoboAccidental Philosopher: Pat Nobo creates scholarship to honor her late husband Jorge Nobo’s dedication

From Bell Tower - Fall 2020
A seemingly insignificant life choice can sometimes turn into a catalyst for something much bigger. For Jorge Nobo, an elective he took led to a life devoted to philosophy and teaching, and both his wife and a former student memorialized his life with a scholarship and a poem – two fitting creations for someone esteemed by his students and colleagues.

Mike ManningMike Manning, jd '77, H '07, Makes Capstone Gift: Law School building becomes a reality

From Bell Tower - Fall 2020
In honor of his exemplary career, the advocacy suite in the new law school building will be named the Michael C. Manning Advocacy Suite and Michael C. Manning Courtroom. Manning gave the law school $1 million to finalize the building campaign. It is his hope that someday trials will take place in the courtroom and it will be a special place for students to learn and dream about their careers.

Jak KendallEnlightening Work: Fellowship lets students curate Mulvane exhibit, create accompanying piece

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
Stevie Delgado perked up at the opening of the Rita Blitt Gallery and Sculpture Garden in 2017 when she heard a new fellowship would allow a student to work closely with the Rita Blitt Legacy Collection. A year later, Delgado was essentially handed the keys to the gallery – with guidance from staff – as the inaugural recipient of the Irwin Blitt Fellowship.

Inside Out t-shirt that says moving beyond the walls that separate usOutside and Inside: Traditional students and prison inmates learn, share together in new program

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
This spring, traditional Washburn students participated in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, gaining new perspectives on the criminal justice system during a blended class with incarcerated students. The quickest lesson learned was also the most vital: The students inside and outside the prison found out they actually had a lot in common.

Jak KendallMaking the Most: Working toward college degrees in high school gives students early advantage

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
It is not uncommon for students to graduate with a high school diploma, Washburn University Institute of Technology certificate  and Washburn University associate’s degree within a year of each other or sooner. Free and reduced-price tuition give students many advantages along the way when they choose this path.

Kelsey AlfordShe Can Do That: Radiation therapist Kelsey Alford, c '16, battles obstacles to overcome dystonia, doubters

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
Kelsey Alford proved doubters wrong when they said she couldn’t work in a medical field while battling the pain and discomfort caused by dystonia. She found encouraging faculty members in Washburn’s radiation therapy program and now works as a radiation therapist. She competes in Spartan Races in her spare time.

Michael RyanIn His Opinion: Michael Ryan, ba '81, discusses important issues as KC Star editorial writer

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
Michael Ryan offered to help a fraternity brother and contribute a column to the Washburn Review. He quickly learned to type on a manual typewriter and hammered out a column in the style of comedic writer Woody Allen. He's since had a 30-year career in journalism and works as an opinion writer for the Kansas City Star.

Jak KendallSound of Silence: Theatre alumna Kelie McIver, ba '82, remembers overcoming damaged vocal chords

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
“The doctor said you have soft nodules on your vocal chords, and if you don’t let them heal, they can become permanently damaged.” Kelie McIver took that warning seriously. But for the vocalist and theatre major, healing her damaged vocal chords with complete vocal rest was easier said than done. Well, maybe easier written than done.

Jak KendallBig-City Style: Celebrity photo shoot opens avenues for Dawson Hiegert, c '18, and his mane adventure

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
Last year, Dawson Hiegert decided the time had come to go from “hair” to “there” – with the best perk of “there” being moving to New York City to work with some of the nation’s highest profile hair stylists on a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot. Not a bad resume builder for a 19-year old who recently completed the cosmetology program at Washburn Tech.

Jak KendallValuable Assets: Master of accountancy prepares graduates for critical problem-solving roles

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
The Washburn University School of Business master of accountancy program doesn’t just produce number crunchers. The program takes the rules-based knowledge learned in an undergraduate accounting program and furthers it by making the students ask ‘why?’ The resulting degree makes alumni especially valuable to their company or clients.

Jak KendallEverything’s Rosie: Internship leads to role with Dept. of Commerce for recent graduate Rosie Nichols, ba '20

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
Rosie Nichols, ba '20, interviewed for a job this spring at the Kansas Department of Commerce while using the WiFi in a McDonald’s parking lot while visiting her grandmother in Russell, Kansas. She got the job and works as an international development representative.

Kyle HintonNext in Line: In year of long waits, offensive lineman Kyle Hinton, als '20, in final push to play in NFL

From The Ichabod - Fall 2020
From his earliest practices as a freshman on Washburn’s football team, coaches pegged Kyle Hinton as an eventual pro football prospect. The offensive lineman from Peoria, Arizona, with a zero-star rating and little recruiting buzz exceeded the expectations and was drafted this spring by the Minnesota Vikings.

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 Athletics Spotlight - 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 Athletics Spotlight - 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.”

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.”

More stories

The Ichabod Winter 2021 issue

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2021 winter edition online and look for it in mailboxes in January.

View past editions


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