Photo page header


Henderson Hall

In 1971, Washburn University officially opened the doors of its new premier academic building: the Henderson Learning Resources Center. Constructed in the wake of the 1966 tornado, Henderson was built to last: a solid stone structure dug into a hillside. It was, at the time, designed to make it state-of-the-art to the day’s leading education pedagogies and technology. It prominently featured rooms with stadium seating to accommodate lectures of 150+ students, and the entire core of the building was created with rear projection in mind: giant coated glass plates at the front of classrooms, with large dark rooms behind them given over to housing projectors and related slide carousels, film reels, lighting lamps and cooling fans.

Henderson has lasted, a cornerstone academic building through which nearly every Washburn student of the last 50 years has passed at one point or another. Its 140,000 square feet dedicated entirely to instruction makes it the most significant academic building on campus, with over 25% of all available classrooms at Washburn. It is the sole home to the Washburn University School of Business, houses nearly all the College of Arts and Sciences’ social science departments, handles a large portion of the School of Nursing undergraduate classes and is home to the university’s media labs and the university Honors Program. It is one of the most heavily utilized spaces on campus, a nexus of academic life at Washburn. However, while Henderson had minor renovations in 2007 and 2019, a core problem remains: it was built for an era of teaching and learning that no longer exists, and its heavy utilization often seems to occur in spite of, not because of, the building itself.

The Opportunity

Washburn has analyzed the space needs of today’s learning environment and has confirmed the continued importance of the Henderson Learning Resources Center in delivering educational experiences to a broad cross-section of students. The university also recognized the vital need to renovate and overhaul this linchpin building to bring it in-line with the forward-looking needs of contemporary students and instructors.

We are excited the Washburn University board of regents has approved plans for what may be the most consequential single renovation in Washburn’s history: a major overhaul of Henderson Learning Resources Center to make it the academic nexus of campus that we need, and that our students and faculty deserve.

A project of this size and impact will not be easy. With a projected budget of $35 million to achieve everything the university and our students need without compromise, Washburn alumni, friends and supporters will have to help us raise $15 million. This will be the largest fundraising effort in Washburn history, but the rewards to Washburn students for generations to come are immeasurable. This renovation will fundamentally change the academic life of Washburn University, bringing it not only into the present but beyond, looking forward to the future of education and how our campus supports the active learning, excellence in instruction and innovative programs for which we are known, and which we always aspire toward.

Renovating Henderson will directly and significantly impact the academic success of every Ichabod, allowing them to truly get the most out of their academic lives and realize their full potential.

The Vision

Washburn is now engaged in a formal design process to define the full scope and particulars of the Henderson renovation, but has already identified that updating the building to provide the best learning experience for students will include:

  • Expanding space and giving the entire building a functional overhaul to reflect the needs, usage requirements and opportunities of today.
  • Creating flexible, adaptable learning spaces with the opportunity for active learning and the ability to evolve.
  • Updating technology and classroom configurations to provide excellent teaching and learning spaces while reclaiming square footage underutilized by anachronistic design.
  • Adding modern collaborative areas for students as well as lounges, study carrells and amenities to reflect the building’s place as a center of traffic for academic student life.
  • Fully modernizing the building’s architecture and infrastructure to support the leading-edge research labs, workshops and media and computer labs that call Henderson home.
  • Making Henderson more accessible and accommodating to students, faculty, staff and visitors with disabilities or alternative mobility needs.
  • Refining faculty, staff and departmental areas to embrace the modern work environment and Henderson’s place as home to many of Washburn’s highest-achieving and busiest programs.
  • Being conscious of the building’s role in hosting speaker engagements, general faculty meetings, student organizations, departmental groups, recruiting visits, community engagements and more – create a building that reflects well on Washburn, empowers our students and faculty and facilitates the full spectrum of activities a building as pivotal as Henderson must support.

If you would like more information on how to support the the Henderson building campaign, contact us at 785.670.4483 or

Henderson Hall exterior

A lead gift from Advisors Excel Co-Founders David Callanan and Cody Foster brings Henderson fundraising to more than $10 million of the $15 million goal for the project (read more)


Programs housed, or with a significant presence, in Henderson:

•  School of Business
    All degree programs
    Technology Center
    Dean and school administration offices
    Boardroom / meeting spaces
    Topeka Business Hall of Fame
•  College of Arts and Sciences
    Mass Media
    Political Science & Public Administration
    Sociology & Anthropology
•  Academic Affairs
   Washburn University Honors Program
    Instructional Services
    Online Education
    Information Technology Services computer 
       and media labs
•  School of Nursing
    Main classrooms for large undergraduate courses
•  School of Applied Studies
    Criminal Justice - Simulation Lab


Please enter your username and password below. If you do not have a username and password, click "New user registration" to register.

New user registration
Forgotten password

1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483