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Honoring those who served

Washburn announces new veterans memorial and fundraising challenge

War memorial rendering


President Jerry Farley has announced that Washburn University will build a new veterans memorial on campus, and that he and his wife, Susan, are personally making a lead gift of $50,000 to match donations toward the project.

Farley, who was himself a drill sergeant and drill sergeant instructor in the U.S. Army, has made this project a personal priority and is asking alumni and friends of Washburn to join him in realizing the vision of an expanded and updated new veterans memorial.

“Washburn has a long history of both military service and honoring those who served,” Farley said. “We are so proud of our veteran-alumni. So when the subject of updating our veterans memorial came up, Susan and I wanted to make our personal contribution to ensuring they have a site and a memorial commensurate with their sacrifice.”

The new veterans memorial will replace and expand upon an existing monument in the heart of campus near Morgan Hall, at the southwest corner of 18th Street and College Avenue. The existing plaque on that site, which is more than 30-years-old and has weathered considerably, will be honorably retired to Topeka Cemetery, and a new plaza and array of monuments will take its place, serving as a central site on campus for remembrance and memorializing the military contributions of Washburn students in all of America’s foreign wars.

This new memorial will center around a sculpted bronze fallen soldier sculpture telling the story of Washburn University’s military veterans, and a seven-foot-tall standing black granite stone bearing all 47 names of those who served and died in Vietnam. The Vietnam memorial will be joined by seven additional standing stones arranged around the perimeter to commemorate each of the U.S. military’s six branches of service plus one additional in recognition of the many nurses who also served in war. The site will be anchored with three flagpoles flying the American, Kansas, and POW/MIA flags, and the open-air nature of the plaza will make it a natural focal point on campus for veteran and memorial activities.

Chris Bowers, military transitions coordinator at Washburn University, serves as the university’s liaison to the Veterans Memorial Replacement Committee, an ad hoc group of veteran alumni who had organized to decide how to repair or replace the existing stone memorial. He is confident the Washburn community will step up for this project.

“Washburn’s veteran community is incredibly strong, and we have a great campus culture and history of honoring military service and sacrifice,” Bowers said. “There has been a broad push to refurbish this site to give our campus a centerpiece commemorating all of Washburn’s veterans, with the visibility, solemnity and pride they deserve.”

Washburn University has a reputation for being a steadfastly veteran- and military-friendly campus. It was the first school in Kansas to earn the designation of Purple Heart University in recognition of its continued service to veterans and members of the military, and regularly receives the highest possible Military Friendly® status for its commitment, effort and success in creating opportunity for the military community. It frequently serves as a popular site in Topeka for Veteran’s Day and other memorial celebrations.

More information about the proposed new veterans memorial, and how people can make a gift, can be found at

Jerry Farley

President Jerry Farley has announced that he and his wife, Susan, are personally making a lead gift of $50,000 to match donations toward the veterans memorial project. Read more about the project and make a donation today.

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483