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Above and Beyond

Four generations strong, Wiecherts still amazed by Washburn experience

The Wiechart Family

From The Ichabod  - Fall 2019

Stan Wiechert wasn’t expecting much of a welcome the first time he visited Washburn University.

The University of Cincinnati transfer moved to Topeka sight unseen. The next day, his future wife, Maxine Wiechert, did the same. Two days later, the 1966 tornado destroyed much of Washburn’s campus.

So, when Stan made his first trip to the University just two weeks after the storm passed, he questioned whether an appointment would even be possible. But the reception he got made it immediately clear Washburn is where he would enroll. The head of admissions told Stan they could talk right then and there. At least, once there was a place to sit.

“They had a couch,” Stan said. “There was still dust and bits of mortar from the rock, and so he got a hand brush, I kid you not, and swept it up so I could sit down.”

Since that day, 11 family members, spread across four generations, have enrolled at Washburn. Stan, ba ’68, was the first, followed shortly by his father, Stan Sr., who took courses while stationed in the Air Force. Maxine, m ed ’78, eventually became an Ichabod as well, working on a master’s degree after marrying Stan Jr. and having a pair of daughters, Lisa Hockenberry, bba ’93, and Julie Anderson, ba ’96.

Washburn roots continue to grow thanks to Hockenberry’s four daughters, including Angela Huffman, ba ’18, who met her now-husband, Trevor, ba ’18, in a history class. Even the Huffmans, who preferred sitting in the back rows, still felt a connection with faculty. Trevor recalled the efforts of his advisor, Tracy Routsong, assistant dean and professor, College of Arts and Sciences, and professor, communication studies.

“I was shy, and she got me to open up,” he said. “From that point on, my academic career changed because she was right behind me the whole way.”

Washburn’s willingness to go above and beyond remains evident in 2019. After putting his education on hold as an undergraduate, Julie’s husband, Marc Anderson, als ’19, was inspired to resume his pursuit of a degree while watching his niece, Angela’s, graduation ceremony.

Marc met with an advisor, Linsey Moddelmog, ba ’02, assistant professor, political science, who kick-started a weeks-long dive into Marc’s academic records, and after an agonizing wait, it was determined his previous coursework qualified him for a degree, 23 years to the day after his wife graduated.

“Tears were streaming down my face,” Marc said. “Fifteen years since I had taken a class, and I didn’t have to take any other classes. This was really emotional for me, in a good way.”

The symmetry between the accommodating welcome Stan received 53 years ago and what his son-in-law experienced this May shows why families keep coming back to Washburn and will so for generations to come.

The Ichabod magazine spring 2021

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

View past editions


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