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Connecting a Legacy

Volunteer work inspires couple to plan for future

Jim and Kathy Maag

From Bell Tower - Fall 2019

When Jim and Kathy Maag both thought about attending college, they chose Washburn University out of economic necessity.

“It was our only real opportunity for a quality education, because we both came from families with limited resources,” said Jim, H’04, ba ’61. “We had a great university right on our doorstep.”

Both benefited from scholarships and became involved in Greek Life on campus – he as an Alpha Delta and her as an Alpha Phi – and said those associations started their participation in the community and relayed to them the importance of giving back.

“We had a lot of great role models that we have seen do great things in the community, and we wanted to follow in their footsteps,” said Kathy, bba ’64.

Jim served in a number of political positions including state representative and assistant secretary of state. During his legislative career, he served as assistant majority leader and speaker pro tem of the Kansas House of Representatives. He was employed by the Kansas Bankers Association from 1980 – 2004, and he served on the Washburn University board of regents, as president of the alumni board of directors and as an endowment trustee for almost 40 years.

Over the years, Kathy has served in leadership positions for the Ichabod Club, the Alumni Association and the Washburn Women’s Alliance. She was an assistant to Kansas’ First Lady Olivia Bennett from 1977-79 and an administrative assistant to the chairman of the ways and means committee of the Kansas Legislature from 1979-80. In 2001, she became the general manager of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra.

As alumni, they have served the University extensively whether it was by fundraising for the Ichabod Club to benefit Washburn Athletics or working to make sure the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center was built. More recently, helping with the new tennis complex has been a source of pride for them as Jim played on the tennis team while a student.

“It was fun to be able to see the impact you were having, and it made you work harder,” said Jim.

It’s because of this reason they have chosen to give back through a planned gift to support three scholarships for the School of Business, music department and tennis team.

“The whole concept of estate giving that people should really consider is that it gives the University an extra leg up for future planning,” Jim said. “If people feel like they cannot make a gift now, having an estate gift is an important way to help the university.”

Kathy said the scholarships will extend beyond Washburn and into the Topeka community, helping everything they have done come full circle. “Giving money for scholarships may encourage students to come to Washburn. Those students may stay in Topeka, so it’s not just a benefit for Washburn, but it transcends to the larger community.”

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