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Alumnus giving back after hard work, scholarships advance journey to become doctor

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2018

Aaron DoonanThe high school senior was just offered an $800 scholarship to come to play football at Washburn. With a shrug from his father indicating he could take it or leave it, he decided to take it.

“It was probably the best decision I ever made,” said Dr. Aaron Doonan, bs ’00, who started at Washburn in 1995. “I came out and proved myself and ended up on full scholarship.”

As a biology student earning recognition for his work in the classroom and as a defensive tackle, he received athletic and academic scholarships. He was very grateful for the support.

“I remember writing letters to the donors who were making it feasible for me to go to school and play sports,” he said. “That was a very generous thing for me to be a part of.”

Doonan went to medical school and now practices as a cardiologist for HCA Midwest Health in the Kansas City area. He knew he wanted to be a doctor after his dad posed the opportunity as a child.

“We were supposed to come up with potential career paths in middle school,” Doonan said. “My family business was in trucking, so I was putting down things I had been exposed to. While I probably would have been happy doing those things, my dad said to me one day, ‘What do you think about being a doctor?’”

The idea appealed to him and he was able to get through pre-med requirements at Washburn while excelling at football.

“Balancing academics and athletics are always a challenge,” he said. “Fortunately, I was able to go to practice and then spend most of the evenings working on my school work.”

His senior year he won a cash award from Burger King he could apply toward a Washburn scholarship in his name.

“I’ve donated to it every year since, just trying to build it up and provide the opportunity to student-athletes I had when I was there,” he said. “That was always the goal for me, and the seed money jump started it.”

Doonan also gave to Washburn this year with a gift to the Indoor Athletics Facility. The state-of-the-art building will increase opportunities for student-athletes and the community.

“When I was approached about donating to the project, it was sort of a way for me to permanently be a part of it,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to help our student-athletes and our school compete, not only in our conference but nationally. The commitment from the community and from the school is obvious. I just felt like it was important for me to be a part of it.”

As a football alumnus, he was there at the beginning of the resurgence seen now. His 1999 team produced the program’s first winning season since 1988.

“We’ve turned the corner to where the alumni and the students expect us to do well in the conference, and we look forward to supporting them all the way to the national championship someday,” he said.

The band at a football game

Do you want to give back after your experience at Washburn? Do you want to honor a family member, friend, coach or classmate with a scholarship in their name? You can support the Ichabod Athletic Fund with a gift online or contact Bruce Steinbrock by email or at 785.670.1334 to learn about other funding opportunities like an endowed scholarship or estate gift that will change student-athletes' lives for generations to come.

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483
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