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Our Stories

Alumni, donors, students, faculty and staff

Read the latest feature stories from people who are making a difference for Washburn. Many of these articles appear in our publications like The Ichabod and Bell Tower.

Sheila KjellbergLife Spark: Welding education gives Sheila Kjellberg, certificate '17, foundation for career, leadership

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
“I was at a point where I needed to make more money,” Sheila Kjellberg said. “I started looking at programs, and I thought I’d always wanted to learn to weld. I looked at the job placement rate and realized I could make a decent living and have a skill that nobody can take away from me. So, I moved to Topeka and decided I would become a welder.”

Barry FeakerOn a Mission: Barry Feaker, ba '80, h '13, tackles challenges leading homeless shelter

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Barry Feaker walked into his first day on the job as director of the Topeka Rescue Mission. About 2 p.m., he got his first phone call. The caller said a drunk man with his pants around his ankles was walking toward the mission, and Feaker needed to take care of it. Soon after, he learned an important lesson that still guides him today.

Dancing Blues Coach Angie Price and her familyStepping Up: Angie Price, aa ’88, aa ’89, b music ’89, coaching Dancing Blues to recent success

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Angie Price sat at the top of the arena at a national dance competition and listened to the results. The coach was optimistic but still ready to console the Dancing Blues after another year of disappointment. Instead, she got to celebrate with them as they won their first national championship in 2013. They have now won championships in five seasons.

Brett Durbin in a trash mountain communityTrash Mountain: Brett Durbin, bs '03, mcj '05, works internationally to defeat extreme poverty

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Brett Durbin and his wife felt a call to serve others after graduating. A friend introduced him to the concept of a trash dump community – a group of people who live on and dig through landfills in search of food or items to sell. Durbin knew he needed to travel to Honduras to see the situation for himself. Soon after, they created the Trash Mountain Project.

Richetta Manager, ba '75, is a world-renowned singer who performed at White Concert Hall as a Washburn studentBeautiful Music: White Concert Hall celebrates 50 years of providing students, community amazing venue

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Opera singer Richetta Manager, ba ’75, has performed in concert halls around the world – Cologne Opera in Germany, Royal Festival Hall in London, Vienna Concert Hall in Austria. But she still counts White Concert Hall among her favorite venues. The building turned 50 years old this school year and is still part of the cultural hub for the arts in the community.

Linda Dishman celebrates with studentsHead of the Class: Lifelong learner Linda Dishman, b ed '12, receives Milken Educator Award

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Linda Dishman received the surprise of a lifetime last fall when she won a Milken Educator Award at a school assembly. The fifth-grade teacher at Berryton Elementary in Topeka, Kansas, was the nation’s first 2018-19 recipient of the national recognition, which comes with a $25,000 cash prize.

Stephen Jeffery on the Tahoe Rim Trail before his 80th birthdayUphill Battle: Stephen Jeffery, ba '63, completes Tahoe Rim Trail before 80th birthday

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
While sitting on a beach with his family in Hawaii, Stephen Jeffery decided his next destination would be Lake Tahoe. As his milestone 80th birthday approached, Jeffery set a goal not just to walk the lake’s shores, but to hike the perimeter. All of it – and from a high enough elevation that wildfire smoke billowing below would sometimes block his lake view.

Washburn women's tennis with the 2019 MIAA trophyUnbeatable: Ichabods win first MIAA tennis title since 2012 with undefeated conference season

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
“I knew we had a lot of talent,” Coach Lance Lysaught said. “But we were going into the MIAA season with teams in the top 10 and top 20. It’s loaded." A strong lineup helped the Ichabods go undefeated in the MIAA and win their first title since 2012 and the first of Lysaught's career. “All the sudden it sneaks up on you and you get one. So, it’s pretty cool.”

Dale AndersonCareer Ichabods: Faculty and staff remain connected after decades-long careers

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
The tornado of 1966 destroyed a large portion of Washburn University, ushering in physical changes that are still seen today and will be around for a long time. Perhaps more longstanding, though, are the effects faculty and staff at the time had on campus and still have as engaged retirees.

Eric Showalter stands next to a Recycled Rides car that was later donatedGiving a Lift: Washburn Tech's Recycled Rides drives an impact that goes on for miles

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
If you’ve never had to worry about where your next ride will come from, it can be easy to take transportation for granted. For many, however, getting a lift can mean the difference between getting a paycheck or going hungry. The Recycled Rides program is making a difference by repairing donated vehicles to give reliable transportation to someone in need.

Monica ScheibmeirGrateful Service: Scheibmeir retiring after 10 years of thoughtful, passionate leadership

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
One word comes to mind when Monica Scheibmeir, dean, Washburn University School of Nursing, thinks about retirement. Grateful. With a nod to supportive alumni, co-workers and the leaders who came before her, Scheibmeir will step down this summer after 10 years leading the School of Nursing.

Clark CocoDignified Work: Coco retiring after career of educating, empowering students

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
After a career of transforming students, Clark Coco will retire this summer after seven years as dean of Washburn University Institute of Technology. Meeting workforce needs, he’s partnered with industry and community leaders to create five national training centers, Washburn Tech East and new career programs.

The Washburn College BibleWashburn College Bible: Work by Bradbury Thompson, b '34, h '65, still source of pride for alumni 40 years later

From The Ichabod - Spring 2019
Award-winning graphic artist Bradbury Thompson put his mark on one of history’s first printed works with his own design of the Bible in 1979. Forty years later, it is still an important part of Washburn University’s story. Unique because of its typography and striking artwork, the work was well reviewed by national publications.

Kyle HintonBreaking Things: Two-sport star Kyle Hinton is breaking records and a little more

From Athletics Spotlight - Spring 2019
Kyle Hinton can’t wait to get outside for track and field this year. Neither can the Washburn University maintenance staff. Hinton broke wooden boards surrounding the weight throw practice area in Lee Arena not once, but twice this season. The extra force paid off as he finished ninth at the NCAA indoor championship to earn an All-America award.

Hunter BentleyFull-court Experience: Hunter Bentley takes leading role on court while expanding her education overseas

From Athletics Spotlight - Spring 2019
After two years of knowing her team and studying other teams, Hunter Bentley will spend 20 days this summer studying the political makeup of Japan with other political science students from Washburn University. The sophomore guard has dreams to work internationally, and this trip will show her a new perspective.

Mark CowellFrom the Pulpit to the Courtroom: Mark Cowell, jd '94, serves Western Kansas as bishop and attorney

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter - Winter 2018-19
In times of greatest need, individuals often seek either a priest or an attorney. Mark Cowell serves as both from his home in Larned, Kansas. While he has been an attorney for 25 years, he has also been an Episcopalian priest for about 15 years, and in December, he was consecrated as bishop of the Diocese of Western Kansas.

Iasha ChaudryExciting & Demanding: Intellectual property law connects Iasha Chaudhry, jd '14 to science background

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter - Winter 2018-19
Intellectual property law has allowed Iasha Chaudhry to marry her interests in legal, technical and business issues, including her related experience working in a molecular biology and genetics lab. Before coming to Washburn Law, she earned a degree in cell biology and genetics.

Burke Griggs teaching with live ducksWater Laws: A passion for natural resources law flows through Associate Prof. Burke Griggs

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter -  Fall 2018
Burke Griggs' involved teaching style includes field trips and even bringing ducks into the classroom to physically show how people put water to beneficial use. The Washburn Law associate professor has been interested in the rural west, public lands and water quality since growing up in Denver.

Spigarelli family, Kala, Fred and AngelaFamily Practice: Spigarelli sisters follow father's footsteps at family law firm

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2018
Fred Spigarelli, jd ’70, started a solo practice in Pittsburg, Kansas, right after graduating. Through the years, several other lawyers have worked with him, and now it’s his two daughters, Kala Spigarelli, jd '90, and Angela Spigarelli, jd '98, who are practicing beside him at The Spigarelli Law Firm.

Bob Dole statueService to All: Bob Dole, ba '52, jd '52, h '69, h '85, displays humility, humor, tears as statue unveiled

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
A bronze statue of Sen. Bob Dole was unveiled Sept. 28, 2018, in front of more than 250 people who applauded his statesmanship and valor throughout his military and congressional career. Dole served the state of Kansas in congress for 35 years and was the Republican nominee for president in 1996.

2018 volleyball teamA Wish Come True: NCAA Championships Festival builds winners on and off court

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
The Ichabods won the NCAA Division II Central Region volleyball championship and advanced to the NCAA Championships Festival where they met 3-year-old Madison through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The experience was a life-changer for all involved, and two freshmen are excited about what the future will bring for the team.

Mallory LutzHigh School Ichabods: Concurrent enrollment lets high schoolers take college courses at half price

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
Mallory Lutz, ba '18, graduated from Washburn in three years after taking advantage of CEP classes in high school. Students taking at least one CEP course through Washburn increased 53 percent in the last six years, and many students are able to take advantage of the program like Lutz did.

France HoangApplied Service: Lessons from online learning still important to France Hoang, mcl '00

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
France Hoang, mcj ’00, has served deployments in Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia. He was stationed at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas when he earned his Washburn degree. At the time, he was pleased with how many lessons from class could be applied instantaneously. Even more important is how many remain with him today.

Jay Hurst at the zooGiraffe Chatter: Alumni team up to bring new digital content to KTWU, Topeka Zoo

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
People all over the world watched the live births of giraffes Konza and Elizabeth on a YouTube channel built by a partnership between KTWU and the Topeka zoo. The channel has produced more than 5 million total video views. Both organizations are excited about the awareness the exposure can bring.

Aaron MartinComposition Layers: Aaron Martin, b music '05, ba '05, communicates emotion in any context with music

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
Aaron Martin's global approach to writing music produces a unique sound that can bring out emotions in any context; like a banjo conveying the feelings movie watchers experience as a Hasidic Jewish widower struggles with raising his son. He did just that when he co-wrote the score to 2017 film Menashe.

Alicia MowderFor the Love of Food: Alicia Mowder, ba '08, shapes food world with new products, branding

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
Alicia Mowder lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the senior director of marketing for Circle K, the largest convenience store company in the world. She previously worked as senior brand director at Sonic Drive-In where she was responsible for promotions such as boneless wings, the $5 Boom Box, and the Sonic Slinger.

Darrell RodenbaughStaging a Comeback: Washburn lessons help Darrell Rodenbaugh, bba '86, grow Texas theater

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
When Darrell Rodenbaugh started volunteering with North Texas Performing Arts, the children’s theater organization was in serious financial trouble and appeared months away from closing. Since then, he's used skills learned in Greek life and student government - skills that launched a successful tech career - to grow the theater.

Marti GravesKeep Going: Marti Graves, ba '85, proves learning is a life-long adventure

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
Marti (Newell) Graves has always had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. So much so, that during the 23-year period from 1962 to 1985, she was almost always a student at Washburn University. Work and family life played a role in the lengthy enrollment, but Graves always found a way to take classes.

Patty DickFrom the Ground Up: Women’s sports at Washburn celebrate 50 years

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
Former basketball coach Patty Dick wants current athletes to reflect on how far collegiate women’s sports has progressed since beginning more than 50 years ago. “I’m so proud of the women they have become,” Dick said of her former student-athletes. “It was worth all of the battles.”

Two IchadogsFetching Fans: IchaDogs show passion for Washburn with social media support

From The Ichabod - Winter 2019
A new breed of Washburn sports fans has emerged on social media in the form of IchaDogs, a group of dedicated pups who enjoy pulling for the blue and white just as much as their owners. Of course, IchaDogs are up to date on their meds, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go viral.

John AdamsDrafting a Legacy: John Adams, h '08, leaves estate gift funding art travel and scholarships

From Bell Tower - 2018
When John Adams passed away, he left behind more than just a collection of art. Adams made the Washburn University art department an everlasting part of his legacy with gifts in his estate for art scholarships and art student travel. Including his estate gift, Adams’ contributions to Washburn have exceeded $1 million.

Math classSolving the Math Problem: Donors draw on own experience, know the importance of math education

From Bell Tower - 2018
Nationwide, students are struggling with college math requirements as it is often the main academic hurdle to obtaining a college degree. As Washburn University has worked to solve the problem, donors have played an integral role. Starting in fall 2019, students who struggle with math will get individualized study plans to build the skills necessary for success.

Linda GravesBuilding a Strong Platform: Graves believes new law building will meet technological demands

From Bell Tower - 2018
When Linda Graves entered law school in 1975, she termed herself a reluctant attendee. She had not grown up wanting to be a lawyer, but her father, Ronald Richey, ba ’49, jd ’51, h ’89, pointed her in that direction. She hopes the new building will be the 21st century state-of-the-art facility it needs to be for the future of legal education.

Leadership students and the AleshiresValuing Leadership: Aleshires invest in teachable leadership moments

From Bell Tower - 2018
Giving away money is easy, but giving it away in a responsible manner is not. One of the many lessons in leadership Joe and Janet Aleshire hope to teach students in Washburn University’s Leadership Institute is that allocating funds to competing, yet worthwhile causes, is not an easy endeavor.

Representatives from Capital Federal SavingsInvesting in the Future: Major gift from the Capitol Federal Foundation will help build athletics facility

From Bell Tower - 2018
The Capitol Federal Foundation donated $1 million for the Indoor Athletics Facility at Washburn University. The new facility will boast an indoor practice football field, a 200-meter banked track and room for teams to practice. The banked track will allow Washburn to host regional and national meets as there is a high demand for that type of track.

Lee and Ann Marie SnookIn Perfect Harmony: Snooks retire after 28 years on music faculty

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Fondly referred to by students as “Dr. Mrs.” and “Dr. Mr.,” Ann Marie and Lee Snook made a huge impact on both the Washburn University music department and its students. The two recently retired after Ann Marie suffered a massive stroke on Aug. 8, 2017. Calling Washburn home for the past 28 years, making the decision to retire was a tough one.

The indoor golf practice facilityDriving Success: Beckler thankful for opportunities golf facility giving team

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2018
Junior golfer Andrew Beckler thinks the new indoor golf facility will give his team an advantage as they practice during the winter months. They won three of their five fall tournaments and will return to action in March. Thanks to donors, the new building will allow them to hit and analyze their swing with video and computer technology.

BlasJim Remart from the Past: Jim Remar, ba '95, leads preservation of moon landing control consoles

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
While Neil Armstrong was making his famous “giant leap” on the surface of the moon in 1969, a team of experts sat at Mission Control in Houston guiding the Apollo 11 crew. NASA is having Mission Control and its contents restored, and they chose the Cosmosphere museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, to restore the control consoles.

Janet Thompson Jackson in the NetherlandsTeaching Overseas: Conducting classes from the Netherlands, Jackson providing Washburn Law students valuable experience

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2018
Professor Janet Thompson Jackson is teaching Washburn students while she and her family reside in the Netherlands for a year. The telecommunications experience will benefit her students in their future legal careers.

Dr. Aaron DoonanCareer Path: Alumnus giving back after hard work, scholarships advance journey to become doctor

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2018
Dr. Aaron Doonan worked his first year at Washburn to turn an $800 scholarship into a full-ride the following year. Doonan worked his way through undergrad, excelling in academics and athletics. The determination and experience gained on the football team paid off, and he's now a cardiologist who's giving back to Washburn. 

Bonnie McKee Crume poses on a Boston streetTuning it Out: Bonnie McKee Crume, bs '14, seeing success at every step to becoming doctor in spite of hearing loss

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Bonnie McKee Crume has seen success at every step of her journey from small-town Kansas to college at Washburn, medical school in Kansas City and now residency in Boston. What often goes unnoticed about her is that she was born with hearing loss.

Darian Abram, Alyssa Carney and Brady Skeens poseBalancing Act: Three Ichabods, four sports and six Academic All-America awards

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Softball and volleyball player Alyssa Carney, ba ’18, baseball player Darian Abram, and basketball player Brady Skeens, bba ’18, earned Academic All-America last year after balancing academics and sports. Darian will graduate this December and all three have their eyes set on careers.

Carla PrattDrawn to Washburn: New law dean focuses career on inclusion, civil rights  

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Carla Pratt was drawn to Washburn by its civil rights history from its founding in 1865. When she learned of Washburn’s history as the law school that educated the lawyers who represented the Brown family and the State of Kansas in Brown v. Board of Education, she was drawn even more. She became dean of Washburn University School of Law on July 1.

Trey CockingCivic Pride: Trey Cocking, bs '02, sees drive for improved communities wherever he travels

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
From cafes known for their cookies or blueberry pie to downtown revitalization or art, Trey Cocking enjoys when people show off their community. Cocking is deputy director of the League of Kansas Municipalities. He went to Thailand this spring to compare their forms of government to ones used in the United States.

More stories

The Ichabod magazine spring 2019

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2018-19 spring edition online and look for it in mailboxes in May.

View past editions


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Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483