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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 Belltower.

Students at the High School Leadership AcademyHomegrown Leaders: High School Leadership Academy formed after community investment

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Excitement and pride were a common theme when a group of Shawnee County high school students experienced Topeka in a new way as the inaugural class of the Washburn University Leadership Institute’s High School Leadership Academy. A gift from the Topeka Community Foundation - aligning with their youth development initiative - made it happen.

David Overton treats a patient affected by Hurricane HarveyBig Hearts: Alumni in Texas helping with Hurricane Harvey relief

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Two Washburn alumni - David Overton, bsn '06, and Nick Woolery, bpa ’08 - were brought to Texas by their careers and they both found themselves in the heart of Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery. Both of them pulled experiences from Washburn to guide them. Overton volunteered as a nurse and Woolery works in city management in a Texas coastal city.

Alumni at Machu PicchuOne of Seven: Alumni, friends travel to Peru to visit Machu Picchu

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Checking one of the New Seven Wonders of the World off the bucket list was just one excuse for Marti Dittman, bba ’78, to visit Peru this past fall. The Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation traveled with a group of 27 in October to learn more about the culture and history of Peru.

WU Moves participant with a staff memberMaking Strides: Free wellness program helps seniors with exercising, healthy lifestyles

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
For most gym memberships, joining is the easy part. Finding the motivation to come back day after day is where it gets difficult. The opposite is true for WU Moves, a free wellness program at Washburn for low-income individuals. There’s a wait list just to get in, but once someone does, there’s little to no drop-off in attendance or participation.

The Pine Ridge Community Health Center opens in TopekaInnovative Model: School of Nursing focuses on community outreach, education at new clinic

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Faculty in the School of Nursing focus on teaching students the economics of health care and the importance of interprofessional practice. To address this, faculty members and community organizations developed a new clinic that serves the community and provides a place for students to practice what they are learning in the classroom.

Dr. Ryan TomlinsBack in the Game: Partnership with Stormont Vail brings alumnus into the action again

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Dr. Ryan Tomlins, bs ’03, grew up with a passion for sports and a desire to work in sports medicine. Thanks to a new partnership between Washburn University Athletics and Stormont Vail Health, he now has a major role in keeping Washburn student-athletes in top playing shape.

Lori Edwards teachingComing Full Circle: Faculty member, alumna Lori Edwards focuses on giving back to people in need

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Lori Edwards, bsn '88, dnp '17, was put in foster care at nine years old and was adopted when she was 14. She graduated high school and chose Washburn to focus on helping people who need a 'leg up' in life. That eventually led to multiple nursing degrees, and now she's a nursing faculty member and volunteer at the Pine Ridge Family Health Center.

Craig Hulse speaking at Washburn LawIn the Fast Lane: Washburn education led School of Law alumnus to career with Uber

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
Craig Hulse, jd ’15, wanted to attend law school in a capital city where he aspired to rub elbows with lawmakers and get firsthand experience in the legal side of lawmaking. After graduating with Washburn Law, he started a career with a little-known transporation company and is now public affairs manager for Uber Technologies, Inc.

Jacob KlemzPerfect Timing: Sophomore claims All-American honor, MIAA championship in program's second season

From The Ichabod - Winter 2018
In a sport where timing is everything, Washburn University couldn’t have picked a better year to start its cross country program. The formation of the Ichabods’ inaugural team coincided with the 2016 graduation of Hayden High School runner Jacob Klemz. As a result, Washburn is home to an All-American long-distance runner just two years into the program.

Brett Ballard in front of Lee ArenaBuilding Trust: Player buy in, alumni support important to Brett Ballard as he builds program

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Ballard’s career has always had a tie to the state of Kansas. He played two years at the University of Kansas, coached there and at Baker University, and was on the coaching staff of two of Jayhawk great Danny Manning's teams. He'll coach his first game as leader of the Washburn men's basketball team on Nov. 15 against familiar foe Baker.

Linda JeffreyResilient: Linda Jeffrey focuses on faith, community during challenging times

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Linda Jeffrey, ba ’74, jd ’77, has a theory about why she’s been blessed with loving friends, a supportive family and a fulfilling career. “I often say, ‘God loves you, but I’m his favorite.’ What other explanation can there be for the many opportunities to live, laugh, love and give back to my community I’ve been afforded?” Jeffrey said.

Archaeology dig in Meade County, KansasUncovering Kansas: Prehistoric findings on archaeological dig excite students, keep them busy

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Washburn students were halfway through the last day of a 10-day archaeological dig when Daniel Hougland’s trowel scraped against something that wasn’t soil. “I found a feature,” he said to his professor. “I don’t know what it is, just a piece of rock.” “Oh,” she says, as she looks in. “That’s kind of a big deal.”

John McConnellDedicated Mentor: John McConnell inspires passion for science in his Colorado community 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
It wasn’t until his late 20s that John McConnell, bs ’60, recognized his passion for science and the fulfilling work the subject could provide. McConnell has devoted his retirement to sharing his knowledge with children, ensuring they don’t have to wait until their 20s to open the doors that can be unlocked by an education in science.

Scott Curry-Sumner's ship in HollandUnconventional Life: Law graduate, LGBTQ rights activist buys pirate ship in Amsterdam 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Scott Curry-Sumner, jd '97, eventually found his way where he presides today, aboard a pirate ship-turned-houseboat docked on a river in Amsterdam, Holland. Living out a life he never would have predicted, Curry-Sumner is a father, an expatriate and the recent subject of a popular television show.

Dr. Tony WareRewarding Research: Ware devoted to improving length, quality of life through drug research 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
A doctor can save a patient’s life in a heartbeat, or devote hours to pharmaceutical research in hopes of finding a drug that can save thousands of lives. Dr. Tony Ware, bs ’74, has done both, and now he manages a team of researchers at Eli Lilly and Company. In every stage of his career since leaving Washburn – medical school, patient care, directing hospital staffs and research – he’s looked back to Washburn professors who made science come alive once he started on that path.

Allexis Menghini at the NCAA national track and field meetClearing the Bar: Competitive nature, desire to help others drive Menghini 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Menghini was the track and field team’s only female pole vaulter last year, the first year of track and field at Washburn since discontinuing it in the 1980s. She qualified for the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets and she’s looking forward to having some fellow vaulters on this year’s team with a new crop of recruits.

Ichabod Washburn tintypeFamily Ties: Graduates uncover connections to Ichabod Washburn 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
It’s been more than four decades since Carrie (Johnson) Rutherford, ba ’76, graduated from Washburn University, but it was this year she realized the impact Ichabod Washburn had on her life. She and her family where able to trace their family lineage back to Ichabod Washburn, and in the process they learned about the University's founding values.

Students from Topeka in ShanghaiBuilding Community: International Programs coordinates overseas trip for high schoolers 

From The Ichabod - Fall 2017
Helping students realize traveling around the world is a rewarding experience is central to what Washburn’s study abroad program does to help college students. “The earlier someone is exposed to international travel and learning, the more likely they are going to continue to do it,” said Baili Zhang, director, international programs at Washburn.

Corey BallentineAbove Average: Ballentine successful as two-sport athlete, business student

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2017
Junior Corey Ballentine keeps one thing in mind when it comes to both academics and athletics – being better than average. His hard work in the classroom and as a two-sport athlete has paid off. He receives athletic and academic scholarships, and he was honorable mention all-MIAA last year and academic all-MIAA three times.

MinnichFrom Cleats to Scrubs: Minnich Excelling as goalkeeper, nursing student

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2017
Senior goalkeeper Kaitlin Minnich dedicates herself to excellence, whether it is when wearing a soccer uniform at Yager Stadium or scrubs at nursing clinicals. Minnich chose Washburn almost four years ago because she recognized the high quality of both the soccer program and the School of Nursing.

Dean and Pam FerrellBuilding Washburn: Ferrells support growth of athletics, campus programs

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2017
Dean Ferrell, ba ’69, honorary ’10, has been a leader in Washburn University’s growth since his days as quarterback of the Ichabod football team from 1965-68. He and his wife, Pam, bsn ’96, have done their part to ensure Washburn Athletics doesn’t just survive, but it thrives.

Lindsay FryeThe Prepared Nurse: Student reflections on impacts from the 150 Forward campaign

From 150 Forward Focus - Fall 2017
Lindsay Frye graduated from Washburn Tech's practical nursing program in 2017. She reflected on the benefits of the Regional Simulation Center. "I really feel like it helped to put into perspective things that I may come across during my future career," she said. "I have always been a better hands-on learner, and I feel like that prepared me to know how things work in those rooms a little better."

Miyuki NishimuraThe Artist: Student reflections on impacts from the 150 Forward campaign

From 150 Forward Focus - Fall 2017
Miyuiki Nishimura found inspiration in Rita Blitt's artwork that now has a permanent home on campus. She reflected on the work she did in research and collections as a student. "I felt that Washburn and Rita Blitt are in very close relationship and her works even give me a sense of closeness. I believe the new gallery will influence a lot of students as well as the community, and will give us many opportunities to think about the arts," she said.

Michael AbbottThe Rural Lawyer: Student reflections on impacts from the 150 Forward campaign

From 150 Forward Focus - Fall 2017
Michael Abbott participated in the Dane G. Hansen Rural Law Program and the reflected on his experiences in the externship, fully funded by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. "This has been one of the best experiences of law school. I have been able to access a huge quantity of wisdom while discovering northwest Kansas. I know I could not have afforded to move here for the summer if not for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation," he said.

John McGivernWashburn Pride: Mcgivern gives back to program that boosted him

From Athletics Spotlight - Summer 2017
John McGivern, bba ’83, played football at Washburn from 1979-82. Like many during that era, it was the relationships built and lessons learned he takes with him. “We didn’t have as much success on the field, but that didn’t hinder my love of the game or the University,” he said.

John Buckner turns woodCrafting a Legacy: John Buckner still sharing his passions in retirement

From The Ichabod - Spring 2017
Classical music from a dusty Bose stereo usually accompanies John Buckner as he turns wood in his garage. Music and woodworking have been prominent in the life of the retired long-time Washburn music professor, but woodworking has become his favored craft. It’s what he shares with students at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, or at workshops throughout the region.

Tawanna Black posesA Charge for Change: One woman's mission to make a lasting impact

From The Ichabod - Spring 2017
When Tawanna Black, ba ’00, first came to Washburn University, she had no intention of ever going into non-profit public service. Luckily for the organizations and communities she’s served in Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota, the inspiring professors and new perspectives she encountered at Washburn changed her mind and helped her see the value of social service.

Stephanie Davies speaking in front of class

Two Educations: Battling cancer as a student strengthened life's lessons for Stephanie Davies

From The Ichabod - Spring 2017
Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Again. This was the second stage 2 diagnosis that Stephanie Davies, b ed ’16, received. This diagnosis meant a stem cell transplant was imminent. More chemotherapy was necessary. It was the fall of 2013 and she was majoring in education at Washburn University, a path she chose after her first diagnosis.

T.C. BroadnaxBig-League Leadership: Broadnax took over as Dallas city manager in February

From The Ichabod - Spring 2017
City management is where T.C. Broadnax, ba ’91, decided he wanted to make a difference when he was attending Washburn. The former Ichabod basketball player has elevated himself to one of the highest levels in that field. In a Texas-sized move, Broadnax became city manager of Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 1, 2017.

Coach Bob Chipman and familyA Coach for Life: Bob Chipman more than basketball coach to family, friends, players

From The Ichabod - Spring 2017
Bob Chipman’s final season served as a tribute to his 41 years with the men’s basketball program at Washburn University. Among the achievements celebrated and remembered were the 1987 NAIA national championship, the 2001 NCAA Division II runner-up finish, 12 trips to the NCAA tournament, nine to the NAIA tournament and 12 conference championships. He wrapped up the milestones with his 800th win earlier this year.

Betty Casper and Bob ChipmanA Tradition that Stuck: Betty McEnroe Casper's pre-game tradition endures throughout Chipman's career

From Athletics Spotlight - Winter 2016-17
Basketball Coach Bob Chipman needed a way to calm his nerves before a game early in his career. Betty McEnroe Casper’s answer became a ritualistic tradition that sprouted a lifelong friendship between them and their families.

Arlene QuintanaTrue Grit: Ichabod Success Institute honored as "Model of Excellence"

From The Ichabod - Winter 2016-17
Washburn University is one of eight colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2016 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by CASHNet, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus. In Washburn’s case, that innovative approach is the Ichabod Success Institute

NIBS competition winnersWorld Champions: Three entrepreneurs join forces to win international business competition

From The Ichabod - Fall 2016
Kennedy White, bba ’16, Connor England and Mark Feuerborn sat in the School of Business conference room and joined people from all over the world via Skype. The trio was eagerly awaiting the results of the Network of International Business Schools Worldwide Business Plan Competition. They were not only representing Washburn University as one of the three schools in the finals, but they were also representing the United States against schools in Finland and Ireland.

Ashley Sumpter with her daughterMotivated Through Hardships: WWA scholarship fulfills dream of college degree

From Belltower - 2016
Ashley Sumpter, bas ’16, accomplished something she never thought she could: earning a bachelor’s degree. Realizing her dream would not have been possible without the scholarship she received the past two years from the Washburn Women’s Alliance.

Riley KranePutting in the Work: From walk-on to all-conference, Krane thankful for opportunities donors provide

From Athletics Spotlight - Summer 2017
Riley Krane didn’t play high school baseball until his senior year. Playing in college wasn’t something he thought about much, but a chance to walk on at Washburn five years ago turned into a three-time all-conference career and a management degree.

Sarah VicoryHelping Others Succeed: Three-time All-American using fifth year to focus on future

From Athletics Spotlight - Summer 2017
Sarah Vicory found time to focus on two career paths at Washburn when she wasn’t playing volleyball. The senior from Topeka coached club volleyball teams and worked part time as a physical therapy assistant. She’ll spend next year deciding which of those paths is right for her after she graduates.

Brady SkeensSupport and Guidance: Encouraging parents, athletics scholarships setting Skeens up for career in business

From Athletics Spotlight - Winter 2016-17
Brady Skeens is using his basketball skills, important lessons from his parents and help from scholarships to earn his degree in business administration and move on in the field. Along the way, he's having a successful basketball career.

Magazine cover

The Ichabod tells our story with features on alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends, along with the latest campus news. Read the 2017-18 winter edition online and look for the 2018 spring edition by May.

View past editions


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Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483