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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.

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.

A rendering of Washburn Tech EastBuilt from a Need: Washburn Tech East connects East Topeka with county's workforce gap

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Providing more education opportunities in East Topeka has long been a dream. In 2019, that dream becomes reality when Washburn Tech East opens its doors and begins hosting students. President Jerry Farley became acutely aware of the need when serving as co-chair of Heartland Visioning. The East Topeka community, he said, has often felt forgotten.

Myron Frans giving a speechAll Due Respect: Myron Frans, bs '72, balances budgets and opinions with confidence

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Myron Frans is commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget where he’s worked with the governor to balance the state budget and create a surplus. Frans built a foundation of trust and respect as a criminal justice student at Washburn where he learned people will respond to respect and positivity in kind.

Casyn Buchman playing tennisNew Zeal for Life: Casyn Buchman, ba '15, transplants herself into overseas coaching role

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
Not long ago, Casyn Buchman, ba ’15, had her share of concerns. Her oldest sister, Chancey Buchman, needed both of her lungs replaced, and Casyn needed to find a job. Both dilemmas were resolved by perfectly timed transplants that left the former Washburn two-sport star with fewer worries than ever. 

Dan Smith coachingCoaching is Teaching: From inner city to overseas, Dan Smith, ba '99, teaches and coaches success

From The Ichabod - Fall 2018
As Dan Smith’s former students will tell you, there are run-of-the-mill instructors, and there’s Coach Smith. Smith teaches biology and coaches football to military-connected high school students in Germany. He’s been a strong influence on these students and ones he taught and coached in inner-city Florida.

Doreen and Michael ManningManaging Success: Law school shifted career outlook for Michael Manning, jd '77, honorary '07, now he's giving back to building campaign 

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018
Looking back, Michael Manning is glad he lost his bid for Kansas secretary of state as a 23-year-old in 1972. As a consolation, Gov. Robert Docking offered Manning a job on his staff.

Gordon and Margaret LowryFamily Legacy: Lowry siblings make gifts in memory of their father, Gordon Lowry, ba '41, jd '46 

From School of Law Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2018
Washburn University was a big part of the life and career of Gordon Lowry, ba ’41, jd ’46, and he knew he wanted it to be a part of his legacy. His five children made sure it was with gifts in his memory to the School of Law building campaign.

Jaena and Greg GreenwoodProviding Better Experiences: Greg, bba '88, and Jaena, ba '89, Greenwood support new facility for future Ichabods

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018
Greg Greenwood started at Washburn before the baseball team had its own field on campus. Now he and his wife, Jaena, are proud to support the Indoor Athletics Facility, giving future Ichabods facilities he and his teammates could only dream of.

The  bell towerIncreasing Opportunities: Kansas Heritage Foundation provides aid for business students 

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018
The Kansas Heritage Foundation recently made two gifts to the Washburn University School of Business with hopes to increase students’ exposure to business education.

Richard and Rita PetroInspired to Give Back: Petros make gift to nursing, indoor athletics facility

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018
A recent hospital stay inspired Richard and Rita Petro to create a nursing scholarship in their name. They also gave to the Indoor Athletics Facility, something they see as a great addition to the Athletic Department's facilities which include the Petro Allied Health Center, the building that bears Richard's family name.

Miller and Veronica CampbellSupporting Future Nurses: Campbell and Skoch families choose nursing education after St. Francis Foundation closes 

From Foundation Focus - Summer 2018
With the closing of the St. Francis Foundation, funds from the Campell and Skoch family gifts are moved to Washburn to provide scholarships for nursing students. Supporting education honored the donors' wishes, according to family members.

Candace AlcarazA Force to be Reckoned With: Young alumni like Candice Alcaraz, jd '16, gain confidence from strong legal education 

From The Lawyer- Summer 2018
Candice Alcaraz had an impressive tally of real-world experiences on her record, a fact that supplied her with an upper hand when she threw in her hat for a job as a Wyandotte County prosecution attorney and was awarded her first job out of law school.

Lynn McCrearyRelationship Building: Lynn McCreary, jd '94, works to replicate experience of mentoring others

From The Lawyer - Summer 2018
For Lynn McCreary, JD ’94, the secret to success lies in relationships. She certainly has built a career anyone would be proud to claim since graduating from Washburn University School of Law in 1994.

Stephen Stern in his mobile law clinicOn the Road Again: Stephen Stern, jd '98, reaches underserved areas in his Mobile Law Center 

From The Lawyer - Summer 2018
At first glance, Stephen Stern’s vintage Airstream trailer does not look like a law office. Stern has remodeled the interior with lots of natural light and calming colors. Several times a week he drives his Mobile Law Center along the central California coast, delivering affordable legal advice to underserved communities.

New Washburn School of Law building rendering Challenges Accepted: Giving challenges increase participation in School of Law buidling campaign 

From The Lawyer - Summer 2018
In the past year, the law school building project has seen an increase in participation thanks to generous giving challenges and match campaigns sparked by Cynthia Heath’s $1 million challenge launched in October 2017 and finalized in January 2018.

Students, professor and alumni in Garden City during spring breakAssisting Rural Communities: Spring break trip shows law students importance of rural law issues 

From The Lawyer - Summer 2018
Most college students dream of traveling somewhere warm for spring break, but this March, four Washburn School of Law students headed to Garden City, Kansas – and they weren’t going on vacation. Instead, they traveled to this vibrant, multi-cultural community to participate in a service-learning trip through a Washburn Law Clinic project.

Danielle HallTeaching and Mentoring: Danielle Hall, ba '06, jd '09, mentors students in free time, teaches industry practices at Kansas Bar Association 

From School of Law Alumni Newsletter - Summer 2018
Danielle Hall finds herself teaching peers in her position with the Kansas Bar Association. In her free time, she teaches Washburn Law students in many of the same ways faculty and alumni mentored her as a student.

Indoor Athletics Facility renderingIndoor Athletics Facility: Washburn receives $1 million gift from Sunderland Foundation

Released June 11, 2018
The Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation is excited to announce a $1 million gift from the Sunderland Foundation to the new Indoor Athletics Facility at Washburn University.

Patricia JoyceFirst Among Equals: Patricia Joyce, bsn '77, merged life experiences into work on nursing faculty

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018
When Patricia Joyce, bsn ’77, looked around her classes as a Washburn University student, she didn’t see anyone who resembled her, either in appearance or circumstances. Joyce graduated as Washburn's frist African-American in the nursing program and she went on to a 24-year career on the School of Nursing faculty, retiring this summer.

Brady Skeens and his parents Joy and AllenThe Son Also Rises: All-American Brady Skeens, bba '18, follows parents' lead to success

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018
All-American Brady Skeens finished his Washburn career with 1,229 points. His mother, Joy Skeens, bs ’85, scored 1,356 career points in her Hall of Fame career. Joy and Allen Skeens raised their son with the emphasis that academics come before basketball.

Shari LaGrange-Aulich at the SAVE farmCultivating Change: Washburn Transformational Experience celebrates 10 years of success

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018
Shari LaGrange-Aulich, ba '13, ma '16, and her dad, retired Col. Gary LaGrange, started SAVE farm to train veterans in a high-demand profession. LaGrange-Aulich found through a Washburn Transformational Experience trauma survivors experience positive growth through purposeful work like farming or beekeeping.

Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris back on campusScientific Method: Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, bs '10, impressed with student work in return to Washburn

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018
The closing remarks to a room of young scientists were an invitation to be innovative and unconventional. “Follow your next untried path. Do something wonky. Make sure you do what you’re hired to do, but start asking what if, how come and why.” Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, bs ’10, delivered those remarks in her return to campus this spring.

Danica PlanteGetting Back Home: Masons support scholarships to strengthen local communities

From The Ichabod - Spring 2018
Danica Plante is a recipient of a scholarship from the Kansas Masonic Foundation, Inc., which over the years has steadily increased the number of scholarships it gives to Washburn students. She knows firsthand how important scholarships are to furthering her education and reaching her dreams.

More stories

Winter 2019 Ichabod magazine cover with Bob Dole statue on front

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

View past editions


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Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483