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Washburn University Alumni Awards

The Alumni Awards honor alumni, employees and friends of Washburn University who distinguish themselves in their careers and their service to their community and the University. The 2018 event will be held on Saturday, April 7, on the Washburn campus, and the Alumni Association will honor eight individuals.

Alumni Awards Banquet
Saturday, April 7, 2018
6 p.m.
Washburn Room A & B



Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes alumni who have made personal and professional contributions to society, demonstrated exemplary support to the Washburn University Alumni Association and the community, been of service to humanity, distinguished themselves in their careers and brought honor to Washburn through their accomplishments.

Dan Hutchins, bba '78

Dan HutchinsDan Hutchins is managing partner of Hutchins & Haake, LLC CPA in Overland Park, Kansas. He has more than 40 years of public accounting experience including assisting with the startup, acquisition, operation and sale of many small businesses. He worked five years with Deloitte & Touche, LLP. Hutchins is a trustee and past chair of the board of directors of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation, and he has been involved in a number of fundraising projects including the new Welcome Center. He serves on the board of directors of two publicly traded companies he has worked with from inception: Digital Ally and Infinity Energy Resources. He also serves on the board of directors of Argentine Federal Savings and is a Regional Advisory Council member for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. He is a member of the American Institute of Public Accountants and a member of the MidAmerican Angel Investors of Kansas City.

How has Washburn contributed to your career: My lifelong passion of working with small business owners started at Washburn. Washburn instructors and programs offered me the opportunity to work directly with small business owners and helped me obtain job opportunities before and after graduation, which I otherwise would not have had.

Marla Luckert, ba '77, jd '80

Marla LuckertMarla Luckert has served as a justice of the Kansas Supreme Court since 2003, hearing and deciding appeals from Kansas courts. She serves as the court’s liaison to several commissions and as the departmental justice with administrative responsibilities for courts in several counties. Prior to that, she was judge and then chief judge of the Third Judicial District Court of Kansas for 11 years. She also served as an attorney for 12 years at Goodell Stratton Edmonds & Palmer. Luckert is a recipient of the Washburn Law Distinguished Service Award and a Washburn University Alumni Fellow. She has served on various committees for the law school and on the Washburn Law Alumni Association Board. Last year she won the Kansas Bar Foundation’s Award for Exemplary Service, and in 2015, she was named a Woman of Influence by Go Topeka’s Entrepreneurial and Minority Business Development Program.

Why did you choose Washburn: As a high school senior, I came to Washburn for the state debate tournament and I liked what I saw. Even then, I wanted to be an attorney, so the law school was a plus. In addition, the school’s size appealed to me, and I wanted the ability to participate in a variety of activities, including debate, student government and music. Receiving scholarships was imperative, and Washburn came through, making my college dream a reality.


Lilla Day Monroe Award

This award honors women who have distinguished themselves as teachers, instructors, administrators or benefactors at Washburn and also have given service to the community and/or their chosen professions. The award is named after suffragist, lawyer and publisher Lilla Day Monroe.

Jeanie Schuler

Jeanie SchulerJeanie Schuler, community volunteer, is retired from a 38-year career at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas where she last served as director of customer service. Her first affiliation with Washburn University was as a non-traditional student, taking classes to enhance her skills. A love for the Mulvane Art Museum rekindled her interest in Washburn, and she has been an avid ambassador for the museum and entire campus. She is a past president of Friends of the Mulvane Art Museum and was chair of the Mulvane Art Fair in 2014. Along with cheerleading Washburn, she is passionate about the Topeka community. Schuler is the 2015 recipient of the Junior League of Topeka Gold Rose Award and is a past president of the organization. She is past president of ERC Resource and Referral (Child Care Aware of Eastern Kansas), and she is on the board of directors and an avid volunteer with SilverBackks.

How has Washburn contributed to your life: Washburn has provided me opportunities for life-long learning; from the classroom, through art and experiencing the world through travel. I am honored to receive an award that shows the reflection in me of the impeccable job Washburn does to enhance the community and world.


Col. John Ritchie Award

This award honors men who have distinguished themselves as teachers, instructors, administrators or benefactors at Washburn and also have given service to the community and/or their chosen professions. The award is named after Col. John Ritchie, who donated the land on which Washburn is built.

Ted Heim

Ted HeimTed Heim worked in criminal justice, taught political science and sociology and conducted criminal justice training before coming to Washburn in 1971. His career includes serving in the Air Force and as superintendent of the reception and diagnostic center with the Kansas prison system in Topeka. At Washburn, he headed the sociology department’s corrections degree program. When that program grew in success, the criminal justice department was established and Heim served as chair. They added a law enforcement degree and built the program to the point the U.S. Justice Department selected is as a national training center. Heim retired from full-time teaching in 1998, received emeritus status and taught part-time until 2015. Throughout his career and in retirement, he has served on a number of committees focused on local prison systems. He has published articles on correctional administration, training and other correctional matters.

What was special about teaching at Washburn: In the 1970s, we applied to have Washburn serve as a national training center for the U.S. Justice Department. Washburn President John Henderson knew our program well and attended the presentation. He was a president who understood how important administrative support from the top was to the success of any program. We won out over other schools because of the many training programs we had successfully conducted. This opened a completely new training field for Washburn, and we were able to apply for and receive national training and research grants.


Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award

This award honors recent Washburn graduates who demonstrate leadership in career or civic endeavors and loyalty to Washburn. Recipients of the award must have graduated within the past 10 years.

Alexandra E. Blasi, bba ’07, b music ’07, jd ’11, mba ’11

Alexandra BlasiAlexandra E. Blasi has worked for the State of Kansas since 2011 after receiving her juris doctorate, her fourth degree from Washburn. As executive secretary of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, she is responsible for records and licensing, pharmacy inspection, disciplinary reviews and overseeing the Kansas Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. She is the elected secretary of the Employee Advisory Committee to the Health Care Commission . She has also worked for the state’s Department of Commerce, Real Estate Commission, Board of Cosmetology and Board of Healing Arts. She has crafted dozens of laws and regulations in Kansas that have been enacted or adopted, and she has crafted numerous policies to maximize efficiency and protect Kansans. Blasi serves on the Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council. She sings with the Topeka Festival Singers and volunteers by judging School of Law trial advocacy competitions and other activities. She had a paper published in the Journal of Legal Medicine and has presented to numerous boards and associations throughout the state.

What made your Washburn experience memorable: The entire Washburn culture is designed to be positive, collaborative and supportive of each student. That culture enabled me to maintain my love of music and build new relationships with health care, economics and the law.

Garret Love, bba '10

Garrett LoveGarrett Love has operated a number of businesses in southwest Kansas since graduating while also serving in the Kansas Senate. He founded and presides over Western Kansas Pheasant Hunts, a pheasant and deer outfitting business that offers guided hunts; Love Land & Cattle LLC, a farming and ranching operation; and Kansas Sports & Leadership Camps LLC, where he manages youth sports camps for various coaches and athletes. Love graduated in May 2010, won the primary that August for a House seat against the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, and then won the general election in November. Before starting that term, he was chosen to fill a Senate seat and in January 2011, became the youngest state senator in Kansas history at the age of 22. He served as majority whip and chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee during his two terms and then didn’t seek re-election in 2016. The United States Department of Agriculture appointed him FSA state committee chair in 2018.

What is your fondest memory of Washburn: When I was considering running for student body president, I knew it was very important to have a good running mate. After a lot of persistence, I finally talked a very impressive girl into being my vice president. Thankfully, two years later, it didn’t take quite as many tries to get her to say yes when I asked her to marry me! Caley and I were able to make Washburn a better place and grow closer to each other at the same time.


Honorary Ichabod Award

This award is given to individuals who are not graduates of Washburn University, but whom we recognize for their steadfast support of Washburn by way of their time, talent or treasure.

Jerry and Susan Farley

Susan and Jerry FarleyIn 2017, Washburn University President Jerry and Susan Farley celebrated their 20 years of service to the University. The two have been iconic figures in a period of unprecedented growth for Washburn. During their time here, they have overseen record enrollment, invigorated student life, numerous new or remodeled buildings, strategic development of academic programs and the addition and evolution of Washburn Institute of Technology. Dr. Farley serves or has served on the boards of the Kansas and Topeka chambers of commerce, GO Topeka, the American Cancer Society, the American Red Cross, Westar Energy and many others. He was a vice president at the University of Oklahoma prior to coming to Washburn. Susan devoted her career to education. She retired after 26 years as a mathematics teacher in middle schools, high schools and universities. She frequently visits with alumni, donors, students, faculty and staff as she attends campus events or hosts events in their home. The two often travel together on university or alumni trips where they visit with alumni or partner international universities.

How has Washburn made in impact on our lives: From our first day on campus, the entire Washburn community has made us feel welcome. We are so honored to be a part of Washburn. We have found our home and our passion runs deeply. We believe in Washburn!

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1729 MacVicar Avenue
Topeka, KS 66604
Phone: 785.670.4483