History of the Washburn University Foundation
The Washburn University Foundation is an independent organization that exists to support Washburn University through fundraising, fund investment, and alumni records management.
When taking a look at Washburn's history it is important to reflect on the support of the many generous donors who assisted Washburn through the years. From the University's inception as Lincoln College in 1865, the college board of trustees made the development of a permanent endowment to ensure the future of the college a priority.
Ichabod Washburn made the first sizeable donation to the permanent endowment. As a sign of respect and genuine appreciation for his gift, the university name changed from Lincoln College to Washburn University. Another significant contributor was Col. John Ritchie who donated the land that Washburn sits on today. Each gift given along the way has played an important role in what Washburn University has become.
After Washburn became a municipal university in 1941, the board of trustees of Washburn College continued in existence to manage the endowment which at the time was approximately $1 million. It was not until 1991 that the endowment became a separate entity functioning under the name Washburn Endowment Association.
Increasing the endowment has always been critical for Washburn. These funds provide critical aid for student scholarships, faculty support, equipment and technology updates, and visiting professor and lectureship programs.
In 2010, Washburn University Foundation became the new name for the fundraising arm of the university. It was decided by university and Foundation leadership that the new name more accurately reflects the scope of the organizations work and the many ways it supports Washburn University.
Contributions to the university continue to play a vital role in maintaining and enhancing the learning environment.