Ellis accepts VP position

Richard Kelly

Fifteen months ago, the Washburn Endowment Association started a search for a vice president of development position. After endless searching, it seemed fitting that someone working in his 31st year at Washburn would be right for the job.

Tom Ellis, who previously served as special assistant to President Farley, is now officially the first vice president of development for the WEA. His job obligations will include handling large donations made to the university and helping those donors direct where they would like their funds to be used, as well as helping create ways that Washburn can raise funds.

JuliAnn Mazachek, president of the WEA, was crucial in getting Ellis to his new role. She sees Ellis as a huge asset, knowing that the endowment association is looking to start a university-wide project shortly.

“This project is important as we move forward, and he knows most of our alumni, he’s a graduate of Washburn, he knows our history and his leadership ability will be a great asset for him here,” said Mazachek. “We just feel like he was the perfect fit.”

Ellis’s tenure at Washburn began right after graduating from the university. He worked as an admission’s counselor in 1975. Other than three years at the University of Oklahoma, Ellis has been at Washburn ever since.

And for Ellis personally, his main goals in all his positions at Washburn have been to help that specific region. Ellis expects and hopes to continue his goals at WEA.

“Every job I’ve had I’ve helped something grow or develop,” said Ellis. “So I think perhaps this was just the next logical place for that.”

Ellis knows it is sometimes hard to see the real role organizations play, but said that he and the rest of the WEA’s focus is on the students.

“People think that we’re focused on donors. But in all actuality, the donors themselves are really focused on you, the student,” said Ellis. “They want you to have access to scholarships, they want you to have nice buildings to learn in, and they want you to have the best faculty, because that was their experience.”

Ellis sees a bright future ahead for Washburn and hopes he can be a crucial part of helping that future become a reality.

“I think there are some long-term goals for the institution and we need to bring those to fruition,” said Ellis. “But it’ll take a while. This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”