Hockenberry family sends four generations to Washburn

Matthew L. Self

This week Washburn University honors the Hockenberry family who have a special connection to our campus as they are the fourth generation of their family to attend Washburn. The fourth generation includes students Christina, Mary and Rose along with the eldest sister, Angela, who recently graduated from Washburn. Their dedication to Washburn comes from a love of the campus and the opportunities it offers as well as the connection they share to the campus through their ancestors, going back to their great-grandfather.

The Hockenberry’s connection with Washburn University begins with their great-grandfather, Stanley Joseph Wiechert Sr., who took some classes at Washburn during the 1960s. He took classes at Washburn while serving at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka and he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The family is unsure if Wiechert earned a degree at Washburn.

The tradition continued through Wiechert’s son, Stanley Joseph Wiechert Jr., who earned a bachelors degree in mathematics in the 1960s. He married Maxine Agnes Steinlage in 1970 who later earned a masters degree in education with an emphasis in creativity.

The third generation consisted of Lisa Hockenberry and her sister Julie Anderson, who attended Washburn during the 1990s. Lisa Hockenberry earned a bachelors degree in business administration in accounting in 1993 and Anderson earned a bachelors degree in mass media with emphasis in public relations in 1996.

The fourth and current generation of students at Washburn consist of Lisa Hockenberry’s four daughters. Angela Hockenberry, who has recently graduated and married, earned a bachelors degree in sociology this past December and worked at Washburn’s registrar office. Angela also met her husband at Washburn, creating another connection to our University. Rose Hockenberry is a third-year student who is majoring in elementary education and works in the financial aid department at Washburn. Christina Hockenberry is a second-year student who is majoring in vocal performance and who is working for the music library. Mary Hockenberry is a freshman at Washburn who currently hasn’t declared a major yet, and works in the Mulvane Art Lab. The girls also have two younger sisters, Nicole and Stephanie Hockenberry, who are attending Christ the King Grade School and who may join their older sisters in continuing the tradition of attending Washburn University.

The girls also spoke about why they chose to attend Washburn. Rose Hockenberry said that being close to her family while coming to Washburn was a major component for choosing Washburn.

“I just liked that it was close enough to home so that I can see my family. The education department is great here. It’s one of the best in the state, that or Emporia, and Emporia is a long way away,” Rose Hockenberry said. 

Angela Hockenberry also explained why she chose Washburn over other schools.

“Coming to Washburn wasn’t super expensive and it was close. Everybody else was still around so I had a good support system to help me,” Angela Hockenberry said. “Once I found my major I loved my department.”

Christina Hockenberry spoke highly of her experience with Washburn.

“We’ve been extremely successful. All of us have very high GPAs,” Christina Hockenberry said. “I feel very at home in my department. Our professors care about our progress, and they make time for us and it shows.”

The Hockenberry sisters explained their plans after college with some of them saying that they would like to move out of the Topeka area to pursue their career goals while others said they could see their future children coming to Washburn as well in the following years. Whether any of the sisters will decide to stay in the Topeka area and send their own children to Washburn to continue the legacy has yet to be seen but a fifth generation is possible in their future.