Ribbon ceremony celebrates WU’s new ‘front door’

After a quick ribbon ceremony, Morgan Hall stands as the new front door to Washburn University.

Alumni, donors and current students gathered around the front of the Welcome Center on Oct. 23 to watch the announcements made by the Washburn University Foundation, the Board of Regents and the President of Washburn University, Jerry Farley.

“A little over five years ago we decided we needed a front door to the university,” said Bill Sneed, chairman of the Washburn Board of Regents. “It’s just an incredible experience. You walk around and see the changes. We will redesign this university for the next 150 years.”

Sneed said that prospective students will be awed by the new structure. It will give students one place to get everything done and is very student friendly. He said that the building is warm and it will make students feel like they are coming home.

“Students should know that Washburn is one of the greatest universities. If they come here, they will get a quality education and be rewarded,” Sneed said.

Many donors were honored during the ceremony, especially by the Washburn University Foundation. Donors are responsible for the sculpture on the east side of the building and the west side bench with Ichabod Washburn sitting down, as well as the 2000 bricks outside of Morgan Hall.

“I get to talk about items we know will be standing well beyond our lifetime, and we think they may still be here when they celebrate in another 300 years,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, president of the Washburn University Foundation. “Future generations have built on his dream and his vision. We will be able to greet prospective students and alumni in this location, in a place that is truly spectacular.”

Mazachek mentioned that the new Ichabod statue was donated by the trustees to make it possible for everyone that entered into this building to know what we stand for, and know that Ichabod Washburn made this place possible.

The ribbon cutting was part of Washburn’s 150th anniversary commemoration, and the Morgan Hall renovations are part of the many changes Washburn has been making to its campus.

“Today we are the privileged ones that get to celebrate this anniversary,” said Farley. “We will remember these structures because they will be here for a long time. This welcome center is going to change the dynamic of the institution.”

Farley said that this is the official front door to the campus. It creates an ambiance that we can all take pride in. It also has created a gathering place for students. He said it’s functioning already, the way they hoped it would.

“I think it’s just a wonderful entrance to the university for current students and their families, or new students and visitors,” said Kathy Busch, director of communications and annual giving at the Washburn Foundation. “They can see our Ichabod pride when they walk in the door.”

Busch said that the Welcome Center will provide students a place to meet with friends and study. The current students are able to see the changes in the center already, and it makes a big difference.

“We’re all here today because of the significance of 150 years,” Farley said. “We’re here today to pass all this history on to the future.”