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Noteworthy Alumni

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A special niche
Michael Wilhoite

Former Ichabod Michael Wilhoite has worked his way up from the practice squad to special teams captain for the San Francisco 49ers.

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Rich tradition

The Washburn University Alumni Association has been serving alumni and the university for more than 125 years.

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Washburn University is counting down to 150 years in 2015 with events and celebrations.

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Noteworthy Ichabods

Washburn has nearly 40,000 alumni, many of you whom you may recognize or whose company you may be familiar with. Below are several notable alumni and attendees.

We are grateful for the contributions our alumni and friends make to the university. Visit the Washburn University Foundation for recognition of these donors.

Notable alumni and attendees

  • Greg Brenneman, bba ’84: He is the chairman of Chemical Ventures, Chase Capital, Manufacturers Hanover Capital/J.P. Morgan, Partners (CCMP) Capital, a global private equity firm specializing in buyout and growth equity investments in the U.S. and Europe. Brenneman was the CEO at Quizno’s, Continental Airlines and Burger King. A Washburn University Foundation trustee, he received an honorary doctor of commerce degree from Washburn in 1999.
  • Ken Calwell, bba ’84: He is the CEO of Papa Murphy’s International. Calwell was also an executive at Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc., Dominos and Pizza Hut.
  • Dick Davidson, ba ’66: He retired as president and CEO of Union Pacific Railroad. A Washburn University Foundational trustee emeriti, Davidson was awarded an honorary doctor of commerce degree from Washburn in 1994.
  • Bob Dole, ba ’52, jd ’52: He served in the Kansas Legislature, U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate, where he was Republican leader. Dole was President Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976 and the Republican presidential candidate during the 1996 election. A Washburn University Foundation trustee emeriti, he received an honorary doctor of law degree in 1969 and an honorary doctor of civil law degree in 1985 from Washburn. 
  • Joan (McInroy) Finney, ba ’82: Elected in 1992, she was the first female governor of Kansas and treasurer for the state. The late Mrs. Finney was awarded a doctor of public service degree from Washburn in 1999.
  • Art Fletcher, ba ’50: He was chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, director of the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the executive director of the United Negro College Fund. Washburn awarded the late Mr. Fletcher an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 1990.
  • Linda (Richey) Graves, jd ’78: She was the First Lady of Kansas, married to former Gov. Bill Graves.
  • Georgia Neese Gray, ba ’21: She was the first female U.S. treasurer and awarded an honorary doctor of business administration degree from Washburn in 1966. The late Mrs. Gray was a member of the Washburn Board of Regents.
  • Dan Holt, ba ’63: He retired as director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Holt received the Distinguished Service Award from Washburn in 2002.
  • Mark Hunt, ba ’71: He was deputy director and museum curator of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and former executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.
  • Bill Kurtis, jd ’66: He is co-anchor of the weekday Chicago CBS 2 News. Kurtis is the producer of A&E’s “Investigative Reports” and “American Justice,” as well as president of Kurtis Productions Limited. He formerly anchored CBS Morning News. Kurtis was awarded an honorary doctor of literature from Washburn in 1985.
  • Delano Lewis, jd ’63: He was the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of South Africa and president of National Public Radio. Washburn awarded Lewis an honorary doctor of law degree in 2000.
  • Miriam (Baker) Loo, ba ’36: She founded the mail order catalog Current Inc. The late Mrs. Loo was a Washburn University Foundation trustee emeriti and awarded an honorary doctor of commerce degree in 1990.
  • Davey Lopes, b ed ’69: He is the first-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers and former manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. He played for 16 years in the major leagues, stealing 557 bases in his career, and has been a coach for more than 20 years.
  • Billie Jean Moore, b ed ’66: She is the former head women’s basketball coach at UCLA and coached the 1976 U.S. women’s team at the Olympic Games. A 1999 inductee to the women’s basketball hall of fame, Moore received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Washburn the same year.
  • Justice Nancy Moritz, bba '82, jd '85: She is a judge in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and has served as a judge for the Court of Appeals and Kansas Supreme Court. She also was an appellate coordinator for the U.S. Attorney's Office, an assistant U.S. attorney and an associate at Spencer Fane Britt and Browne.
  • Larry Niven, ba ’62: He is an award-winning science fiction author. Niven was awarded an honorary doctor of literature degree in 1984.
  • Roger Noriega, ba ’82: He is director of Tew Cardenas LLP, an advocacy and government affairs office and former assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Noriega was honored as an Alumni Fellow in 2004.
  • Gene Reardon, bba ’87: He was inspector general for the U.S. Department of Defense. Washburn awarded him with an honorary doctor of commerce degree in 2001.
  • Carl Rowan, ’64: He was director of the U.S. Information Agency and a well-known commentator and syndicated journalist who explored race relations and championed civil rights. The late Mr. Rowan was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 1964.
  • Earl Sutherland, bs ’37: The late Mr. Sutherland received the 1971 Nobel Prize in psychology or medicine for his discoveries in the mechanisms of the action of hormones.
  • Bradbury Thompson, ba ’34: He was a world-renowned graphic artist who designed multiple publications and several U.S. postage stamps. The late Mr. Thompson received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree in 1965.
  • Ron Thornburgh, bs '85: He was the secretary of state for the State of Kansas and currently is the senior vice president of sales and marketing for NIC, which assists governments in delivering information and services to constituents.
  • Michael Wilhoite, ba '10: A former all-conference linebacker and three-year captain on Washburn's football team, Wilhoite is a backup linebacker and special teams captain for NFC champion San Francisco.
  • Don Wilson, ba ’64: He was a United States archivist, executive director of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library and executive director of  the George Bush Presidential Library.