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Taylor, bba ’78, Shawnee, Kan., has been the owner and operator of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at Oak Park Plaza in Overland Park, Kan., since 2008. He previously had a long career in the Air Force, retiring in 2007 as professor of aerospace studies at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
He was commissioned in the Air Force in 1978 from the ROTC program at Washburn. He was a master navigator/electronic warfare officer and served in numerous operational and staff assignments. Taylor achieved the rank of colonel and received a plethora of awards and decorations, including the defense superior service medal.
He was standout student and athlete while at Washburn, setting multiple school records as a kick and punt returner from 1974 to 1977.
Whitten, jd ’77, Topeka, Kan., is the architecture senior editor for Golf Digest. After graduating from Washburn’s School of Law, he remained in Topeka and was assistant district attorney for three years and city prosecutor for four years.
In 1981, he co-authored “The Golf Course,” the first book on the history of golf course design. That led to an offer in 1985 to work for Golf Digest. One of his first tasks was to revamp the magazine’s course rankings system.
Whitten has been involved in the design of Architects Golf Club in Phillipsburg, N.J., and Erin Hills Golf Course near Milwaukee, Wis. Erin Hills hosted the U.S. Amateur championship last year and will host the U.S. Open in 2017. He was inducted into the Kansas Golf Hall of Fame in 2010.
Oliver, bba ’74, Topeka, Kan., is the vice president of marketing for Mize Houser & Company P.A., a top regional accounting and IT firm. Upon graduating from Washburn with a degree in accounting, Oliver joined the staff of Mize Houser.
After five years, she accepted the position of controller at a client company. Four years later, Oliver returned to Mize Houser to become the firm’s first marketing representative. Today, she is a shareholder.
While at Washburn, she was a member of Delta Gamma and the Washburn Belles. She is married to Phil Oliver and is Past-President of Sales & Marketing Executives of Topeka and a member of the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants and the AICPA.
Martin, bsn ’79, is the president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska. He is also a member of the board of directors and the company's executive management team. Martin joined BCBSNE in 2002 and serves on several boards, including the BCBSA board of directors.
Before joining BCBSNE, Martin was the founding president, CEO and on the board of directors for Prime Therapeutics. He previously worked at BCBSNE for 12 years before founding Prime. Martin also worked in management roles at American HomeCare Inc., the Upjohn Company, Health- Check Inc. and the Menninger Foundation.
He is married to Amy Haddad, was a member of Sagamore and played football at Washburn. Martin is a trustee for the Washburn University Foundation.
The 2011-12 lineup consisted of two banking executives and an FBI agent.
See which previous speakers have shared their story during Wake Up With Washburn.
The cost for each lecture is $13 for dues-paid members of the Washburn Alumni Association and $15 for nonmembers. If you prefer, you can skip breakfast and listen to the lecture for free at 8 a.m.