Forrest Scene

December 2012 News Releases

Two Topekans will represent Washburn University at 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting

Editor’s note: Photo of official Kansas ornament, available upon request.

Amanda Hughes, assistant director, university relations, Washburn University, 785-670-2153
Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, 202-684-3354


Washburn 150 holiday ornamentTwo Topekans, Amanda Hughes, assistant director, university relations, and Cindy Rogers, former president, Washburn Alumni Association, will represent Washburn University at the 2012 National Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, Dec. 6 in President’s Park in Washington, D.C.

Hughes and Rogers will join artists and youth from each U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia who were selected to design and create ornaments for their respective state or territory tree. The 90th Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony begins four weeks of holiday events in President’s Park. The National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, sponsor the event.

The 30-year tradition of the official Kansas ornament continues in 2012 with recognition of Washburn’s sesquicentennial anniversary. This year’s ornament features the 150th anniversary logo of Washburn University, depicting the school’s mascot, the Ichabod. The back of the ornament bears the state seal.

Twelve official Kansas ornaments will be displayed on the Kansas state tree, along with another one dozen ornaments made of wheat. The wheat ornaments were made by students at Quincy Elementary School, the art magnet school of Topeka Unified School District 501. The longtime designer of Kansas’ annual state ornament, Topeka artist Anita Wolgast, worked with the children, who soaked wheat in water and twisted it into a variety of shapes.

As one of America’s oldest holiday traditions, the National Christmas Tree Lighting began on Christmas Eve in 1923, when President Calvin Coolidge lit a Christmas tree in front of 3,000 spectators on the Ellipse in President’s Park.  Since 1923, each succeeding President has carried on the tradition of what now has become a month-long event presented by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.  In addition to the National Christmas Tree display, President’s Park hosts a variety of family-oriented holiday attractions, such as Santa’s Workshop, nightly holiday performances, a Yule log, nativity scene, and model train display. For ticket information and talent announcements, as well as other event details, please visit

The members of the committee who designed the official Kansas ornament were Hughes, Adrianne Johnson, Rogers, Wolgast and Brandi Youse. The ornaments are available for purchase at the Washburn’s Ichabod Shop for $24. They also can be purchased at the Kansas Historical Society gift shop, the Rally House and the Mulvane Art Museum gift shop.



From the founding of Washburn University near the end of the Civil War, to the devastation of campus in a 1966 tornado, Washburn has evolved to be a quality 21st century institution complemented with a rich history. The founding principles of the university are best expressed in Washburn’s motto, Non nobis solum, or “not for ourselves alone.”

Washburn was founded as Lincoln College, a private Congregational school, on Feb. 6, 1865 in Topeka, Kan., on the principle that all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender or income, have the right to seek an education. In 1868, Ichabod Washburn, of Worcester, Mass., pledged $25,000 to the fledgling college. Shortly thereafter, the one-building institution was renamed Washburn College to honor this benefactor.

Located on a 160-acre campus, Washburn has approximately 7,200 students and offers more than 200 academic programs leading to certification, associate, bachelor, master's, doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. An affiliate of the university, Washburn Institute of Technology, provides high school and adult students significant opportunities to develop skills and knowledge relevant to contemporary career fields, such as health occupations, computer repair and networking and a variety of technology disciplines including building and industrial, business, design, electronic, graphics, metal and mechanical. The broadly-based liberal arts and professional programs are enriched by a long-standing interactive relationship between the campus and the community.


The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System and its 395 National Park sites for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.  The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.  For more information, visit


You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.