• WHAT: Washburn University will host a commencement ceremony at Yager Stadium for all of the 2021 graduates with the exception of graduates from the Law School. That ceremony will be held on May 15, 2021 in Lee Arena.
  • The ceremony will include associate, bachelors, masters and doctoral graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Applied Studies, the School of Business and the School of Nursing. The ceremony will also feature the presentation of three honorary doctorates. A fourth will be presented at the School of Law graduation on May 15.  (See details below on the honorary doctoral recipients.)

Each candidate for graduation has been able to invite a limited number of guests to ensure our ability to maintain social distancing. Both guests and graduates are asked to wear masks except when eating or drinking. The graduates will be allowed to remove their masks when crossing the stage to enable the official photographers to take pictures.

The entire event will also be shown on the JumboTron in the stadium and will be livestreamed. The livestream will be available at: https://youtu.be/cM7h7Xk0L9A

The university will be sharing photos from the ceremonies on social media using #WASHBURNGRAD

WHEN: 3 p.m.

WHERE: Yager Stadium on the Washburn University Campus

IN THE EVENT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER: A decision about conditions will be made Saturday morning should the ceremony need to be postponed. An announcement would come via the university’s website (www.washburn.edu), via the university’s social media channels and via an announcement to the media.



Elizabeth Farnsworth, Doctor of Humane Letters

Ms. Farnsworth will be recognized but is not able to attend in person

Former Topekan Elizabeth Fink Farnsworth is former chief correspondent and principal substitute anchor of the PBS NewsHour. She has reported from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Cambodia, Vietnam, Haiti, Guatemala and Chile, and has been published in Foreign Policy, World Policy Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and Mother Jones.

Earlier this year the Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies published interviews by Farnsworth with Chilean human rights activist and journalist Mónica González Mujica. Farnsworth has four Emmy nominations and her 2008 documentary, “The Judge and the General,” won an Alfred I Dupont-Columbia University Award, which is often considered the broadcast equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. Her 2017 memoir, “A Train Through Time: A Life, Real and Imagined,” explores how childhood experiences influenced her commitment to reporting from danger zones.

Farnsworth serves on the advisory board of the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law, and the advisory committee of the World Affairs Council of Northern California.

Gilbert Galle, ba ’70, Doctor of Commerce

After graduation, Gilbert Galle moved to Houston, Texas, where he was a member of the management committee of the Astrodome Corporation, owners of the Houston Astros and the Astroworld Entertainment complex. He then became an institutional broker with the investment banking firm of Rotan Mosle. In 1985, Galle moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and was a senior vice president of institutional sales for Lehman Brothers.

In 1988, he joined WEDGE Capital Management LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was a managing general partner and portfolio manager. He retired in 2008. Active in his Pinehurst, North Carolina, community, he is current chair of the board of trustees of Thompson Child & Family Focus, an Episcopal agency serving children and families.

Galle joined the Washburn University Foundation board of trustees in 2004 and served as chair from 2010-12. Washburn honored him with an Alumni Fellow award, Distinguished Service Award and Garvey Trustee Award.

Robert Meinershagen, ba ’63, Doctor of Science

Following his graduation, Robert Meinershagen spent a few years working in sales and marketing positions with two U.S. manufacturers of medical diagnostics products. In 1976, he made the decision to start his own company, and founded Columbia Diagnostics, Inc. in suburban Washington, D.C., distributing a full range of diagnostic instrumentation, reagents and laboratory disposables to the hospital, pathology and medical research laboratory markets.

Meinershagen navigated the business into becoming a major pioneer in medical diagnostic kits until his retirement in 2000 when Columbia was sold to a large, multinational business. Meinershagen served on the board of trustees for the Washburn University Foundation from 1997 until 2010 and remains a trustee emeritus.

In 2000 he was honored as an Alumni Fellow. Meinershagen was instrumental in creating the biology field laboratory in Karlyle Woods that now bears his name, and he and his wife’s contributions established the Robert E. & Helen L. Meinershagen Excellence in Biology Fund.


For further information: Patrick M. Early, APR Director of Public Relations Telephone: 785-670-1711 Cell: 717-385-1119 Email: patrick.early@washburn.edu
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Washburn University prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, veteran status, or marital or parental status. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Pamela Foster, Equal Opportunity Director/Title IX Coordinator, Washburn University, 1700 SW College Ave, Topeka, Kansas 66621, 785.670.1509, eodirector@washburn.edu.

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