Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University announced today that Eugene Williams, executive director of KTWU for more than 20 years, is leaving the station on January 10, 2022.

     “We’re very fortunate to have had Eugene shepherding KTWU through more than two decades,” said Dr. Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University.  “He is an accomplished and prominent leader who has served as an exemplary innovator, mentor and a pioneer in broadcast journalism, public television and within the Topeka community.”

     Farley noted that, in addition to running the station, Williams spent much time mentoring and advising future leaders.  He exhibited great passion and always made time to advise and guide Washburn University students, KTWU team members and members of his local and national communities with any issues presented to him.

     Williams was also an active member of the Kansas Association of Broadcasters and served in many leadership roles including chair of the organization.   He also served two terms as chairman of the Kansas Public Broadcasting Council and served a 10-year term as chairman of the Kansas Public Broadcasting Council’s Digital Television Committee.

     At the national level, he served as a member of the Public Broadcasting System Board of Directors, served on the Small Station Fund Committee and the Digital Distribution Fund Panel for the Corporation of Public Broadcasting.  He is a graduate of multiple National Association of Broadcasters programs, as well as the Management Development Seminar for Television Executives and the Broadcast Leadership Training Program.

     “Williams brought a special level of expertise and an understanding of both the community and the great potential of public television to KTWU and to Washburn University,” said Dr. Juliann Mazachek, vice president of academic affairs.  “He also welcomed our students into the station and brought his expertise into the classroom as an adjunct professor in our mass media program.  His steady leadership and energy will be sorely missed.”

     Mazachek said Williams was key in creating relationships between KTWU and the station’s community partners.   Those relationships were vital in KTWU’s content initiatives addressing community issues.  They were also important in helping KTWU feature local businesses and prominent figures within the community. 

     What’s more, the relationships Williams helped build allowed KTWU to create a national presence for KTWU in public television communities across the United States through KTWU’s Presenting Station services. This service continues to achieve national distribution for multiple hours of programming with a reach that includes more than 90 percent of the country.

     But, Mazachek noted, Williams has also been a hands-on broadcaster serving as executive producer on multiple KTWU shows receiving multiple regional EMMY awards.  He also served as host for a variety of TV shows and pageants as well as moderator for multiple political debates.  His efforts earned him induction into the Topeka Business Hall of Fame in 2016.

     Mazachek said that Val VanDerSluis will serve as Interim executive director of KTWU.  VanDerSluis has been a part of the KTWU team since August 2002. She started as traffic manager for KTWU and was promoted through the ranks in programming before she was appointed director of programming, content and social media in July 2013.  She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Kansas in December of 2000. 

     Prior to joining KTWU, VanDerSluis worked for KTKA -- ABC affiliate in Topeka, Kansas, and KCTV5, the CBS affiliate in Kansas City.  In both of those jobs, she worked in the newsroom as assignment editor.  Val has served on the Public Television Programming Association (PTPA) board since 2016 as past president, and is a current member of the PTPA Meeting Planning Committee.

     Washburn University will launch a national search for the next executive director of KTWU during the spring.


For further information: Patrick M. Early, APR Director of Public Relations Telephone: (785) 670-1711 Cell: (717) 385-1119 Email:

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