Topeka, Kan. – Washburn University is celebrating fall graduates as well as rising graduation rates despite the COVID-19 global pandemic. Washburn’s pandemic-era graduation rate rose 6.3% in 2021 compared to the rate in 2018, an increase that is well above the national average for that time frame.

“During the pandemic, Washburn University faculty and staff remained committed to helping students graduate on time, so we are pleased to see our efforts recognized on the national level,” said Dr. Alan Bearman, interim executive director of enrollment management and dean of the Center for Student Success and Retention at Washburn University.

The Chronicle of Higher Education analyzed U.S. Department of Education data for more than 1,300 public and private four-year institutions and found that six-year graduation rates in 2020 and 2021 were 1.26% higher, on average, than they were in 2018 and 2019. It included Washburn University in a select group of institutions that were more than five percentage points above the national average.

“Being one of only two Kansas institutions to receive recognition from The Chronicle for growing our retention rates during the pandemic is something that makes every Washburn University employee proud because they all worked so hard to stay focused on student success during the difficulty of the pandemic,” Bearman said.

Fall commencement exercises for Washburn graduates are scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16, in Lee Arena in the Petro Allied Health Center at 1898 SW Mulvane St. Graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences will receive their diplomas at 5 p.m.; all other graduates will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m.

Washburn University Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech) will recognize fall graduates at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, in Lee Arena.


    Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 6,000 students involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master's degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees.  The programs are offered through Washburn’s six primary academic units – the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Applied Studies, the School of Business, the School of Nursing, the School of Law and the Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

    All programs are offered on either the 160-acre residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan., at Washburn Tech’s campus on Topeka’s west side or in the east Topeka facility. Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.

    Washburn is ranked best public regional university in Kansas and 14th best public regional university by U.S. News and World Report 2022-2023.

For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Interim Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (785) 224-6212

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