A $1 million gift from Jerry and Janet McElroy, Topeka, Kansas, will support the renovation of Morgan Hall and the addition of the new Welcome Center at Washburn University. The building will open Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in conjunction with Washburn’s 150th Grand Homecoming celebration. “Janet and I decided to make this gift because Washburn is so important to us personally and to Topeka and northeast Kansas,” Jerry McElroy said. “Washburn has been a big part of our lives since Janet and I were students in the late 1960s. By financially supporting this project, we are not only giving back to Washburn, we are giving back to the community by helping create an amazing space on campus for future students."
Janet received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1967. Jerry attended Washburn before he left to work at McElroy’s, Inc., a family business started by his father Homer. Under Jerry’s 32 years of leadership, and now in partnership with Dan Beal, president, McElroy’s has become one of the most successful mechanical and construction service providers in the region. Jerry now serves as chairman of the board.
“Our time at Washburn was wonderful,” said Janet. “Jerry and I have such great memories of being on campus. By making this gift, we know we will help perpetuate that same warm, inviting environment we experienced. We believe the Welcome Center will provide a special educational experience leading to success for students and help instill the same emotions and pride of being an Ichabod.”
The new Welcome Center will feature a centrally-located student area where students can easily access admissions, financial aid, academic advisers, student life and student health. In addition, the project includes a spacious hearth room and a covered outdoor plaza, as well as individual and group study space. The second floor includes the board room, offices, a large conference room and informal seating areas.
“The renovation of Morgan Hall and the new Welcome Center will create a central front door to the Washburn campus and, more importantly, will transform the student experience,” said Jerry Farley, president of Washburn University. “This generous gift is a testament to the McElroy’s long-standing commitment to Washburn University and the exceptional learning environment it provides to our students.”
“We are truly fortunate to have Jerry and Janet’s support for this project on the Washburn campus,” said JuliAnn Mazachek, president of Washburn University Foundation. “This project, like so many others, is made possible with the partnership of the University and generous donors like Jerry and Janet. We are so grateful for their commitment to help provide the best possible educational experience for our students today and tomorrow.”