Record-Breaking $5 Million Donation Establishes Largest Scholarship in Washburn University’s History

By Trish Svoboda

Washburn University’s leadership today revealed a donation of $5 million from Dick and Trish Davidson. This contribution will establish the Thelma Ann Davidson Memorial Scholarship at Washburn, aimed at financially assisting high-achieving students in need. The scholarship, which is the largest in Washburn’s history, honors Dick’s mother.

Dick, a native of Kansas, was brought up on a modest farm where he learned the value of hard work. After completing high school at 18, he embarked on his journey at Washburn University while working for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. He graduated in 1966 and built a career in the railroad sector. He retired as the CEO of Union Pacific Corp. in 2007.

In 2009, Dick and Trish contributed to Washburn, funding endowed professorships, chairs, and scholarships within the School of Business. At the time it was the largest single donation the institution had received.

“I know I wouldn’t have achieved the success I had in life without the education I received at Washburn,” said Dick. “Trish and I believe there is no substitute for a good education and hard work, and we are happy to help other students as they work to earn their degree and take advantage of the many opportunities at Washburn.

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