Washburn Selects First Woman President

The Washburn University Board of Regents has chosen Dr. JuliAnn Mazachek as the university’s 15th president. She will begin her role on Wednesday, Feb. 1, and become the first woman to lead Washburn University as president since its founding in 1865.

According to the school, Mazachek is returning to Topeka after serving as president of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas since last May. Prior to her time at MSU Texas, Mazachek spent 30 years at Washburn University in various leadership roles. Coming home, she said, is an opportunity she could not pass up.

“Washburn University is such an important part of my family,” Mazachek said. “I am incredibly honored to lead this institution as we build on a foundation of academic excellence and on our unwavering commitment to students and their success. Innovation, growth and collaboration with community partners are among my key priorities as, together, we continue to move Washburn forward toward an even brighter future.”

Shelly Buhler, chair of the Washburn University Board of Regents, said Mazachek’s knowledge of the past and vision for the future make her the perfect choice to lead the university.

“Dr. Mazachek is a student-focused, community-centered and innovative leader who loves Washburn,” said Buhler. “As the new president of Washburn University, Dr. Mazachek will continue to build upon the work to which she contributed in the past and prepare us for the amazing possibilities yet to come. JuliAnn is truly the best, most qualified and professional person for this responsibility.”

Mazachek joined the Washburn family in 1992 as an assistant professor of accounting after earning a master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in accounting from the University of Kansas. She rose through the Washburn University School of Business and became dean in 1998.

In 2002, Mazachek was named president and CEO of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation. In that role, she oversaw all aspects of fundraising, alumni and stewardship programs in addition to the investment management of nearly $200 million in gift assets.

Mazachek was named interim vice president for academic affairs at Washburn University in 2016, a position she held permanently following a national search. As the chief academic officer, she provided leadership to Washburn University’s six colleges and schools, overseeing the University’s interdisciplinary programs, academic resources, support units, instructional programs and academic priorities.

During her career, Mazachek has won numerous awards and is considered a trusted leader in community affairs. While in Topeka, she served on several boards including Heritage National Bank, Greater Topeka Partnership and the Boy Scouts of America Jayhawk Area Council. She and her husband, Keith, have three adult children. Two of them are Washburn alumni, Garrett, ’14, and Kara, ’16, as are many members of their extended family.

The national search for Washburn’s next president began in July with the hiring of search firm WittKieffer and the selection of a presidential search committee comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders. The position, advertised in the fall, drew more than 75 applicants from across the country. In November, the search committee narrowed the pool and recommended several finalists to the Washburn University Board of Regents. Board members selected Mazachek in December and announced her hire today.

“On behalf of the Board of Regents, we are grateful to everyone who helped with Washburn University’s presidential search. Numerous people contributed to crafting the leadership profile, serving on the search committee, assisting with communication and so much more,” Buhler said. “Dr. Mazachek’s leadership exemplifies everything we were looking for in a new president and we are excited to begin this new chapter in Washburn’s history.”

Mazachek replaces Dr. Jerry Farley who served as the university’s president for 25 years before retiring Sept. 30, 2022.