Louise Hummer honors her family through gifts to Washburn

The Nancy Hummer Memorial Scholarship was started as a way to honor Nancy's memory.

The Nancy Hummer Memorial Scholarship was started as a way to honor Nancy's memory.

Louise Hummer wakes up every morning with a plan. At 95, she stays active in the community and is a regular at her favorite restaurant and sporting events in the park that bears her family name.

She's always had a commitment to family, community involvement and giving.

It's no surprise that Louise responded to a pair of life-changing events by giving. Her planned gift for Washburn University will ensure her spirit of giving lives on forever.

Louise and her husband, Dana Hummer, lost their only child during her first year at Washburn in 1966. Knowing the importance of education, they started the Nancy Hummer Memorial Scholarship to give others the chance Nancy only began to have.

Louise created the Dana and Louise Hummer Criminal Justice Scholarship when Dana passed away in 2002 to honor his law enforcement career. The care and dedication nurses gave him inspired Louise to give to Washburn's School of Nursing.

"The nurses were so good to him," she said. "They took care of him while he was sick but it was also during a nursing shortage."

Louise's estate gift will benefit all three of these areas and help Washburn continue to provide an elite educational experience for as many students as possible.

"Everybody needs and deserves an education," she said.

Watching Washburn

Louise was born in Topeka in 1919 and was one of 13 children in her family.

"I was a depression baby," she said. "I had one dress to wear to school, and my mother had to wash it every day. I didn't even have a chance to go to high school."

Louise and Dana Hummer

Louise and Dana Hummer

Louise met Dana while working as an instructor at a dance studio where she tried to teach the shy young man to waltz and jitterbug.

"I couldn't make him dance to save my neck," she joked. "All I could do was steer him away from other couples."

The two married in 1943 before Dana served overseas in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He returned home to work in law enforcement and as Topeka's police chief from 1963 to 1973.

A tornado on June 8, 1966, ripped through Topeka and destroyed much of campus. Dana didn't come home for two days.

"When that tornado hit, I just cried," Louise said. "Nancy and I didn't leave the house."

Nancy enrolled at Washburn later that year to be a court reporter but died from a medical complication in August at the age of 19.

Louise pulled through by staying motivated and involved. She says Washburn pulled through its tragedy with strong leadership.

"I knew they would survive if they had a good leader," Louise said. "President (Jerry) Farley and the rest of the leadership have really grown the campus, and I know it's in great shape for the future."

She's especially excited about the new Kansas Bureau of Investigation forensics lab and the programs that will benefit criminal justice students.

Louise calls her work with the Topeka Cemetery, where a fountain stands in memory of her daughter, her job. She rarely misses her daily lunch at Cracker Barrel or an episode of Dancing with the Stars.

"I'm having a ball," she says.

She's honored to have an estate gift for Washburn that will live on and benefit three areas important to her family.

Invest in Washburn Students

Your support can have a tremendous impact on students and the future of Washburn University. Contact Jeannie Shy at 785.670.2734 or jshy@wualumni.org to explore giving strategies that celebrate your connection to Washburn.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.