A textbook gift for Washburn students

Meeting Washburn students inspired Kay Farley to create a scholarship fund.

Working with Washburn students inspired Kay Farley to create a scholarship fund.

Kay Farley grew up around an important aspect of education many people do not consider – the buying and selling of textbooks and other course materials.

Kay's father and uncle were college textbook wholesalers in the 1950s, buying and selling used books to help students save money.

"They were very passionate and thought it was a noble cause," Kay said.

She was able to serve that same passion in her career. After graduating with a business degree from National University, Kay worked in retail operations at Kansas State University before coming to Washburn in 2002.

She retired this summer after 14 years as director of the Ichabod Shop, Washburn University's bookstore. She loved her role in education, but she knew the potential hardships students faced if they couldn't afford their books. Kay says research shows every day without course materials diminishes a student's chance at success by 50 percent.

"Working in the store, you see students come in with different levels of need," Kay said. "One day, I had this epiphany and decided to do something to give back for all the blessings I had in my life. That's when I contacted the Washburn University Foundation."

She created the Kay Farley Course Materials Scholarship and makes regular gifts to the fund. A planned gift in her estate will boost the endowment, creating everlasting assistance for students. She will be leaving behind a job she loved, but her gifts will continue to support her passions.

"Not many people have the ability to like what they're doing, be with people they like, and go home knowing you had a good day and you've made a difference," she said. "I've been very blessed."

Invest in the leaders of tomorrow

Your support has a direct impact on students, faculty and the future of Washburn University. Contact Jeannie Shy at 785.670.2734 or jshy@wualumni.org to explore smart gift options.

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