Washburn University was established in February 1865 as Lincoln College by a charter issued by the State of Kansas and the General Association of Congregational Ministers and Churches of Kansas. The school was renamed Washburn College in 1868 after receiving a $25,000 donation by Ichabod Washburn, a church deacon and resident of Worcester, Mass.
The schools mascot the "Washburn Ichabod" is named after the universities benefactor and was drawn by noted graphic artist Bradbury Thompson when he was an undergraduate.
Washburn is the last municipaly chartered university in the country. Primary funding for the university is from a county wide sales tax.