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Spirit of the Gift
Biography Project

Histories of the men and women behind WSU's scholarships and fellowships

Janet I. Burnham Endowed Engineering Scholarship

Since childhood, Robert Burnham had envisioned a career in the world of aviation. His father, Walter Burnham, was one of the designers of the Travel Air Mystery Ship, which was the first civilian plane capable of outperforming military aircraft. After moving from place to place, his family finally settled in Wichita where Mr. Burnham attended the University of Wichita. In 1948, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in aeronautical engineering. Two years later, his wife, Janet, also graduated from WU with a degree in secondary education mathematics. Following college, Mr. Burnham worked for Boeing Aircraft until his retirement in March 1994. In 2004, 30 years after his wife’s passing, Mr. Burnham created the Janet I. Burnham Endowed Engineering Scholarship to help female engineering students.

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