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Washington State University
CAS Connect August 2013

Future Focus: Honoring faculty who inspired success

Alumnus honors faculty mentors who inspired success

Leonard B. Kirschner, left, and Craig Jackson have remained friends since Jackson was a student at WSU in the 1960s. (Photo by Julie Smitt, WSU Foundation)
Leonard B. Kirschner, left, and Craig Jackson have remained friends since Jackson was a student at WSU in the 1960s. (Photo by Julie Smitt, WSU oundation)

Be approachable and accessible, share your passion for teaching and learning, and enjoy the opportunity to give back. These are the lessons that alumnus Craig Jackson learned from mentors throughout his life. They comprise the blueprint he follows in his interactions with the young medical students he teaches and mentors.

Scientist, administrator, consultant

An accomplished scientist, administrator, and, most recently, a consulting retiree, Jackson (’63) is especially grateful to WSU professors who were instrumental in recognizing his abilities and providing valuable advice to help him forge his path in life. Their stimulating and challenging lectures, guidance that helped him succeed in the graduate-level courses he took as an undergraduate, and encouragement that ignited his passion for scientific research by inviting him to work in the laboratory led Jackson to label his days at WSU “among the best of my life.”

“I never would have had those experiences had I not come to WSU,” he said. “They made my entire life far more fulfilling.”

Earning his bachelor’s degree in zoology at WSU—lacking only a third semester of German for a degree in chemistry, too—Jackson went on to earn a doctorate in biochemistry. He began his career teaching biological chemistry and doing research into blood coagulation chemistry.

Profs set example of encouragement

Following his professors’ example of supporting students, he has directed annual gifts to WSU for 37 years hoping to encourage those who follow in his footsteps. A President’s Associate since October 2009, he honors faculty mentors who helped him succeed at WSU via gifts in their names. Among the areas he supports are the Leonard B. Kirschner Endowed Lectureship in the School of Biological Sciences and the Gardner Stacy Research Endowment Fund in the Department of Chemistry.

Jackson was a night lab assistant for Kirschner, who made an indelible impression and spurred Jackson’s enthusiasm and dedication. Setting the foundation for the future, Stacy, Jackson’s organic chemistry teacher, recommended him for a summer research opportunity that led him to choose biochemistry as his career field.

Endowment honors mentor

Most recently, Jackson is focusing his support on students who show an interest and curiosity in the sciences or who are exploring a career in science. He created the Leonard B. Kirschner Fund for Excellence in Sciences and, as a Legacy Associate of WSU, is directing a gift through his estate to support the endowment. The fund will support scholarships, costs associated with participation at conferences, and other student activities in support of excellence in research.

With a belief firmly rooted in philanthropy, Jackson hopes that he, like his own professors, will enrich the lives of students. After all, he has found one of his favorite quotes to be true—”You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.”

Gifts to any of the funds mentioned—or others—can be made securely online at