A future full of promise
In May, as spring semester was coming to a close, I had several opportunities to share the successes of the College of Arts and Sciences with students, parents, staff, and faculty, and with some of the most influential supporters of the University.
On the last day of the term, I joined some of our faculty mentors in Daggy Hall to honor the Pullman campus’outstanding seniors. Every year, graduating students in each degree program are nominated for this distinction based on their exemplary academic achievement and dedication to learning and service. Among the students recognized in 2014 are researchers, writers of poetry and prose, scientists, musicians, athletes, student leaders, activists, world travelers, and adventurers. If you have a few moments to be inspired, I encourage you to read their stories.
The next day, President Elson Floyd and I had the pleasure to personally congratulate more than 850 College of Arts and Sciences graduates during the commencement ceremony in Beasley Coliseum. Dozens more newly minted CAS Cougars joined the alumni ranks at ceremonies in Vancouver and the Tri-Cities that same day, and in Spokane the day before. It was a joyful time to reflect on our students’ journey and celebrate the completion of their degrees. We look forward to hearing about their individual successes in the coming years.
Finally, toward the end of May, the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees and Board of Governors held a two-day joint meeting on the Pullman campus and I was asked to present a summary of the College of Arts and Sciences’ achievements at the final session of this distinguished collection of University supporters. The trustees and governors include Scott Carson, former CEO of the Boeing Company and chair of the University’s current capital campaign; Jack Creighton, strategic director for Madrona Venture Group; Paul Casey, president and owner of Casey Communications; and many other prominent individuals committed to Washington State University.
Ours was the only academic-based presentation at the spring meeting. I was honored to be able to provide a window to the college’s collective scholarly, research, and creative accomplishments and to share the positive effect their activities as fundraisers have on our day-to-day lives.
For example, distinguished professorships and student scholarships are two ways we attract and retain the “best and brightest” to Washington State. These honors provide both financial incentive and public recognition for the recipients. The awards are often made possible through the generosity of individual donors—alumni paying forward the gift of education, families honoring a memory, or adopted Cougars who believe deeply in our mission.
Currently, the college and its academic units award more than two dozen professorships and more than 400 scholarships annually. As impressive as those numbers may sound, when put in context of the size of our enterprise, both are a small percentage of the eligible pool. We have many talented people in our college and welcome new opportunities to invest in our future.
Contributions to the WSU capital campaign can be directed also toward investment in our infrastructure. Earlier this year, with the support of the University administration, the noted architectural firm nbbj was retained to provide an in-depth evaluation of the College of Arts and Sciences facilities: our classrooms, labs, study rooms, office spaces, everything. Working with faculty, staff, and the WSU campus planners, their task is to develop long-term proposals to enhance the College of Arts and Sciences’ physical spaces and, by extension, continue to improve both student and faculty scholarship.
Summer is in full swing now, but the Pullman campus is far from quiet. In addition to the roughly 5,000 current students taking classes and the hundreds of middle and high school students visiting for various sports and academic camps, Pullman will host nearly 4,000 incoming students and their parents during the 12 ALIVE! orientation sessions held throughout June and July. All this activity is a welcome reminder of our mission as we continue to prepare for another outstanding year.