The Tri-Cities remembered one of its strongest champions of economic development and most generous donors to community causes, Bob Ferguson, on Thursday, July 6. Ferguson was the first chairman of the Tri-City Development Council, then called “the Tri-Cities Nuclear Industrial Council,” and was a champion for nuclear power, Hanford nuclear reservation site cleanup and economic development in the Tri-Cities.
A year before his death he donated $500,000 to Washington State University Tri-Cities to endow a faculty position in energy and environment as the first step toward launching WSU Tri-Cities Institute for Northwest Energy Futures. It is envisioned by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to become a center recognized globally for its innovation in developing clean energy sources and technology.
Ferguson said when he made the donation that he’d like to see a graduate degree offered for students studying the complex economic, political, technical and social issues of global climate change.
Previously the Ferguson family donated $100,000 to start the William R. Wiley Scholarship for WSU Tri-Cities students. The scholarship honored Ferguson’s friend Wiley, a former Pacific Northwest National Laboratory director, and is helping minority students studying science, technology, engineering, math or nursing in the Tri-Cities.
Four WSU CAS undergraduates recently received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship toward study abroad programs of their choice. Cougs will use the funding to study in Taiwan, Italy, Kenya, and Japan.
“The Gilman scholarship is a federally funded initiative and the top study abroad award in higher education,” said Tiffany Prizzi, senior advisor in International Programs-Global Learning. “Besides looking great on a resume, this award is an open door to international opportunities and consideration for post-graduate awards, such as the Fulbright and Rhodes scholarships.
Students receiving the award, their year in school, their major, and their intended study abroad destination are Ryan Lewis, senior, Anthropology and Chinese, one semester in Taiwan; Ramiro Lopez-Guerra, junior, Social Sciences, one month in Florence, Italy; Darya Maysam, junior, Animal Sciences and Mathematics, 6 weeks in Kenya; and Jarely Aragon Ramirez, senior, Linguistics and Political Science, one semester in Nagasaki, Japan. All the students are from Washington state.
Little did Washington State University Global Campus student Chris Jose know that he would be celebrating commencement on May 6 with another milestone that very same morning: the birth of his first child.
“She wasn’t due for a couple more weeks, but she decided to come early,” said Jose, who received his Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences at the hybrid ceremony. “I guess she wanted to celebrate with us.”
Due to complications, Chris and his wife Kim checked into Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington on May 2, days before he was set to graduate. Over the course of the next four days, Kim would go through a long process of induced labor.
Finally, at 3:35 a.m. on the morning of commencement, Aaliyah-Iris Tabaquin Jose entered the world weighing seven pounds three ounces.
“We joked afterwards that she was waiting because she wanted to make a grand entrance on the day of graduation,” Chris said.
Only a few hours after the birth, Chris’ joy would be immortalized forever as he appeared live on screen at the Global Campus commencement ceremony to raucous applause. He was standing in a hospital room, proudly holding Aaliyah-Iris in his arms with a huge smile on his face. Kim, lying in the hospital bed next to him, held his diploma cover.
Forty-one years after being accepted to WSU — and after donating about $31 million to students in need of tuition help — Gary Rubens earns his degree in Pullman.
Gary Rubens first considered attending college in 1981 after he graduated from Issaquah (Wash.) High School, but even after being accepted to Washington State University he found the cost of the college education too much to afford.
Rubens instead chose to enter the workforce, where he would build a successful lighting supply company, ATG Stores, based in Kirkland, Wash., which he sold to the Lowe’s Corporation in 2011.
This sale got him thinking about what he wanted to do next.
“I thought back about what I wanted to do to help others and I just realized that I should really focus on helping people that are just like me, that have high potential but low opportunities,” Rubens said.
More than four decades after he graduated high school, Rubens walked across the stage at the Washington State University commencement ceremonies in Pullman to receive his degree in the social sciences with a focus on psychology and sociology.
Throughout the better part of a decade, award-winning author, lecturer, and lepidopterist Robert Michael Pyle worked on a spoken-word album in which poetry about the natural world meets acoustic instruments played mostly by grunge icon Krist Novoselić (BA, Social Sciences ’16), founding member of and bassist for Nirvana.
Butterfly Launches from Spar Pole, released last fall, began with one “guitar-poem” written and arranged for a meeting at a southwest Washington Grange. The album was rounded out over the following decade while Pyle, winner of two National Outdoor Book Awards as well as a John Burroughs Medal and Guggenheim Fellowship, worked on other projects. He has two books—The Tidewater Reach and Nature Matrix: New & Selected Essays—slated for publication in 2020. Another, Where Bigfoot Walks, is being made into a movie.
Here, Pyle talks about how he and Novoselić met, what it was like to work together, whether they might work together again, and more.