Today represents a historic moment for Washington State University as we assume leadership responsibility for the University Center North Puget Sound in Everett. Area residents have long advocated for an academic affiliation with a research university, and we are pleased to be their partner.
The need for additional higher education offerings in the Everett area is clear and well documented. In fact, Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties are among the most educationally underserved in the state. I want to thank Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and other local community leaders for proactively seeking a partnership with WSU to meet that need and for their support of this transition over the past several years.
I also want to thank members of the Washington Legislature for their foresight and support. In 2011, they voted to transfer the leadership and day-to-day management responsibilities of the center to WSU. They also allocated $10 million for design and pre-construction of a new 95,000-square-foot facility that will be sited on the Everett Community College campus.
Finally, I want to thank Bob Drewel and Paul Pitre, chancellor and campus dean, respectively, at WSU North Puget Sound, for their energy and thoughtful leadership through the transition process.
The seven education institutions currently delivering third- and fourth-year instruction at the former University Center continue as our partners. In addition to their fine offerings, WSU is committed to expanding program offerings, especially in the STEM disciplines. As the state’s only land-grant research university, we are committed to aligning our resources with the needs of the businesses, industry and residents of our state.
It was 25 years ago this year that the Washington Legislature established WSU’s urban campuses at Spokane, Tri Cities and Vancouver. Today they are critical to the educational and economic well being of their communities and serve as testimonies to the value of increased access to higher education. WSU Puget Sound at Everett is a step toward providing that same potential.