Dear WSU Community:

Greetings from French Administration. Congratulations and thanks to each one of you—faculty, staff, leadership, students, alumni, and friends—for your contributions to making the fall semester so successful throughout our statewide enterprise.

Commencement on December 8 was a fitting way to publicly celebrate one of our most important moments of the semester: the graduation of some 800 students who marked the end of one journey and the beginning of another. It is always fun and deeply gratifying to share this life-changing milestone with new graduates and their families.


For me, a portion of December has always been reserved for some quiet reflection, a time to contemplate the past calendar year. The pace of a public university president often is frantic due to the day‑to‑day demands of the job. As a result, I sometimes end up dwelling on all of the things that I didn’t pull off rather than focusing on successes.

As I look back at 2018, the list of the University’s achievements is long. We enjoyed the largest student enrollment and highest research expenditures ever. We recorded the third‑best fundraising year in WSU history, and philanthropic support continued to grow at all of our campuses.

We received reaccreditation through 2025, accompanied by an unusually large number of commendations for various institutional efforts. Our growing medical school continued to make strides in the quest to improve health care for Washingtonians. Our fall intercollegiate athletic teams performed brilliantly and rallied Cougar pride to a fever pitch.

Importantly, we are well on our way to improved fiscal health.

None of these accomplishments would have been possible without highly talented individuals coming together for a united cause. I sincerely appreciate the efforts and contributions of everyone to our mission:

  • Thank you to our faculty members, who repeatedly go the extra mile for students. Faculty are the core of all great universities, and the amazing stories I hear from our students confirm that you are dedicated to providing a transformational educational experience. Heartfelt kudos to you not only for being available to students nearly 24/7 through email and social media to answer questions about course material, but also for often serving as mentors and confidants.
  • Thank you to our fantastic staff members. So many of you work directly with our students or on their behalf on a daily basis providing advice and guidance, keeping campuses safe and clean, and interacting with parents, future students, elected officials, and alumni. The customer-first outlook and the pride you bring to the job each day is outstanding. A transformational student experience occurs only if all of us focus on doing our best all of the time. You are an incredibly adept staff, and your hard work makes WSU a fantastic place to live, learn, and play.
  • Thank you to our students. I continue to be impressed with your ability to accomplish so much as you balance the competing demands of a 21st‑century college student. Your positive attitude both in and out of the classroom makes WSU a better place. I applaud your enthusiasm for the University and your commitment to the Cougar spirit that has defined WSU for more than 128 years. Ensuring your success and growth motivates our faculty and staff daily—we want to see each and every one of you graduate and go on to change the world.
  • Thank you to our University leaders. Academic leadership at a public research university brings new challenges daily. There is never enough time or financial resources to do everything that we envision. I value your careful, sensitive deliberations in making decisions. I understand the demands that you face on a daily basis, and I am indebted to you for all of the occasions that you sacrifice time with family and friends to fulfill your leadership role. I am also pleased by the spirit of shared governance, which continues to grow. I look forward to continued collaboration with faculty, staff, and students to address our challenges as we explore new possibilities.
  • Thank you to our alumni and friends. So much of what we do today as an institution would not happen without this dedicated group of individuals who commit themselves to ensuring a great experience for our students. Numerous alumni and other supporters serve on advisory boards, assist WSU financially, and help recruit the next generation of students. I am thankful for your continued investment of time, talent, and treasure in our University.

Finally, I want to express my appreciation for the opportunity to serve as president of Washington State University. It is an honor, and I am filled with immense pride over the difference our University makes, both in a big‑picture sense and on a one‑to‑one basis. As we continue to advance the Drive to 25, I look forward to the bright future ahead.

However you may celebrate this holiday season, I wish you much happiness and laughter, good food, good cheer, and good times spent with those who matter most. May the new year bring you health, peace, and joy.

Go Cougs!
Kirk