Celebrating our progress over the last year

Dear WSU Community,

As another semester comes to an end, I would like to celebrate the progress we have made over the last year. From resuming in‑person instruction and events to advancing OneWSU planning and installing our inaugural chancellor of the Pullman campus—a lot has changed for the university community.

In June 2020, leadership adopted the OneWSU initiative as part of the WSU System strategic plan to better meet the needs of our evolving system. The success we have experienced throughout this transition has reaffirmed its necessity. Since shifting operational leadership responsibilities for the Pullman campus to Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton, I have had more opportunities to visit our campuses, advocate for system needs at the local, state, and federal levels, and increase fundraising efforts to advance university goals and objectives for all six campuses.

Philanthropic success

While the last few years have been strained in the wake of COVID‑19 budget trimming, WSU is on a positive trajectory thanks to the support of our donors and state legislators.

This year we are on pace to record the highest level of philanthropic activity since 2015, with our fiscal year-to-date gift totals exceeding $126 million. We also received one of the largest gifts in WSU history from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Their combined $20 million donation will support the construction of a new student success building for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture in Pullman.

A number of anonymous supporters contributed to this extraordinary philanthropic milestone over the last few months. The WSU Department of Accounting in the Carson College of Business recently received $1.5 million to establish an endowment that will assist the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and increase focus on high‑impact learning practices to motivate student engagement. Also, $2.2 million was anonymously gifted to the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. With this gift, the college will launch the Rural Health Initiative which will enable pharmacy students to offer expanded health care services across rural Washington.

Gifts like these are an investment in the continued success of our people and a glowing commendation of students, staff, faculty, and programs across the six‑campus system. We are grateful and honored to be the recipient of these investments and will utilize the funds to bolster the next generation of Coug industry leaders and game-changers.

Representing WSU

After demonstrating incredible adaptability and professionalism during the pandemic, our top priority heading into the 2022 legislative session was securing increased compensation for all employees in the new fiscal year. We received $7.5 million in annual funds to achieve that end, with the Washington State Legislature agreeing to increase the state’s share in those raises. Though this is a monumental step in the right direction, we will continue to press for appropriate compensation for current and future WSU employees in the 2023 legislative session.

In addition to obtaining mass salary increases, our team made great strides in expanding university programming. As a result of their hard work, the Washington Legislature provided over $2 million in new funding to aid in the development of a cybersecurity degree that will be offered by the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture at the Everett, Pullman, and Tri‑Cities campuses. The Legislature also fully funded our joint request with the University of Washington (UW) to establish a psychiatric pharmacy residency program. Two of our residents will be placed in clinical settings in eastern Washington in 2023, while UW will place two residents at their forthcoming mental health teaching hospital. These additional programs will allow us to better advance our land‑grant mission by providing increased access to fields with a broad societal impact.

In closing

I extend my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your hard work and dedication to WSU. For many of us, this was a year characterized by change as we moved out of isolation and back into our classrooms and communities. I am proud of the cumulative efforts that have allowed us to engage without barriers once again, and I appreciate your support in making that happen.

If you are able, I encourage you to take some time this summer to step away from work and re‑energize. There will be plenty to do come fall, and you will hear all about it in the new system communication that will debut this August. In a new edition that will be released every two months, I plan on showcasing the people, projects, and places that make this six‑campus system uniquely OneWSU. I am sure there will be a lot to highlight, and I look forward to seeing what we will accomplish together in the next year.

Go Cougs!

Kirk H. Schulz
System President
Washington State University