Committing to service

Dear WSU Community,

Welcome to the start of a new year! I hope you had an opportunity to relax over the winter break and spend quality time with your loved ones. Noel and I were able to attend our son’s hooding ceremony at Georgia Tech, celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary, and enjoy the holidays with some of our family in Tennessee. After the isolation we all experienced during the height of the pandemic, the time spent in the company of others feels even more precious.

As we head into another semester, I invite you to consider how you might meaningfully engage with your community and network of Cougs nationwide. As a land‑grant institution, Washington State University was established to support the public good by providing quality education and resources to Washington residents. I am immensely proud of what we’ve accomplished in pursuit of this goal, but there is still work to be done. All of us have a part to play in contributing to the health, well‑being, and success of the people and places around us.

In alignment with this ideal, WSU is proud to honor the profound legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. the week of Monday, January 16, with a systemwide service initiative. The Cougs Collecting 4 the Community (CC4C) book drive will give the gift of reading to those who struggle to obtain reading materials. A small donation — whether it be a used magazine, paperback, or hardcover — is an easy way to give back to those in need and can go a long way in these commonly overlooked settings.

The university will also host a series of systemwide events in recognition of the National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday, January 17. The WSU-sponsored activities are intended to foster culturally and racially compassionate practices that will support efforts to create a more equitable society from which we can all benefit. There will be a number of virtual and in‑person offerings available throughout the day, and I encourage you to set aside time in your schedule to take part in these essential conversations.

These efforts will not be isolated to a few days next week but should act as a catalyst for further engagement over the course of the new year. Issues such as racism, bias, inequity, and injustice are not peripheral to higher education. It will take organizational and individual collaboration to create sustainable change. This spring, let us all lean in and commit to doing the work for the betterment of our state and society.

Go Cougs!


President, WSU System