As the leaves begin to fall and the days grow shorter, I am reminded that change is often a requirement and a precursor for growth. These days, there is no shortage of change happening in and around the system.
Thanks to the collective efforts of faculty and staff, we have seen a significant increase in the level of investment from our donors, our corporate partners, the state, and the federal government over the last year. While this support is often allocated for specific areas or initiatives, it all contributes to our greater mission: to provide an accessible, exceptional education and improve the quality of life for Washington residents.
A large part of ensuring we can fulfill that mission hinges on our ability to provide adequately equipped spaces for the university community to work, learn, and conduct cutting-edge research. This fall, I am especially proud of our progress in laying the foundation for a brighter future across the WSU system and the state at large.
To kickstart a lengthy list of achievements, we recently held a ribbon cutting for the renovation of the Medicine Building at WSU Spokane at the start of the semester. The successfully renovated facility marks an incredible milestone in the growth of the health sciences campus and will go a long way in supporting the education of future healthcare professionals who will provide transformative care to communities across the state.
Since August 1, we have also broken ground on three new facilities that will be housed on the Pullman campus:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service Plant Sciences Building was funded entirely by the federal government and promises to be a hub for discovery and a resource for farmers in the Palouse and beyond.
- The Taylor Sports Complex, paid for entirely by private donations, will be a state-of-the-art facility that will set our student-athletes up for success on and off the field.
- The Schweitzer Engineering Hall will better prepare WSU engineers and architects to meet the evolving needs of their industries for decades to come. This $80 million building was made possible through a unique public/private partnership that required the support of the Washington State Legislature, corporate sponsors, and donors alike.
The Life Sciences Building on the Vancouver campus is also more than 60% complete, on target to open in late spring of 2024. Funded predominantly through support from the Legislature, there is a concurrent and ongoing philanthropic campaign to support the construction of a greenhouse, provide student scholarships and faculty fellowships, and add additional research and teaching laboratory equipment.
Each of these spaces will transform the landscape of our campuses and serve as the setting for an entirely new set of stories about Washington State University. Stories that will feature lessons learned and discoveries made as a result of having access to these facilities and the equipment they will house. Stories that will showcase our incredible research portfolio, talented faculty, and excellent student support services. Stories that will underscore our commitment to our mission.
I look forward to incorporating these accounts into the larger narrative of what can be achieved with a WSU education.
As the academic year progresses, I will relay a few of the many highlights taking place across the university system. I hope you read them and recognize that while change may sometimes bring unexpected challenges, WSU is continuing to adapt and move in the right direction.
Thank you for all you do, and as always, Go Cougs!
KIRK H. SCHULZ
President, WSU System