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Office of the President News and Notes

Condolences and support for our Jewish community

Dear Cougar Community:

Please join me in expressing heartfelt condolences and unshakable support for our Jewish brothers and sisters—across the nation and in our local communities—in the wake of the horrific shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The violent hate that has torn apart the lives of countless Americans from Pennsylvania to California in recent years is a tragic aberration. It is not who we are in this country. For nearly 250 years, the United States has stood for tolerance, freedom, and compassion.

Terrorists can shatter our lives, but they cannot touch our core beliefs. Despite our imperfections, we are a people of humanity … » More …

Respectful dialogue essential to pursuit of truth

Dear Cougar Community:

The free exchange of ideas is a cornerstone of American democracy. It is also central to our academic mission—the creation and dissemination of new knowledge. Sometimes, new ideas can lead to conflict. With the 2018 midterm elections just around the corner, we will be exposed to opinions and beliefs that run counter to our own. In a democratic society, respectful disagreement in pursuit of truth is essential.

Free expression is more powerful when we consider the perspectives of the people with whom we are communicating and when we approach discussion and debate with a spirit of curiosity, humility, generosity, and care. Observation, … » More …

Goals for the current academic year

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Greetings as we rapidly approach the middle of the semester. Does it seem to you, as it does to me, that we just kicked off the academic year a week or two ago?

From a big-picture viewpoint, the semester is off to a rousing start system-wide. Record enrollment and research and development expenditures, significant progress in restoring our fiscal health, and tremendous performances by our student athletes have made for a spectacular fall.

I want to express my appreciation and thanks to all of you—faculty, staff, and students on all of our campuses—for working together to ensure such a smooth start. … » More …

Recent achievements provide optimism about future

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Welcome to the beginning of the fall semester! We are delighted to have everyone back and fully reengaged with our students and the University—whether you are part of a campus in Everett, Pullman, Spokane, Tri‑Cities, or Vancouver; part of the Global Campus; or involved in programs at our Research and Extension sites or at Bremerton, Yakima, or elsewhere across the state.

We have much to be proud of as we start the 2018-19 academic year. In fact, our recent achievements provide much optimism about the future and the opportunities that await us. Among the reasons for confidence:

While we are … » More …

The benefits of Pac-12 membership

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy mid-summer to all of you.

I hope that each of you has enjoyed (or soon will enjoy) some time away from the University to unwind and disconnect before fall semester begins. Noel and I were able to get away in late June and early July, and we returned refreshed and ready to go for the arrival of a record number of students across the WSU system.

During our summer vacationing, Noel and I do not read work-related email and stay off of social media. In fact, we basically unplug from all electronic devices. While it may seem hard to do, … » More …

Remembering John Gardner

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news that John Gardner, whose leadership played an integral role in guiding the University to several notable achievements during the past decade, passed away peacefully at his home on Bainbridge Island near Seattle yesterday morning.

There is no doubt that we are a better university today thanks to John’s leadership. From leading our economic development activities, to working with our partners to advance WSU’s clean technology initiatives, to guiding our $1 billion fundraising campaign to a successful conclusion, John’s legacy will shape the University’s future for decades to come.

But more than the achievements, … » More …

A closer look: Drive to 25 metrics

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy summer to all of you across our beautiful state! This is the third summer Noel and I have lived in the Palouse, and we continue to enjoy the season’s long days and cool nights—ideal weather for our favorite outdoor activities. I also enjoy the more relaxed pace in Pullman during the summer months and appreciate the opportunities to explore the local area a bit more on the weekends.

Our Board of Regents meets 5 times a year to conduct University business. These meetings typically take place over a 2‑day period. An afternoon is allotted for committee meetings, which are followed … » More …

Addressing audit findings; moving forward with modernization initiative

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Congratulations on completion of another successful academic year. Celebrating commencement with our students and their families as our graduates take the next step in their life journey is always a richly gratifying highlight of the academic year.

I very much appreciate the role that all of you throughout our statewide community have played in making the WSU experience so positive for our undergraduate and graduate students. Thank you!

Many of you likely have seen media reports about the results of a recent internal audit of WSU athletics. This routine audit, which was discussed at the Board of Regents meeting earlier this … » More …

Celebrating excellence as the semester heads for the homestretch

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Spring has arrived at last. And while we still have traces of snow across the Palouse, signs of spring are popping up daily—here and at all of our campuses. I encourage you to take a few minutes for a leisurely stroll wherever you are located to take in the sights and smells of the season. I look forward to the increasing hours of daylight and sunshine that await us in the months to come.

When I was growing up I enjoyed riddle and joke books. This was a particular favorite from Bennett Cerf’s Book of Riddles:

Q:  Why did the boy … » More …

Drive to 25: Alive and well, and advancing

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy end of February. I hope all is well with you as we continue the run-up to spring break.

Like many of you, I suspect, our unseasonably mild temperatures and lack of snow across much of the state earlier this month prompted me to begin envisioning favorite outdoor spring and summer activities, including the upcoming camping season.

Then, of course, winter intervened to deliver a cold dose of reality, complete with the lowest temperatures of the season. Despite that temporary setback, I continue to anticipate the beginning of March and the joys spring promises, including longer days warmed by increasing sunshine, the … » More …

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