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Washington State University
Office of the President Letter to Campus

Spring semester commencement postponed; two options planned

Dear WSU Students:

I’m writing today to let you know that—after long and careful deliberation—we have made the very difficult decision to postpone traditional May commencement ceremonies until at least August at all of our campuses.

In an effort to replicate this joyous occasion as best we can in light of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we will schedule two opportunities to celebrate the achievements of our new graduates:

Each campus will reschedule an in‑person commencement celebration on a date to be determined. WSU Pullman commencement exercises are now scheduled for August 8, and the other campuses will announce dates soon.
On May 9, we will hold our first … » More …

COVID 19: Together, we can do so much

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

While times of crisis bring on understandable anxiety, stress, and immense challenges, moments like the one we are living right now also bring out the best in human nature.

As you know, we as a university community have had to make a series of very difficult decisions during the past two weeks as we navigate the effects of COVID‑19. We have regrettably, and sadly, upended the spring semester plans of thousands of our students, faculty, and staff.

But the current situation demands decisions of a magnitude most of us have never had to face in our lifetime. We likely will need … » More …

WSU Pullman commits to distance learning throughout spring semester/cancels Mom’s Weekend

Following guidance provided by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Thursday, Washington State University has decided that its Pullman campus will continue to use distance learning methods for the duration of the spring semester. WSU had previously left open the possibility of a return to face‑to‑face teaching in Pullman at some point during the spring 2020 semester.

The WSU Pullman campus will remain open during this period and residential, dining and healthcare facilities will continue to operate.

This decision only impacts WSU Pullman at this time. The University’s other four campuses may still return to in‑person teaching prior to the end of the semester, depending on local needs and … » More …

Washington State University to move in person classes to online formats following spring break

WSU to transition from face‑to‑face instruction to distance learning following spring break.
WSU facilities will remain open during this period.
Employees will report to work as normal.
Each campus will be communicating their plans directly.

All campuses in the Washington State University system will transition from face‑to‑face classes, testing, and advising to distance delivery beginning on Monday, March 23, following WSU’s spring break. This move is being made to allow for increased social distancing in light of the spread of the COVID‑19 illness in the state of Washington.

WSU’s five physical campuses and other locations across the state will remain open during this period to … » More …

Modernization extension: Workday launch moved to Jan. 2021

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As many of you know, moving from paper processes and 1970s computer systems into the cloud to manage our system-wide finances, human resources, payroll, and post-award grants has been a huge undertaking.

Workday, the system we have purchased as part of the Modernization Initiative, will provide a tremendous boost to our day-to-day business operations, allowing us, for example, to see budget and award amounts in real time, and making it easier to update personal and financial information all in one place.

However, we want to make sure our new system is completely ready and the transition is as smooth as possible. … » More …

The system strategic plan: next steps

February 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy end of February! This is the time of year when I get so tired of winter that I allow myself to imagine tropical weather settling over the Palouse starting March 1. For our colleagues who are winter sports enthusiasts, the beginning of March typically signals the end of skiing and other snow sports for 6 or 7 months. Meanwhile, for me March is when I get the Airstream ready for the summer camping season—I can’t wait.

I encourage everyone to participate in the 2020 U.S. Census effort that kicks off April 1. This once-a-decade endeavor provides critical information … » More …

Draft strategic plan sets WSU’s course

January 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy new year! I hope you had some quality time away during the holiday break and that the beginning of the semester is going well.

As we begin 2020, I cannot help but reflect on how fantastic the past decade has been from the University’s standpoint.

In 2010, WSU’s system enrollment was 25,989, research expenditures totaled $304 million, and philanthropic support amounted to $97.9 million for the prior year. The nation had just emerged from the Great Recession, which led to an unprecedented set of reductions in financial support for public higher education, including WSU.

Today, we enroll nearly 31,500 students, research expenditures surpass … » More …

Dr. King’s legacy challenges us to serve

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

With a legacy that has withstood the hands of time and forever shaped civil rights around the world, there is so much to choose from in celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Champion of equality. Advocate of change through nonviolent means. Voice of the nation’s conscience in addressing discrimination, harassment, and economic disparity.

As we approach the national commemoration of Dr. King’s life next Monday and continue our system‑wide tributes next week, I would like to challenge all of us to reflect on a question that this towering pillar for equality once posed.

“Is your heart right? If your heart isn’t … » More …

Vital system planning efforts continue

November 2019

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend some time with family and friends over the holiday. Noel and I will enjoy an early Thanksgiving lunch before heading to Seattle for the Apple Cup football game against the University of Washington on Friday.

At the November Board of Regents meeting, University leaders reported on many of the ongoing high‑level institutional initiatives that will shape our future. I want to provide some updates and share my perspective about 3 of those initiatives.

System‑wide strategic plan

We continue to move forward with the development of our first comprehensive system strategic plan. Following … » More …

Ramping up efforts to keep our students safe

By all accounts, Samuel Martinez was a 19‑year‑old you would love to hang out with.

Sam was funny, bright, and caring. Polite. Serious. Responsible. Fiercely loyal to his family and friends. He loved sports, and he volunteered often for community service projects.

Knowing Sam’s virtues makes coming to terms with his tragic death November 12 at his fraternity house in Pullman all the more heartbreaking. Losing a family member hurts. When that family member is young and brimming with potential, the pain is gut-wrenching.

As our community grieves Sam, I extend my deepest condolences on behalf of the entire Cougar nation to the Martinez family, Sam’s … » More …