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Washington State University
College of Education

August 2009

Celebrating Judy and Len

The Lewis Alumni Centre was filled Friday afternoon with family, friends and co-workers of our late colleagues, Judy Mitchell and Len Foster.  Some came from across campus, some from across the state, some from across the country.  For those of you who couldn’t be there to share the warm occasion, here are some photos.

Family and friends gather to share memories

After noting Judy’s and Len’s accomplishments despite the hurdles faced by a woman, and by a black man, WSU President Elson Floyd emphasized that “both of them transcended race and gender. They were good people.”  It was a sentiment confirmed by the many words that washed over us during those two hours. Here are a few of them.

About Judy

Judy was energizing, uplifting, courageous, fun-loving, nocturnal and occasionally tardy. … She was most proud of the new faculty and staff;  she hired 75 percent of them in her first 10 years. — Walt Gmelch

She had good instincts. She knew when to push, and knew when to back off.  She was not afraid of big ideas. … Going to a basketball game with Judy was just an experience.  She wasn’t bashful about telling players what to do and how to do it. And she knew what she was talking about. —  Muriel Oaks

Judy, I’m in awe of the stamina you had to keep going and going and going. You had more frequent flier miles than anyone. — Lynda Paznokas

She was the dean of deans at WSU. … Sometimes she crossed her arms, furrowed her brow and would lean forward and say ‘Now, you do know…’ and I would know that I was toast.  –– Warwick Bayly

About Len

Professionally, he was my greatest cheerleader.  Personally, we were united by a love of good food. — Paula Groves Price

He cared about his students as if we were his own children.  — Xyanthe Neider

Len never cooked. He didn’t know how to use a dishwasher … He was an enigma. He grew up in difficult times in the South, in poverty. I only learned that after he died. He loved my son. He was part of my family.  — Steve Fisk

He was hard-working, well-respected. He was a mentor. He told us to make no excuses, strive for the best. He always bragged about us and he always found our strength. — Paul Pitre

Len Foster and Michael Jackson died in the same week. Len would have liked that. — Kelly Ward

At the end of the celebration, Interim Associate Dean Cori Mantle-Bromley announced that the College of Education has asked WSU to name the sky bridge between Cleveland Hall and the Education Addition in honor of Judy, and the Education Graduate Organization office in honor of Len.  Then everyone joined in Judy’s favorite music, the WSU fight song.

Magazine highlights alumni success, college research

Magazine features Justin, at left, and Raphael

Asked to compare her two sons who hold education doctorates from WSU, Consuelo Guillory describes Raphael as the smart one who threw himself into everything he did and Justin as the cute one, “all dimples and charisma.” But both boys, whose heritage is both Native American and African American, grew up with ample doses of brains and personality, as well as eagerness to share the benefits of education.

Justin (’08) is dean of academics and distance learning at Northwest Indian College. Raphael (’02), is an associate professor at Eastern Washington University. Their success is chronicled on page four and five of the latest Insight Magazine, published by WSU’s Division of Student Affairs, Equity and Diversity.  The College of Education is well-represented in the elegant publication. There are additional articles on our efforts to address two achievement gaps: the one that exists between Native American students and their non-Indian peers in Washington state (p. 19) and that which separates minority students from others in Spokane public schools (p. 34).  An article from the Tri-Cities campus (p. 36), by Associate Professor Stephanie Bauman, mentions Associate Professor Michele Acker-Hocevar‘s research into “additive schooling”– which recognizes students and families for what they bring to schools, rather than what they lack.

More reading matter
What Ever Happened to Grade Skipping?
“Nurturing gifted students and saving money don’t have to be at odds,” write Laura Vanderkam and Richard Whitmire in Education Week.
An idealistic young teacher explains why she’s quitting in the Washington Post.
A Virtual Game to Teach Children Languages. Wiz World Online teaches children how to converse in other languages, which can be hard to learn in the classroom. From the New York Times technology blog.