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Dr. Mike Trevisan

Dean's Perspectives

Your support, our gratitude, their education

By Phyllis Erdman
Interim Dean

Fundraising, an increasingly vital function at the College of Education, is equal parts art and science, altruism and pragmatism. As interim dean, I find that asking for money requires confidence that we are worthy of support. It also requires humility. We are keenly aware that donors can choose any number of good causes to support.

With all of that in mind, this holiday season seems the perfect time to thank the many people who contribute to our college, and to acknowledge the reasons they do so. I can’t begin to name all of our donors here, but will mention a handful to illustrate the kinds of gifts we receive to the benefit of students and the future of us all.

Many people put their money where their passion is. The late Dr. Vitt Ferrucci, a veterinarian, saw the need for improved science and mathematics education. So he established a fellowship that each summer gives one exceptional high school teacher a paid sabbatical to work on a project with WSU’s expert educators. Inga Kromann, a retired Cougar faculty member whose specialty was children’s literature, established an award for teacher preparation students who create their own books for kids.

Some donors are eager to honor the important people in their lives.  Denny, Scott and Mary Rutherford established an educational leadership fellowship for graduate students, in honor of their parents.  Jennifer Tiegs paid tribute to Barbara Dunn, “my first genuine teacher,” by purchasing a leaf on our Legacy Tree.

Some money comes with only one awesome direction: to spend it on what we see as the college’s greatest needs.  Among those unrestricted funds is a recent endowed gift from Mark and Patt Suwyn.

Donors often ask us to give some examples of ways they can help. Here are a few items on our wish list:
• Money for travel, printing and other costs associated with recruiting students to our programs. State budget cuts have drastically diminished our recruitment efforts. We especially need to attract students to such high-need teaching areas as special education, English language learning, and science.
• Support for our Globalization, Diversity and Education Conference. This remarkable annual event draws educators from many disciplines, and from around the world, to Spokane.
• Graduate fellowships.  Many students are attracted by the opportunity to work with our world-class researchers, but simply can’t afford it. Likewise, our faculty need the best and the brightest in their master’s and doctoral programs.

Kim Holapa, our director of development, is a pro at matching the desires of our friends with the needs of the college. Please contact her if you have questions.  If you’d like to make an online donation to WSU, you can target your gift to the College of Education.

Again, our thanks to all for your support—financial, professional, and emotional—during the past year.