Dean A.G. Rud
A.G. Rud

“WSU did it for us. We went over there as high school sweethearts, we got into education, and we owe a lot of it to WSU.”–Greg Stock (Education ’71) in “Some help along the way,” on why he and wife, Lynette, included the College of Education in their estate planning.

We hear many reasons why people choose to support education. Sometimes it’s because someone helped them. Sometimes it’s because they see the connections between excellent teachers, focused research and a strong economy. Whatever the reason, the Campaign for Washington State University offers a fine opportunity to give.

The campaign was launched publicly last fall with the theme, “Because the World Needs Big Ideas,” and a goal of $1 billion. That amount includes the WSU College of Education’s $18.5 million goal. We’re already 75 percent there, thanks to major donations from people such as the Stocks. We’re sure we can reach our campaign goal, and perhaps exceed it, by the end of the campaign in 2015.

Map showing College of Education alumni
WSU College of Education alumni in the U.S.

One reason for our optimism: College of Education graduates are among the most generous Cougar alumni. WSU Foundation records confirm that 16.8 percent of education alumni contribute money to WSU last year, compared to 15.9 percent for all Cougar alums. We all know that’s not because teachers, administrators, counselors and coaches are among Washington State’s best paid graduates! Rather, it’s a sign of your generous spirits, your enthusiasm for helping others and the values that brought you into your profession.

For the fun of it, we calculated how much each of our 24,422 education alumni would need to donate for us to raise $4.5 million and meet our goal. It would be $184 per person. If 20 percent of you were to contribute — a figure not much above the number who give now — it would be $921 per person.

Whatever amount you can give, you can rest assured we’ll spend it wisely. The campaign is a chance for us to help fulfill the potential of our students and faculty. Gifts of any size demonstrate confidence in College of Education programs. Our “big ideas”  focus on four priorities:

  • STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics education)
  • educational leadership
  • diversity
  • research/assessment.

Our development team and I are crossing the state and, at times, the nation to meet with active and potential donors. We let them know about the three ways they can support us: faculty fellowships that benefit the priorities mentioned above; scholarships, which are critical in this time of rising tuition; and unrestricted support, which gives us the flexibility to address needs as they arise.

In the spring, the WSU Foundation held its meeting on the beautiful Tri-Cities campus. We had an opportunity to tour the STEM-focused Delta High School in Richland, site of professional development work by our faculty in math and science education. Nancy (Education ’63) and Ben Ellison (Engineering and Architecture ’62) took the tour, and were able to see firsthand the effects of their own support on the work done by Associate Professor Amy Roth McDuffie in improving mathematics instruction.

Mark (Sciences ’67) and Patt (Education ’67) Suwyn have chosen to support the College’s highest priorities by providing funding to the Dean’s Excellence Fund. Their commitment comes from a desire to give where their investment can make a fundamental difference, such as improving undergraduate STEM education  and preparing educational leaders in our statewide Ed.D. program.

To those of you already supporting the college, we extend our heartfelt thanks. If you haven’t given, please consider doing so. You’ll find more information about how to contribute on our “alumni and friends” page.