The Impact of Gifts

Every gift to the Eastern Washington University Foundation has an immediate, positive impact on the lives of EWU students.You can see examples of private financial support in action on all of Eastern’s campuses and within our communities where students, faculty and alumni conduct research, learn, collaborate on civic improvements, build careers and entertain us. We share these stories to express our gratitude for everyone who contributes to EWU student success. Thank you for your continued support!

bigIMPACTS Newsletter
Newsletter Features:

Subscribe to receive these updates by email!


We thank the individuals who contributed to the success of our students. Our generous alumni and friends made a huge impact on the students, faculty and programs of Eastern Washington University.


2012 Honor Roll of Donors
2012 Honor Roll
of Donors

Thanking all those who made a gift to the EWU Foundation during 2012


2011 Honor Roll of Donors
2011 Honor Roll
of Donors

Thanking all those who made a gift to the EWU Foundation during 2011


2010 Honor Roll of Donors
2010 Honor Roll
of Donors

Thanking all those who made a gift to the EWU Foundation during 2010


2009 Honor Roll of Donors
2009 Honor Roll
of Donors

Thanking all those who made a gift to the EWU Foundation during 2009


2008 Honor Roll of Donors
2008 Honor Roll
of Donors

Thanking all those who made a gift to the EWU Foundation during 2008


Your financial support is critical for student scholarships, endowed faculty, library resources, athletic facilities, special initiatives – the list goes on and grows in direct proportion to your creativity and generosity.



Actions speak louder than words. Bart Mihailovich is so passionate about protecting the Spokane River, he combines actions and words to advance the cause.

More...

Some say Bart Mihailovich has a lion’s courage, a driven desire to make the lives of others around him better and the humility to take issues that are important but not sexy and champion them. He has dedicated his entire career to making the world cleaner, smarter and more sustainable.

His passion for environmental issues has often come through in his writing, beginning with his days at EWU. While earning his BA in English, Bart was a reporter for the Easterner student newspaper. Since he graduated in 2006, he has written stories for the university’s Eastern and DiscoverE magazines, and in 2007, he founded an environmental issues and reporting blog, Down To Earth.

From 2010 to July 2014, Bart served as the Spokane Riverkeeper for the Spokane-based legal advocacy organization Center for Justice. In that position, he helped protect and restore the health of the Spokane River watershed by collaborating with and educating community members, and litigating when necessary. Today he is the affiliate coordinator for Waterkeeper Alliance, a global environmental association uniting more than 200 Waterkeeper organizations around the world, each dedicated to a particular body of water. Waterkeeper Alliance members emphasize citizen advocacy to promote swimmable, drinkable and fishable waters.

Bart still finds time to be an active Eagle 4 Life. He was one of the founding committee members of the Young Professionals Networking group, attends all EWU football games and many basketball games, has Eagle license plates, married a fellow Eagle, and is now one of the newest members of the EWU Alumni Association Board. Congratulations, Bart, on earning the 2014 EWU Alumni Award, Inspirational Young Alumnus.

Close



Since 1965, when he graduated from EWU, Dr. Thomas Tiffany has made significant contributions in the national medical reference laboratory business. Tom is a visionary leader who left a legacy in his joint venture partnership model between medical reference laboratory and hospital systems, which is in practice now in more than half a dozen states. And, he has influenced the scientific field with over 40 technical publications and 10 US patents.

More...

Tom Tiffany grew a regional medical reference laboratory (as you may know as PAML) of 125 employees to one of the top 10 clinical laboratories in the US, becoming one of the largest employers in Spokane with over 1600 employees today. Under his leadership, PAML received numerous national and regional prestigious awards including the 2011 Laboratory Public Service national Leadership Awards presented at the G2 Laboratory Institute meeting in Washington DC and several years of recognition in CEO Magazine as one of the top 100 employers in the state of Washington. To be more specific, in 2010 and 2011, PAML was THE TOP employer.

After graduating from Eastern, Tom also went on to receive a PHD in Biochemistry from Oregon State University in 1969 and post-Doctoral training in Clinical Biochemistry at the State University of New York in 1971. However, Eagle red still runs through his blood. A bit of a pun considering his occupation … trust me, I didn’t write that, it is in the script.

Today, Tom is still very involved at Eastern. He is an advisory board member for the College of Science, Health and Engineering and has supported EWU scholarships through partnerships for more than 20 years. But, his volunteerism has and does also include the board of directors for Christ Clinic, President of Deacons at Knox Presbyterian, Chairman for Spokane American Heart Walk, Sacred Heart Medical Center Heart Follies, Ham on Regal and chairman of Interfaith Hospitality.​

Close



One of Amanda DeBleeker’s favorite things to do is spend time with her 92-year-old grandmother. “She is my inspiration,” Amanda said. “With the help of the scholarship I received, I will someday be able to give older adults some of the care and love my grandmother has shown me.”

More...

Amanda’s interest in psychology, social work and aging studies led her to EWU and to volunteer as a long-term care ombudsman. She visits local long-term care facilities to help residents improve their quality of life and investigate complaints or concerns about their care and surroundings.

Amanda loves to spend time with her 92-year-old grandmother. “She is my inspiration,” Amanda said. “With the help of the scholarship I received, I will someday be able to give older adults some of the care and love my grandmother has shown me.”

Close



At EWU,
Andrew Delgado discovered that he could pursue a degree in recreation management to follow his dream of helping young people lead fun, healthy, active lives. “Financing college has become a challenge for many, including myself,” he said. “Over and over, I saw friends walk away from our campus with unfinished goals and broken dreams. By funding scholarships, donors lightened my financial burden, which allowed me to volunteer, continue to work toward my education and pursue a degree in a field that I am strongly passionate about.”

More...

Some children need help to have fun. Sometimes it takes fundamentals or functionality or fundraising.

Just ask Andrew. He will tell you that a small town can be a boring place for high-energy middle school kids. When Andrew volunteered more than 350 hours at the Cheney Youth Center, he put those hours into providing teens with fun after-school activities that burned energy in a positive way.

At EWU, Andrew discovered that he could pursue a degree in recreation management to follow his dream of helping young people lead fun, healthy, active lives. He also found that he could rack up hundreds of hours at the campus H.O.M.E. Program. The acronym stands for Helping Ourselves Means Education.

H.O.M.E. is dedicated to helping nontraditional students work toward higher education. The focus is on EWU student parents and their children by programming a variety of events throughout the year: fun events for children of student parents, fundraisers for childcare scholarships and gifts for children during the holiday season, and events to provide student parents with additional resources on our campus and in our community.

Andrew would have had to give up volunteering and valuable study time if he had to work full time to cover all of his tuition, fees, books and housing.

“Financing college has become a challenge for many, including myself,” he said. “Over and over, I saw friends walk away from our campus with unfinished goals and broken dreams. By funding scholarships, donors lightened my financial burden, which allowed me to continue to volunteer, work toward my education and pursue a degree in a field that I am strongly passionate about. I will continue giving back to our community, and one day I hope I can help students achieve their academic goals just as donors have helped me.”

Close



When donors support scholarships for students like Brolin Graham, they might just save a life.

More...

Brolin Graham’s decision to major in outdoor recreation goes back to when he was just 13 years old, when he became involved in the Civil Air Patrol emergency services in search and rescue and disaster relief. He trained to participate in search operations and eventually assisted in planning and instructing search and rescue training.

When Outdoor Recreation students like Brolin receive scholarships, they are not burdened with a need to work full-time jobs to pay for tuition, books and housing. Instead, they have more time to study, and they give back to their communities with volunteer hours.

Brolin volunteered as a representative to the Spokane County Search and Rescue Council and was elected to serve as president of the local chapter of Explorer Search and Rescue. Indirectly, donors who chose to support Brolin’s EWU scholarship may have saved a life.

Close



“Some of my greatest joys have come through seeing the way service I render affects the lives of others,” Curtis Barnes said. “I would not have been able to participate with service organizations, spend time at home with my two children or maintain full-time internship hours had it not been for the generous scholarship I received. Without the scholarship, I would have had to seek employment to sufficiently support my family.”

More...

What matters most to Curtis Barnes, the reason he sought his education at EWU, is his desire to help people improve their quality of life so that they can live life to the fullest.

He leads by example.

At home, Curtis is a husband and father of two daughters – a toddler and an infant. At EWU, he was a student in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. At work, he interned as a physical therapist at Rockwood Clinic; after graduating in June 2013, he became a physical therapist at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. In our community, he is a Boy Scouts leader and Rebuilding Together Spokane volunteer.

Curtis’ Boy Scouts Varsity Team (ages 14-16) and Venture Crew (16-18) have collaborated with other local charity and service organizations to clean up land and home sites. Women and children who were homeless, victims of abuse or suffering from other life-impacting stressors now inhabit some of those homes.

Rebuilding Together Spokane provides free upgrades for low-income homeowners. Curtis led a volunteer crew to build a deck on a home in north Spokane, and volunteered to help replace a fence at a home in central Spokane.

“Some of my greatest joys have come through seeing the way service I render affects the lives of others,” Curtis said. “I would not have been able to participate with service organizations, spend time at home with my two children or maintain full-time internship hours had it not been for the generous scholarship I received. Without the scholarship, I would have had to seek employment to sufficiently support my family.”

Close



In a few years, after Felicia Boyer earns her degree in nursing, she hopes to offer hope and joy to the sick and suffering, wherever they live. “I hope to travel and help people in third-world countries, but I also would like to help the less fortunate in the U.S.,” she said. “Donors’ contributions to my college scholarships have made my dreams much more attainable.”

More...

When Felicia Boyer isn’t in class or studying, she works as an office aide in the EWU President’s Office and volunteers as the leader of a middle school girls’ group at her church.

“I serve as a healthy role model and voice for navigating through life as I talk with the girls about issues they’re facing,” Felicia said. “We frequently work on service projects in the community. Several times each year, we volunteer at Mission Community Outreach Center in Spokane, which is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to give out free clothes and hygiene products for low-income families.”

In a few years, after Felicia earns her degree in nursing, she hopes to offer hope and joy to the sick and suffering, wherever they live. “I hope to travel and help people in third-world countries, but I also would like to help the less fortunate in the U.S.,” she said. “Donors’ contributions to my college scholarships have made my dreams much more attainable.”

Close



Greta Olson benefitted greatly from a scholarship that helped her pursue a double major in professional accounting and management information systems. Her skills will make her more employable, enable her to provide beneficial services to clients after she passes the CPA exam, and help her make significant contributions in her ambitious volunteer work.

More...

Greta Olson was the 2013 president of EWU Beta Alpha Psi, an honorary organization for accounting, finance and management information systems students. While at EWU, she also dedicated community service time as chair, Spokane Chapter, Sierra Club Inner City Outings; Chase Youth Foundation Board of Directors; Riverside State Park Foundation Board of Directors; and marketing coordinator, Spokane Marathon. “I plan to continue my volunteer work with these organizations as an EWU alumna,” she said.

When the professional accounting and management information systems major learned that she would be a scholarship recipient, she felt validated for her hard work. “It helped make all of the time and effort I put into school worth it,” Greta said. “The scholarship helped me greatly in keeping my student loans low. I will now have more disposable income as an alumna to donate back to Eastern.

“Thank you very much for selecting me as a scholarship recipient. Not only did the scholarship help me financially, but it also motivated me to keep working hard my senior year. I hope to continue to earn the esteem conferred to me as a scholarship recipient by building a successful career and continuing to give back to my community.

“I believe it is important to support the organizations that helped me succeed. Consequently, I think alumni should give back financially to EWU. It’s a way to ensure that future students will receive the same quality education and higher education experience that current alumni experienced.”

Close



EWU student Kassidy Van Berkum would not be at Eastern if it weren’t for a dream, determination and donor support. Not long ago, her dad was diagnosed with cancer. “Watching him go through surgeries and chemotherapies has fueled my fire even more to be there for people like him when they are sick,” she said. When Kassidy received her scholarship award letter, her heavy heart was buoyed with relief, happiness and excitement. “I can’t express enough gratitude for this scholarship,” she said. “I am so grateful to have been selected, and I hope to someday pay it forward when I reach my goal of becoming a nurse.” 

More...

Like so many little girls, Kassidy Van Berkum wanted to be a nurse when she grew up. Unlike the girls who later changed their minds, opting for veterinarian, teacher or astronaut, Kassidy hung onto her dream.

As the years passed, her life experiences strengthened her desire to one day become a pediatric oncology nurse.

Not long ago, Kassidy received news that her dad was diagnosed for the second time with liver cancer.

“Watching him go through surgeries and chemotherapies has fueled my fire even more to be there for people like him when they are sick,” she said. “I want to care for them when it isn’t the greatest day they’ve had.”

Her determination to become a nurse matched her willingness to sacrifice to save money for college. “I have worked hard to save up money for college almost my whole life, working on my family’s farm since I can remember,” Kassidy said. “My parents taught me how to work hard and how to budget. They want me to be able to finish college as debt-free as possible.”

As her savings began to dwindle, her parents helped her make ends meet. “I’m thankful that they want to help me pay for school, but knowing they have medical bills to pay, and farming isn’t always the most successful job makes it difficult for me to accept what they can spare.”

When Kassidy received her scholarship award letter, her heavy heart was buoyed with relief, happiness and excitement. “I can’t express enough gratitude for this scholarship,” she said. “I am so grateful to have been selected, and I hope to someday pay it forward when I reach my goal of becoming a nurse.”

Close



Justin Von Hagel has been a consistent presence on the EWU campus in the College of Science, Health and Engineering. He is a positive example, a role model, an adviser and a guide for students and young alumni who are starting their professional lives.

More...

Since he graduated in 1996 from EWU with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Justin has positively impacted the professional lives of EWU students. He contributed to the development of Eastern’s Mechanical Engineering Program. He provides supplies and materials to the EWU Engineering and Manufacturing departments for student use. He also mentors students and alumni, and provides internship opportunities to students. The first EWU mechanical engineering student Justin mentored was Matthew Manville. Justin was working for Spokane aerospace component manufacturer Triumph Composite Systems when he suggested Matthew apply for a paid internship. Matthew became Triumph’s first paid intern, was kept on as a full-time employee after he graduated in 2006, and then went on to work for Boeing.

Justin’s philosophy has always been to help those behind him. He vividly remembers the journey of becoming a successful young professional, and does everything in his power to assist others in the process of self-realization to help discover the qualities for which it takes to earn success. Now the director of Aerospace Parts Programs at Janicki Industries, Justin embodies the spirit of the 2014 EWU Alumni Association Distinguished Career Mentor Award by paying his success forward to current and future students. He does this through his consistent time commitments to the EWU Engineering Advisory Board and his persistent effort to provide leadership, mentorship, guidance and opportunities. He selflessly shares his knowledge, capabilities and determination to succeed. He inspires students to see the intangible benefits of a job well done, and to subsequently enjoy the self-confidence and satisfaction that success breeds.

Congratulations on your success, Justin, and on behalf of all of our students and alumni who have and will benefit from your efforts, thank you!

Close



During the 1967-1968 academic year, few ROTC cadets doubted they were training for duty in Vietnam. Eastern Washington State College had the third-largest ROTC program in the nation. That program would produce one of the finest leaders to wear the U.S. Army uniform, Albert “Al” Watson.

More...

Al was part of Eastern ROTC while he was earning his bachelor’s degree in education. After graduating in March 1968, Al received his Regular Army commission in the infantry. His first assignment was platoon leader, Company A, 2nd Battalion (mechanized) 11th Infantry, Fort Carson, Colorado. Next stop was Vietnam in February 1969 to serve as platoon leader, executive officer, aide-de-camp and assistant brigade S-3 in the 199th Light Infantry Brigade.

In 1970, he returned to the U.S., where he would spend eight years in numerous assignments, including company commander, company flight operations officer, platoon flight commander, plans and operations officer, and assistant professor of military science at South Carolina State College. In 1978, Col. Watson resigned his Regular Army commission and accepted a commission in the U.S. Army Reserves. Before he retired in 1995, Al served as aide-de-camp company commander, battalion commander, director of 104th Division Leadership Academy and director of officer courses at 6229th Army Reserve School.

The highly decorated American leader earned the Bronze Star with V device and three Oak Leaves, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaves, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaves, Air Medal with numeral 10, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with Oak Leaf, National Defense Service Medal with Star, Vietnam Service Medal with five campaign stars, Army Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 clasp, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Army Aviator Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge, Ranger Tab, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster. Now he is the recipient of the 2014 EWU Distinguished Alumni Award for Exceptional Military Service. Congratulations, Al, and thank you for your service.

Close



Dr. Rick Allen has spent his life making a difference. Working his way through college by bailing hay, washing dishes and digging ditches, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Eastern in 1969. But that was only the beginning of an amazing career that has impacted the lives of many.

More...

Later, he received a Master in Interpersonal Communication from Ohio University, and a Master and Doctorate in Public Administration from University of Southern California. In addition to his long career in higher education and what can best be described as community reform and development, Rick was an officer in the U.S. Army and trained with Special Forces.

Rick is a teacher, a mentor, and a relentless community and child advocate who has transformed communities. Under Rick’s 21 years of leadership as CEO of United Way of Pierce County, the agency moved from a relatively simple fundraising model of collect-and-disburse to a model focused on specific issues such as early childhood development. Rick is passionate about early childhood education. “The first eight years of a child’s life sets the tone,” he said. “As a community, we need to pour more resources into these years. Somewhere, a child needs to find the love and mentoring needed to set that tone. If not by their parents, by someone.”

Congratulations, Rick, on earning the 2014 EWU Alumni Award, Alumnus of Service.

Close



When he was a little boy, Quinton Baker’s mom worked two jobs to pay for their one-bedroom apartment. He learned from her that he would have to work hard to get what he wanted in life. He also learned along the way that he had a passion for helping people. Quinton attended community college, and then, thanks to scholarships made available by generous donors, he transferred to Eastern. In his first year at EWU, Quinton met his goal to make the Dean’s List. His current academic goal is to graduate near the top of his class. Quinton has another goal that aligns with his desire to help others: “To volunteer for causes as long as I live,” he said.

More...

Ujima is Swahili for collective work and responsibility, to build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together. That concept truly defines Quinton Baker and guides his life’s goals.

When he was a little boy, Quinton’s mom worked two jobs to pay for their one-bedroom apartment. He learned from her that he would have to work hard to get what he wanted in life. He also learned along the way that he had a passion for helping people. In high school, he fell in love with psychology. He wanted to find answers to complex questions: Why do we act the way we do? What causes emotion? When his mother was diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disease, Quinton focused on another question: Could psychology, alternative medicines and a healthy lifestyle cure her?

“Doctors of Western medicine told my mom there is no cure for her disease,” Quinton said, “but I believe there is a cure, just not with the conventional prescription pill.” In an effort to help his mom and others by answering his questions, Quinton set a goal to attain an undergraduate degree in psychology, and eventually a PhD in health psychology (the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health). “I’m looking forward to contributing to research conducted in natural herb and medicine remedies,” he said.

Quinton attended community college, and then, thanks to scholarships made available by generous donors, he transferred to Eastern. In his first year at EWU, Quinton met his goal to make the Dean’s List. His current academic goal is to graduate near the top of his class. Quinton has another goal that aligns with his desire to help others: “To volunteer for causes as long as I live,” he said.

At EWU, he has served as a mentor for Eastern’s Ujima Summer Bridge Program, which provides incoming African American freshmen with tools for academic success. In the broader community, Quinton volunteered for American Red Cross’ Natural Disaster Unit, Department of Social and Health Services’ homeless count, Bloomsday, Spokane-to-Sandpoint Relay, and Special Olympics. Addressing domestic violence, he volunteered at a marital and domestic violence counseling center, and he spoke at a domestic violence seminar for police, clergy, politicians and citizens, and on a Spokane radio station.

Quinton thanks donors for his scholarships. “They helped pay for tuition, books and housing, and they afforded me time for volunteering, which is an important component in the advancement of my education,” he said.

After he graduates from Eastern, Quinton plans to give back so that future students may also achieve success. “Giving back is a critical part of keeping an organization or a foundation alive,” Quinton said. “Not only should alumni give back financially, I feel they should also invest professionally. Alumni hold the keys to professional doors, and they should be looking to employ qualified graduates as they transfer from the classroom to the boardroom. Eagles helping Eagles!”

He’s got the right idea for achieving “Ujima.”

Close



EWU urban and regional planning student Kirsten Nolan knows firsthand about the incREDible  power a scholarship has in the life of a student, a family and a community. “Long after the last dollar has been spent, the benefits of the education I have attained will continue to multiply,” she said.

More...

Kirsten Nolan’s passion for urban planning, community development, local economic development and sustainable communities is rooted in volunteer work she has done since she was a little girl. “I was raised to leave a place better than I found it, and I believe that time and/or money can be a means to accomplish that,” she said. “My motivation lies within the great meaning of my work rather than income; I can think of nothing greater than contributing to strengthening my community.”

Kirsten’s urban and regional planning classes at EWU have bolstered her passion. “I have utilized many of the skills I learned in the program in my position as program manager at Sustainable Resources INW, a local nonprofit that provides sustainability education to community members and local businesses,” she said.

Kirsten’s generosity in the community is as much a part of her moral fiber as her humility. “There are so many hardworking, talented and deserving students here – I was incredibly honored to be recognized as a donor-supported scholarship recipient,” she said. “I felt humbled, empowered, and so very grateful. It was a wonderful feeling to share the excitement with my family who taught me the value of perseverance and hard work.

“The gift you give so generously has the incredible power to not only affect an individual in the moment, but a family well into the future. Long after the last dollar has been spent, the benefits of the education I have attained will continue to multiply both within my own family and in my community. I thank you for your wholehearted support in the education of others. It is the most amazing feeling to be a recipient of another’s generosity; it is a feeling I shall never forget and a feeling I plan to pass forward.”

Close



Lauren McKinley’s dreams are becoming reality. In her quest to become a music teacher and performer, she devoted some of last summer to work at the EWU Jazz Dialogue Middle School Summer Camp. Eastern students who help with the camp get teaching experience while instructing young musicians. “My scholarships have helped me pay for my tuition, and have given me the freedom to enjoy the many extracurricular aspects the Music Department has to offer me.”

More...

In her quest to become a music teacher and performer, Lauren McKinley devoted some of last summer to work at the EWU Jazz Dialogue Middle School Summer Camp. “I learned so much about teaching, and I had a blast!” she said.

Eastern students who help with the camp get teaching experience while instructing young musicians in jazz combos and big bands. Lauren assisted with a big band group’s rhythm section, a jazz combo and a piano master class.

“My scholarships have helped me pay for my tuition, and have given me the freedom to enjoy the many extracurricular aspects the Music Department has to offer me, from Jazz Band to composition lessons. Without generous donors, I, along with my parents, would be scrambling to scrape up the funds for tuition. If that were the case, I would not have the proper amount of time it takes to truly dedicate myself to my education.

“Donors’ generosity has helped me further my education, and more importantly, to follow my dream. I literally would not be able to do it without them!”

Close



Scholarship recipient Molly Yin strongly believes in the power of one. “I think Eastern alumni should give back financially to EWU because it only takes one person to make a difference in a person’s life,” she said.

More...

As a senior seeking a degree in Health Informatics Technology and Management, Molly Yin volunteered time to help others in need. “Taking courses in health services allowed me to help my community by volunteering at the food bank, as well as giving me essential opportunities to network and connect with health care and social work agencies,” she said.

For two years, Molly also sold tickets and secured donated money and auction items for the annual Friends and Family of Eastern Silent Wine Auction. The College of Business and Public Administration’s Health Services Administration Program hosts the event to benefit patients at Eastern State Hospital.

“Through my courses and volunteer experiences, I realized not everyone is as fortunate as I am to be able to pursue a degree, and I have noticed one person can make a difference in the community by dedicating a little bit of their time,” Molly said. “Therefore, I am grateful for the opportunities scholarships have provided for me.”

Close



There is no bond stronger than the one that exists between a mother and her child. But the bond between EWU scholarship recipients and their donors is a close second. Phaedra Cote’s story is proof of both.

More...

A young mother holds her critically ill son in her arms, willing him to pull through once again. Since his birth in 1998, his small body has already endured numerous life-saving surgeries. Mother and son have spent most of his first five years in the hospital.

Without warning, the little boy suffers respiratory arrest. Health-care professionals descend upon him with skill, machines and humanitarian care. He is saved again, but will spend weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit.

His health gradually improved. By 2006, the 8-year-old and his little brother were in school. Their mother, Phaedra Cote, had never been able to leave her firstborn’s side to go to college or work, but with the boys in school, she finally had time to explore her new interest in triathlon sports.

“The challenges I faced with my son taught me a lot about my deeply rooted inner strength, which I found translated well into the sport of triathlon,” she said. “I started training in February 2006, did my first half-Ironman six months later, and placed so well that I qualified for the World Championships.”

Timex offered her one of 50 worldwide positions on its Multisport Team. She raced for three years on the team, trained while her children were in school and traveled the country. “I even crossed some finish lines with my boys’ little hands in mine,” Phaedra said.

In 2009, Phaedra and her husband divorced. She was a single mom with no college education or financial security.

Phaedra reflected on her years of experiences in hospitals with her son. “That difficult time shaped me, not only as a mother, but as a person, and I learned that I did very well in the health-care environment,” Phaedra said.

Phaedra’s father cosigned a car loan for her, and she began her quest for an education and career in health care. She enrolled in community college, later transferred to Eastern, and secured a dental assistant job in a pediatric setting. It solidified her confidence to choose dental hygiene as a major and future career.

Phaedra’s busy life with her children (now 15 and 11), classes and job leave no time or money for triathlons. Her 15-year-old’s severe food allergies create expensive grocery bills. She had to sell her beloved bike and triathlon gear. “That’s just how important my education is to me,” Phaedra said. “I have made every sacrifice possible to fund my education and support my children; even so, it would be impossible to pay for Dental Hygiene School if it weren’t for generous donors who have supported my scholarship.”

In her minimal spare time, Phaedra has conducted children’s free triathlon clinics and a triathlon with 115 participants. She also has coached women athletes.

“I love sharing my passion for health and fitness,” Phaedra said. “It’s something I can offer to the community.”

Phaedra talks with her sons about hard work and sharing. “I tell them I am proud and honored to be a scholarship recipient,” she said. “Donors live outside themselves and go beyond what is required of them as human beings. Contributing to scholarships is such a selfless gesture.

“There are lessons in this for my boys: When you believe in yourself and work really hard, you get results that have a positive impact on your own life, and you inspire others to do the same. Additionally, you can be recognized for your hard work. I explained to them that my scholarship recognizes the sacrifices we have made as a family for me to be in school, and the fact that I’ve performed well in my courses shows donors that school is a big priority for me.”

Close



Mother and daughter Amy and Querida Meyer attended EWU at the same time, creating a double-burden on the family budget. Thanks to generous donors to EWU Scholarship Fund, Amy served as editor of
The Easterner student newspaper, earning numerous national awards and dual journalism and graphic design degrees. Querida was student teaching Cheney fourth-graders toward her natural science education major with a middle level endorsement. Amy and Querida graduated together June 15, 2013, at Eastern’s Commencement.

More...

Many students have the desire to earn a degree but lack the financial support to make it happen. When a mother and daughter attend EWU at the same time, the burden on the family budget is doubled.

“I’m certain I would not be able to afford college without the scholarship I received from Eastern,” Amy Meyer said. “This gift from donors enables education, relieves the financial stress, and it sends the message that you believe in me. Your investment indicates someone believes in the efforts and dedication I have put into my degrees. It has bolstered my self-esteem and emphasized that there is a community of educated people who believe in what I’m doing. I want to thank donors for standing behind me. The best way to beat poverty is education. I thank donors for helping me model that to my kids.”

Her daughter, Querida, agrees. “Without scholarships, I would not be at Eastern,” she said. “My parents have not been able to send my siblings or me to college, though it’s always their desire for us to go.”

Although Amy waited to enroll at EWU until her children grew up, her ambition to succeed is full steam ahead. She pursued a double major in journalism and graphic design. For two years, she was editor of EWU’s weekly student newspaper, The Easterner. “Working at The Easterner was challenging and rewarding,” Amy said. “I’ve loved coaching students. I hope and pray that I find a job where I can continue to help people improve as planners, managers, writers, designers and editors.”

Her rewards at EWU also came in the form of professional recognition. Amy was a finalist for College Media Association’s Best Student Media Leader of the Year. The Easterner won Associated Collegiate Press’ first place award for best website, large school; Society of Professional Journalists’ Best All-Around Non Daily Newspaper, large school; and Washington Press Association’s (WPA) sweepstakes overall runner-up (WPA contributed $100 to EWU Foundation to support the journalism program).

In the summer between graduating from high school and starting EWU classes, Querida worked in Alaska with children in a Salvation Army program. In her first year at EWU, she studied music and performed in the elite Wind Ensemble. She was a lifeguard and camp counselor the next summer.

“As I gained more experience, I discovered my passions,” Querida said. “I found I love teaching children, and I possess compassion and desire to help those in need. In 2010, I spent 10 days in Guatemala to reach out to rural villages and an underprivileged school.” She and her group provided medical and dental care, shoes and food to impoverished families.

The following year, Querida studied Spanish, and then traveled to Ecuador for the summer to teach music, math, biblical studies and swimming, creating the curriculum along the way. “It was an exciting experience I will never forget,” she said. “There is still so much to learn and do and so many people to help and teach.”

Scholarships well spent, classes completed and accomplishments in résumés Amy and Querida graduated together June 15, 2013, at the Eastern Washington University Commencement.

Close


* An annual administrative fee of up to 2% may apply to your donation. This fee provides essential operational support for the EWU Foundation.