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!

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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.

Shilter Family
Five Eagles. Five siblings. Five scholarships. Five awesome success stories. Anna Schilter, class of 2017, double majoring in international affairs and Spanish, has been inspired by awesome donors. “That’s what I think about when I’m applying for scholarships, is really the donor behind the scholarships. They’re sacrificing a portion of what they make, and they’re investing in my future. That really helps to motivate me to do better in school because I know someone has invested in my future. No matter if they’re investing $2,000 or investing $200, they both mean the exact same amount to me. They’re both making a huge impact on my education.” Learn more about how you can inspire awesome.


Anna proudly stands on the shoulders of her older brothers and sisters who set a great example for her. Sisters Tessa ’07 and Chelsea ’09, and brothers Daniel ’13 and Joseph ’14, earned scholarships while studying at Eastern. Today they are all successfully employed in careers that are relevant to their undergraduate degrees.

“It was very important to me to attend college,” Tessa says, “but it was also important to me to avoid going into debt for my education. Without the Presidential Scholarship, I would not have been able to do that.”

To qualify for the $3,000-per-year Presidential Scholarship, EWU’s new freshmen must be Washington residents, and possess a 3.80 or higher high school GPA or a 1250 or higher SAT sum of reading and math scores (or comparable ACT of 28 or higher). To renew each school year, recipients must maintain a minimum 3.50 cumulative EWU GPA.

“My experience at EWU was excellent,” Tessa says. “I was encouraged to expand my horizons, and journalism classes in particular taught me to embrace my natural curiosity. I graduated from EWU with a double major in organizational communication and journalism, and I have been able to apply my education successfully in my current career. It may seem like a simple thing to communicate with others, but to do so effectively across a variety of mediums takes skill. I am grateful for the education I received at EWU because it prepared me for the responsibilities I have now.”

Tessa honed her verbal communications craft on Eastern’s debate team and journalism skills as a writer for The Easterner. While at EWU, she attended an informational meeting about the Peace Corps and decided to join after graduation. She spent 27 months in Malawi working on HIV/AIDS prevention and education activities in a small village in the northern part of the country.

“Upon returning home from Malawi, I began applying for jobs with USDA Forest Service and I am currently the executive assistant to the forest supervisor on the Kootenai National Forest in Libby, Montana.”

Chelsea reflects on her Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Scholarship, Presidential Scholarship and her Eastern experience with gratitude. “Today, I feel very aware of the financial strain many families experience in trying to support even one child through college,” she says. “It's brought home to me that my siblings and I were all incredibly fortunate to have access to scholarship funds that removed a lot of that anxiety from our family. It's also worth noting that EWU offers the least-expensive in-state tuition of all public universities in the state of Washington. At a very personal level – for helping to make my academic and career goals a reality – I feel a strong sense of gratitude to EWU and to the many other organizations that make education accessible for students who aspire to a higher level of learning, in spite of limited financial means.”

The PTK Scholarship is available to PTK members transferring directly from their community college to EWU with no gap in enrollment. Seven annual awards are available on a competitive application basis.

Chelsea likes to quote American politician and educational reformer Horace Mann who said, “Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance- wheel of the social machinery.”

“That quote resonates with me whenever I meet current and former students – many from financially- challenged families – who sacrifice daily comforts and receive financial aid to be able to afford the privilege of a liberal arts education,” Chelsea says.

Chelsea also believes the inclusive environment at EWU sparked a desire to bring value back to the community in which she lives. “This is true for all of my siblings,” she says. “As I consider the types of activities we were involved with at EWU – from student government and working on the campus newspaper to participating in club and recreational activities – I strongly feel that Eastern encouraged our exploration and education beyond the classroom, and helped each of us carve out different paths to purposeful work.”

Chelsea earned her degree in English, and today she is a writer for a creative agency.

With help from the Eastern Advantage (EA) Scholarship, Daniel earned a degree in mechanical engineering. EA is a first-year experience program that annually awards 250 $1,500 scholarships to qualified incoming freshmen. EA is dedicated to helping students find the resources they need to succeed as first-generation college students at EWU.

“Eastern primarily helped me build the career skills that I took back home to my community in southwest Washington as a mechanical engineer at the Kapstone Pulp and Paper Corp.,” Daniel says. “Eastern helped me to build leadership skills and a group of lasting friends. Financially, the return on my investment has been significant.”

To support the needs of today's business and industry, EWU partners with the state of Washington to offer funding to students in high-demand academic programs. More than 140 students annually receive a tuition reduction worth up to $2,000. Full-time students with a 3.0 or higher cumulative GPA in engineering/engineering technology, health and life sciences, secondary education (math, science, Spanish), computer science or mathematics are automatically considered for this competitive award.

Joseph earned the High Demand First Year Grant and an EWU Scholastic Honors Scholarship, reserved for Eastern’s best and brightest students.

“Receiving grants and scholarships from EWU allowed me to spend more time focusing on my studies and less time working part-time jobs to pay for school.” Joseph says. “Not only did EWU scholarships provide me the financial ability to take a full credit load each quarter and graduate from college in a reasonable amount of time, they drastically reduced stress and enabled me to graduate debt free.”

Joseph credits EWU with challenging him to think critically and enlightening him to different ways of thinking through math, science, technology and humanities classes.

“At EWU, I developed friendships with students from vastly different backgrounds and gained insight from professors well versed in their fields,” he says. “I enjoyed intramural sports, rafting, rock climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing excursions with Epic Adventures.”

His Eastern experience also included employment as the advertising manager for The Easterner. “This opportunity allowed me to gain business management skills running the advertising department.” Joseph says. “In this role, I developed professional relationships with businesses and professionals in local, regional and national markets, and honed public communication and social skills.

“While attending EWU, I studied natural sciences earning a BS in geology, which ultimately led me to my present occupation as a geo-technical field technician. My education in natural science and involvement in EPIC Adventures fueled my love of the outdoors. Today I live in Bellevue, Washington, which is close to the North Cascades, where I spend most of my weekends.”

When you support scholarships for EWU students like the Schilters, awesome things happen. You can inspire awesome with a gift today. Make your gift online today.


Thank You EAF Members

Before they walked across the stage at commencement, our student-athletes delivered a special message to EAF members and the rest of Eagle Nation.


Sarah Burns

The true impact of your gifts to EWU Foundation can be seen every day in our communities. We recently caught up with Sarah (Glaser) Burns, the first recipient of the EWU Retirees Association Golden Eagle Scholarship (2004-05). She graduated from EWU in 2005 with a BA in social work, magna cum laude. Here’s what she’s up to:


“Things are going well for me. I am currently working as a data collector and research coordinator for Spokane County Head Start. I am working on a research study that Head Start has partnered with WSU's AHEC (Area Health and Education Center) that is measuring ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) in preschool-aged children and their adult caregivers. The study will compare number of ACEs to the child's social/emotional, cognitive, reading, math, and fine/gross motor skills. We are also testing two parenting interventions. I hope to continue to work in research in the area of trauma/ACE exposure.

“I am also completing my MBA (winter quarter 2015) through Eastern. Yay! I am also giving my time for nonprofit work through The ARC of Spokane and the YWCA.”


Dan Waterbly

Dan Waterbly wanted to go to college to be a doctor, but he fainted at the sight of blood. He had to pick a different field. “After taking my first programming class, I knew exactly what I wanted to do,” Dan says.


Despite what he “wanted to do,” Dan’s Eastern story mirrors that of many students who come to campus with an abundance of hopes, dreams, intelligence, motivation and ambition, but a lack of money.

“When I was a student at EWU,” Dan says, “I had no financial aid and had to work three part-time jobs – totaling 70 hours per week – on top of going to school, to avoid the burden of a lot of student loans. I feel like I would have benefited from a scholarship, and I would have had more time to focus on scholastic achievements.”

Overcoming the obstacles, Dan went on to graduate from Eastern in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. “EWU is a great university,” Dan says. “I loved nearly all of my computer science courses and found the instructors to be very helpful and genuinely vested in their students.

“My favorite computer science project at EWU was working on a banking application for Spokane Teachers Credit Union. I appreciated working with an actual organization and having a team comprised of varied disciplines. Getting that real-world experience helped me get where I am today; working as a senior software engineer with a great company in Spokane.”

Dan wants more computer science students to have the same experience at Eastern – without having to struggle through excessive hours at work or burdensome student loans – so donating to the EWU Computer Science Alumni Scholarship Endowment is a natural next step for him. “When Computer Science Senior Lecturer Stu Steiner asked me to contribute to the scholarship endowment, I happily donated,” Dan says.

If you can relate to stories about smart, motivated students who want to enroll in computer science classes at EWU, only to find cost is an obstacle, you can join Dan today in helping to ensure those students get the chance to pursue their dreams.

“Together, you and I can build the EWU Computer Science Alumni Scholarship Endowment to award more scholarships to deserving undergraduate students in computer science or computer information systems,” Dan says. “There are countless exciting, promising career opportunities for our fellow alumni who have put in the hours to obtain computer science degrees. Let’s help students get there by donating today to the EWU Computer Science Alumni Scholarship Endowment.”

To make a gift, visit or contact Melanie Miller at 509.359.6833 or



Diana and Kenneth Manville wanted to do something to honor their son’s memory. “Starting a scholarship fund is suitable because EWU is where Matthew found his true calling,” Diana said. “Many generous, caring people have contributed to the scholarship. Kenneth and I are proud to have these funds available to deserving students in the Mechanical Engineering Program.” One such student is Andrew Pearson.


Matthew Manville’s life was too short. He had 27 years to learn all he could, travel with family and friends, start an exciting career, and most importantly, positively impact others’ lives.

He played basketball, soccer and volleyball. He golfed with his father and grandfather, and taught his friends how to play. He loved wakeboarding, snowboarding, mountain biking, and sailing. At home with his parents, Kenneth and Diana, Matthew expressed his creative side while working with wood and metal in his dad’s shop, and helping his mom design a garden.

“We were very proud of Matthew,” Diana said. “He was a loving, kind, responsible and intelligent young man. He brought great joy to our lives.”

After graduating from Cheney High School, Matthew enrolled at Eastern Washington University. He received two scholarships, and during his junior year, he set his sights on pursuing a career in airplane manufacturing.

“It was a natural fit for Matthew,” Diana said. “He had a special knack for math – necessary for the Mechanical Engineering Program – he loved working with his hands, and his dad enjoyed a successful career as a corporate pilot.”

While working near Spokane aerospace component manufacturer Triumph Composite Systems, Matthew met Triumph employee Justin Von Hagel, 1996 EWU alumnus, BS mechanical engineering technology. Justin suggested Matthew apply for a paid internship. He became Triumph’s first paid intern and the first EWU student Justin mentored on the job.

Immediately after Matthew graduated from Eastern in 2006 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Triumph hired him as a full-time employee.

Matthew spread his wings in 2008 with a new job at Boeing in Seattle. “He had an exciting position, working on the 787 Dreamliner,” Diana said. “At 25, he was a lead manager over a small department comprised of older, more experienced men. They still incorporate Matthew’s ideas in their daily tasks.”

After Matthew passed away unexpectedly in 2011, Kenneth and Diana wanted to do something to honor his memory. “Starting a scholarship fund is suitable because EWU is where Matthew found his true calling,” Diana said. “Many generous, caring people have contributed to the scholarship. Kenneth and I are proud to have these funds available to deserving students in the Mechanical Engineering Program.”

One such student is Andrew Pearson. The avid outdoorsman from the Midwest served in the Marine Corps after high school, then moved to Spokane for nearby mountain climbing and mountain biking.

At work at Empire Aerospace in Hayden, Idaho, Andrew learned about commercial aircraft systems. “I gained a healthy respect for the aeronautical engineers who designed each system to work properly with other systems,” he said.

Based on friends’ recommendations, he decided to go to Eastern for a mechanical engineering degree.

The Matthew Manville Scholarship is helping Andrew achieve a goal of graduating with low debt while motivating him toward his dream career as an engineer in space travel or renewable energy fields.

“Sharing an interest in aircraft mechanics with Mr. Manville makes this scholarship special because his example gives me courage to push through difficult classes,” Andrew said. “It gives me assurance that completing this degree and reaching my career goals is well within reach. Knowing that this money was donated by others who want me to succeed is very motivating.”

The scholarship Kenneth and Diana started has steadily increased with help from the Matthew Manville Annual Memorial Golf Tournament at the Fairways Golf Course near Four Lakes, Wash. “This is the third year for the tournament,” Diana said. “Many people come to have fun and spend the day remembering Matthew. Over $8,000 has been raised for the scholarship.”

Andrew is thankful for scholarship donors, and he intends to give back in the future. “Thanks to generous contributions from others and my military service, I have a job as a full-time student. I can think of no place I would rather be,” he said. “Helping current students is a tangible way to help future generations. Few alumni can say no one helped them get to where they are today. They might not be able to repay the same people who helped them, but they can pay it forward.”

It is comforting to know that Matthew’s legacy will continue to impact lives for years to come.



Before the 2008 recession hit, Jim DeWalt, 1973 alumnus and president and CEO of Associated Industries of the Inland Northwest (A.I.), had been thinking about the most impactful way to give back to his alma mater. Colleen Harbick, a single mother of three, a school bus driver and a first-generation EWU student pursuing a degree in business accounting, is thankful Jim chose to give back.


It was 2008. The recession had begun. Businesses and the markets were struggling. Many of Eastern’s scholarship endowments were underwater, which meant they could not be awarded to students until the economy improved. The nation’s economic downturn was affecting EWU’s daily operations, driving up the cost of tuition. A college degree was suddenly out of reach for many students. Overcoming the challenges would require constant innovation and the generosity of people and companies that were willing to help.

Before the recession hit, Jim DeWalt, 1973 alumnus and president and CEO of Associated Industries of the Inland Northwest (A.I.), had been thinking about the most impactful way to give back to his alma mater. “I started the Associated Industries Bright Promise Scholarship for lots of reasons, but probably started with, ‘If I won the lottery, what would I do?’” he said. “Well, just so you know how shallow I truly am, I would buy at least one really cool, go-faster car, and party, which would take care of the first two days. So I asked myself what I could really do if money was not an issue. Just a side note: Money is always an issue. I thought of my experiences at Eastern as well as a lot of other folks I know who had/have similar money-school issues. With the help of Dr. Rex Fuller (then EWU dean of the College of Business and Public Administration), Bill Robinson of Robinson Research, Keith VanderZanden and Barbara Fives of Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and Robert Gootee at Moda Health, the scholarship took form, becoming operational in 2008, the beginning of the recession, so great timing,” Jim said.

Jim had already learned valuable lessons about timing and money. In the late ‘60s, he planned to go to the University of Washington, but first he had to work long enough to pay his way. That notion was interrupted when he was drafted to serve in the armed forces. While in the service, he saved a little money. Some high school friends enrolled at Eastern and encouraged him to apply.

“I truly enjoyed the experience,” Jim said. “I pursued double political science and English majors to avoid any mathematics requirement and to attend law school. I had wonderful opportunities for employment to pay for tuition, room and board, I was involved with student government, and I met wonderful professors, administrators and students who became lifelong friends.”

One memory Jim describes typifies the Eastern experience and forever cemented his gratitude to the university. “One of my professors, Dr. Bud Cass, came knocking on my door one Sunday morning to talk to me about what I was going to do with my education,” Jim said. When he told Dr. Cass he would attend law school, the professor advised him not to be a lawyer, and to get into a graduate program at the University of Washington, which he could help him accomplish. “I finally attended UW and had an internship with Seattle Mayor Wes Uhlman, all because this professor took an individual interest in me and made the extra effort. It changed my life. I truly believe this would not have happened at any university but Eastern.”

Now Jim is helping change lives. The A.I. Bright Promise Program was designed to invest in, educate and develop a strong local workforce that will help ensure the continued growth and success of the Inland Northwest. To date, the scholarship has awarded $225,000 in scholarships to 52 students who have either graduated or are enrolled in college, logging 10,290 total credit hours and achieving a 3.56 average cumulative GPA.

Colleen Harbick is a single mother of three, a school bus driver and a first-generation EWU student pursuing a degree in business accounting. There have been moments when financial pressures, staying up until midnight to do her homework, and missing her family made her think of leaving Eastern to get a full-time job. Fortunately, her Bright Promise Scholarship is providing desperately needed relief and encouragement to strive for her dream career.

“Receiving the scholarship means a lot to me, as I am trying to support my family with a part-time job while attending school,” Colleen said. “Making ends meet with a goal to get an education has been tough. I have worked for years at low-paying jobs. I want a career that supports my family. Knowing that there are people out there who are generously helping others get through college and find success is special. After graduation, when I am employed and able to give back, I would love to be able to help others achieve their goals of a college education.”

Jim is pleased to hear Colleen’s story. “Our scholarship recipients’ high average GPA attests to the direct effect of sufficient funding allowing students to concentrate on their educational experience,” he said. “I would advise students like Colleen to enjoy the whole student experience – the whole shebang – because what you are doing and the decision you made to continue with your education is a life changer.”


EWU Digital Commons

When you give to EWU Foundation, you impact every student and faculty member in every college, department and program. Now you can see what they are researching, learning and sharing with the world at EWU Digital Commons.


The EWU Digital Commons, an institutional repository for the university, is now live. This online platform and suite of services enables EWU to preserve and showcase the high-quality scholarly and creative endeavors of Eastern’s faculty and students. There are already more than 200 EWU master’s theses and 40 published works by EWU faculty in the EWU Digital Commons. Other collections that are being developed include digital scans of EWU’s historical yearbooks and student work from the EWU Student Research and Creative Works Symposium.


Washington Trust Bank

The 2014 EWU Alumni Award for Organization of Excellence has been presented to Washington Trust Bank. Washington Trust and its employees have shared their time, enthusiasm and resources to help the EWU Alumni Association expand the football pregame fan zone, known as the Red Zone, with a mobile banking unit, a hot dog and video trailer, giveaways and plenty of tailgating excitement. Washington Trust’s investment doesn’t stop there.


As part of its mission, Washington Trust continuously promotes the growth and success of communities through financial contributions and support of employee volunteerism. With its leadership and the leadership of its employees, hundreds of charitable organizations and worthy causes shine brighter.

Thank you, Washington trust Bank, for all you do for EWU and the communities in our region.


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


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.


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.


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.​


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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


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.


“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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.


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.”


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.”


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.”


Celebrating Our Library Sponsors

Celebrating Our Library Sponsors
Every year, almost every Eastern student and most faculty members visit EWU Libraries – at the 153,000-square-foot JFK Library and online. Why do people donate money to support EWU Libraries? Read their stories, in their words.


When we look through the eyes of our generous donors and why they give to the EWU Libraries, it is affirmation for how integral libraries are in enriching the lives of many. Here are their stories:

Doug Myers (class of ‘70, BA political science, minor in ROTC), speaks of one of the factors behind the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity giving back to EWU through the Library: "The Zeta Nu Chapter of PKA chose to donate to the EWU library as a means to repay the university for what it gave us some 50 years ago. We believe that by donating to the library, we would reach more students and the public in general by providing the library with additional funds to digitize the many important research papers, artwork and other historical items that would otherwise be unavailable to these groups. It has turned out to be a wonderful relationship and one we look forward to supporting in the years to come."

Jay Rea, university archivist emeritus and long-standing donor to the EWU Libraries’ yearly fundraiser, Oktoberfest: "In the last several years of my service on the library faculty, I was responsible for the collection development funds. The cost of periodicals was skyrocketing. I spent the last six months of my service in meetings with deans and department chairs to identify which periodicals and journals could be canceled with the least impact on their programs. It was not a fun time. On the plus side, I met with my peers at the other six state institutions to form a consortium to purchase journals online. It was the beginning of Orbis Cascade – a consortium through which the resources of most academic libraries in Oregon and Washington are shared. The advances in technology have created systems, which make information available worldwide. The bottom line is that state funds and tuition are not sufficient to meet the expanding needs. That is why I have supported Oktoberfest, the library’s fundraiser, and have invested in a charitable gift annuity with the EWU Foundation, which will benefit the Library’s endowment fund."

William "Bill" Youngs, EWU history professor: "I have frequented Kennedy Library for almost half a century – 44 years, to be exact. Soon after arriving at Eastern in 1972, I arranged to use a study carrel at the library as a retreat where I could concentrate on writing and course preparation. I changed that location only once when the removal of a wall during library expansion left one side of my little retreat open to the void. I have written parts of five books in the library and spent many hours ‘walking the stacks.’ The library staff has helped me discover new resources, order books and learn reference sources. I sense in the library a kind of irreducible friendliness, whether I am asking a complicated question of a reference librarian or checking out a book with a student worker.

"Over the years, I have seen the library adjust wonderfully to the brave new world of online resources. Two examples stand out. When I was working on my PhD dissertation at Berkeley, I used microcards (think microfilm) to read books published 300 years ago. Reading and note taking were laborious and slow. And, finding relevant material was even slower. Today I can go to the library website and find all of those early American resources with a few keystrokes, ready to print out or read online. These changes require not only time, but also financial resources. I know my contributions to the library are well used.

"To me, there is something in the atmosphere of the library that I especially cherish. Yes, I can access those online resources without even being in the library, but simply being there has a value greater than the sum of individual resources. Just as a cathedral or a natural wonder has a compelling atmosphere, so does a great library. In each case, part of the attraction is in the presence of others sharing that space. In the case of Kennedy Library, what is remarkable is the way that it embraces our students and our students embrace it. I sense this at all times, but especially on those occasions when I stay in my carrel until 10 or 11 at night. On a break, I stroll past study desks and glance at students deep in thought or conversation, focusing on a book or a computer screen. I am reminded then that in Kennedy Library I am at the very heart of the academic enterprise at Eastern Washington University and I am grateful … That is why I contribute to the EWU Libraries."

Mark and Kathi Eckerich (classes of ’73, BA radio-television, and ’71, BA social work): "Three years ago, my wife Kathi and I were asked to display our antique car in front of the EWU Library to promote the annual Oktoberfest fundraiser whose theme was the Roaring ‘20s. We didn't know much about the library other than what we remembered as students there in the early ‘70s.

"We had so much fun and were so impressed with the event, its goals and the staff that worked so hard to put this event on that we became donors and are now also involved with the Oktoberfest planning committee.

"The goal of Oktoberfest and other donations is to provide additional funding for many different aspects of the EWU Library. As we are all aware, standard operating budgets don't always provide adequate money for needed programs and scholarships, and giving back to EWU is important to us. Kathi and I met while attending Eastern, and we are still involved in various campus organizations. Donating to the EWU Library is just a good choice."

Mary Cullinan, EWU president: "The JFK Library is a vibrant center of EWU’s academic and university life. Donations not only enrich the library’s focus on learning and research but also support the mission of the university as a whole. If you love learning, support the library!"

Photos, left to right: Jay Rea, Bill Youngs, Mark and Kathi Eckerich, and Mary Cullinan


US Bank

Banking on Success
Eastern alumni Terry Neal ’85 and David Van Belle ’12, ’86, of US Bank in Spokane, had the opportunity to meet the three recipients of the bank’s Accounting and Finance Scholarship. They saw firsthand how the scholarship awards affect the lives of the recipients.


Yvonne Clark ‘15, BA accounting, shared her story with them. After many years away from school, working and raising children, she decided to return to complete her bachelor’s degree in accounting. She plans to sit for the CPA exam.

“The scholarship helped me get my son in preschool and I didn’t have to take out another loan,” said Clark. “They always want to give you loans. I already have bills so I didn’t want to add to that.”

Danielle Good ’15, magna cum laude – with a double major in finance and marketing, said that the scholarship allowed her to cut back on her work hours at a commercial real estate company and focus on her academic performance. She plans to pursue a career in commercial real estate in the Seattle area.

“Going back to school after working for so many years …to be able to graduate with honors is really important to me,” said Good. “The scholarship helped reduce my tuition each quarter so I was able to then cut back on my hours a little bit and spend that time on school.”

Nicholas Alexander studied engineering at Washington State University before realizing that wasn’t the direction he wanted to go. He transferred to Eastern and is now studying accounting, finance and economics. He’s found his niche, with a grade-point average of 3.93 in his business courses. One day, he hopes to open his own accounting firm where he can help people with their finances and financial reports.

Neal and Van Belle believe they see the benefit of investing in Eastern students’ success.

“The culture of US Bank is built around community,” said Neal. “The bank hires the employees who in turn participate and actively seek out personal, professional and business relationships. We want the students and the university to see this relationship when they accept the scholarship award each year. These monies have been a consistent way to show the bank’s support for its relationship to this community.”

Van Belle agrees. “It is important for US Bank to offer scholarships to EWU accounting and finance students to remain a good corporate citizen in eastern Washington. There is no degree that specifically pertains to banking and the majority of bankers come from these two majors. Students graduating with accounting or finance degrees are what keeps the banking industry alive and allows it to thrive.”

Neal and Van Belle have a loyalty to their alma mater, and they find being involved in the scholarship process is rewarding.

“As an alum and a senior lender for the bank, I get the best of being involved for the bank and hopefully the students see the value of their education and where you can take that degree,” said Neal. “It always gives me a boost to know one of my coworkers is an Eag.”

Their impression of the scholarship recipients? “The students who earned this scholarship this year are now a part of an impressive group,” said Van Belle. “They are very likely to be successful no matter what path they ultimately choose. Each of them would make good bankers, but further, they will make good citizens that we will all be proud to watch grow and to share in their accomplishments. “

For more information on how your company can help Eastern students by providing scholarships, please contact Carolyn Wika, College Advance Director, Business and Public Administration, 509.359.6132,

Photo, left to right: David Van Belle, US Bank senior portfolio manager; scholarship recipients Danielle Good, Nicholas Alexander and Yvonne Clark; Terry Neal, US Bank vice president-commercial real estate.


Margaret (Beckman) Fettig and Family
Margaret (Beckman) Fettig passed away in 2012 after a long and courageous battle with cancer at the age of 75. She knew the value of education firsthand, both as a student and as a teacher, and gave her entire life to educating children. Today, her husband, Alfred Fettig, honors her memory and legacy with the establishment of an endowed scholarship which will help EWU students who share Margaret’s passion and desire to educate America’s future children.


Rebekah Weber

Thanks to Eastern Washington University alumni, Rebekah Weber is happy, successful and teaching developmentally delayed children.

As the seventh of 10 children in her family, Rebekah grew up in Newport, Wash. After high school, she moved to Spokane, where she earned a community college associate’s degree.


“By the time I enrolled at Eastern, I had been a victim of domestic violence in a marriage that ended in divorce, my self-worth was basically gone, and I was left with no income to support myself and my two young children,” Rebekah says. “I desperately needed an opportunity to be more than what I was told I could be, and to show my daughters how to be strong and independent. With the help of grants and loans, I began my EWU journey.”

When Rebekah took the Introduction to Special Education course in her first quarter at Eastern, she found her calling to be a special education teacher of very young children. She excelled in education classes but came to a huge roadblock near the finish line: She did not have $647 for required state assessments, fingerprinting and certification application fees. Then Rebekah learned about EWU’s Teachers for Teachers Fund, financially supported by alumni to help future teachers pay for those fees. She was selected to receive $300 from the fund.

“It meant the world for my children and me!” Rebekah says.

She set her sights on her dream job of teaching at Spokane Guilds’ School and Neuromuscular Center. Rebekah applied to substitute for vacationing teachers. The day after she graduated from EWU in 2014, she was called by the school to sub for two weeks. At the end of two weeks, they asked her to apply for a position as an early childhood special education teacher.

“Now I have my dream job, providing services for children with special needs up to 3 years old, and leading two preschool classes with a speech-language pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist and team room assistant,” Rebekah says. “I would not be helping those children today if I had not received help from the Teachers for Teachers Fund. In turn, I will be donating to this fund because I know that it will be helping someone as I have been.

In its first two years of existence, the Teachers for Teachers Fund helped 11 students take the final steps to become teachers. More dollars mean more students will be recipients.

If you would like to support the Teachers for Teachers Fund, please visit


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EAF Donors Help Eagles Bring Their A-Game

Scholarships you provided for Eastern Washington University student athletes through donations to the Eagle Athletic Fund have had an incredible impact on performance on fields, courts and in the classroom!


In the fall quarter of 2014, EWU student athletes had a collective 3.25 grade point average (GPA), including 28 with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Of EWU’s 315 student athletes, 144 had a 3.5 GPA or higher for 46 percent. Those with at least a 3.0 GPA totaled 228 for 72 percent.

Ten of EWU’s 12 teams had a GPA of 3.0 or higher, led by the women’s soccer team with a team GPA of 3.66. The top men’s team was tennis with a 3.34 GPA.

The cumulative GPA of all of EWU’s student-athletes was even more impressive at 3.30.


Alek Gayton plays drums. Deacon Band plays power tools. Both call Eastern “home.” You might think that the owner of a construction company who teaches construction management courses at EWU would have little in common with a music major who will play drums for a living. But this is Eastern, a close-knit community where people who come to start something big are supported by all fellow Eagles.


One man plays drums. The other plays power tools. Both call Eastern “home.” You might think that the owner of a construction company who teaches construction management courses at EWU would have little in common with a music major who will play drums for a living. But this is Eastern, a close-knit community where people who come to start something big are supported by all fellow Eagles.

When Deacon Band came to EWU in 2000 to pursue a geology degree, he was grateful for the financial relief provided by a scholarship. After his first two years, he found his passion lied in construction. He switched his major to construction technology but did not apply for scholarships to complete his degree. Paying his way through was a struggle, so in 2003, he started his own construction company to make money.

“I made a major change in my life and launched a successful future,” Deacon said. “The faculty and students in my program were welcoming and helpful. I felt like I had found my home within EWU and a place to expand my knowledge in the proper setting. Many times over, I have realized the value of my classes.”

By the time he graduated in 2005, Deacon was working full time at Band Construction, Inc., carving his niche in unique residential construction in Spokane. The company’s signature work is visible at local custom projects, including numerous residential and commercial additions and remodels, and new homes.

“We believe there’s a big difference between a house and a home,” Deacon said. “We like to engage with our clients through every aspect to create a home. We create a long-lasting friendship and an emotional connection with each project.”

Deacon advances the same philosophy at Eastern. He has taken over teaching construction management-specific courses, including Non-Metallics, Construction Materials and Techniques, Construction Estimating, Architecture, Senior Production Lab (capstone), Soils and Surveying, Senior Project, and Construction Management. When students asked him to ensure that they knew how to take a construction project from concept to completion, he built that into his courses, which recently gave students the opportunity to build a sheriff’s office-themed playhouse and a functioning greenhouse for a local charity auction.

In addition, he uses EWU’s employee payroll deduction to contribute to the University Scholarship Fund. “There are many students who struggle financially and require assistance,” Deacon said. “I believe if everyone throws in a seemingly minute amount, it adds up fast and can project a good person into an education. I am doing my small part to help the greater good and educate those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. I hope scholarship recipients will achieve a good education with less financial stress.”

That means a lot to Alek Gayton, who may not be at EWU without his scholarship. “College is very difficult to afford for most families (mine included),” Alek said. “My scholarship really helps. When alumni give back to Eastern, they give students who are eager to go to a university a chance to be successful. I am very honored to receive a scholarship to play music at Eastern. It shows that my hard work is paying off and I am being recognized for that hard work.”

Alek has been performing since he was 12. “I have been consistently gigging and performing, playing all kinds of music in places all across the country,” he said.

The drummer had often heard great things about Eastern’s Department of Music and its “wonderful faculty.” During his senior year of high school near Tumwater, Wash., Alek auditioned for EWU. “I immediately fell in love with the school and the people here,” he said. And as a bonus, it’s only five hours away from my other home.”

Now in his final year at Eastern, Alek describes his time here as “outstanding” for his musical and personal journey. “The people I have met, all the performances, the connections I have made, the things I have been able to do all created an experience that I wouldn’t change for the world,” he said.

After he graduates in June 2014, Alek plans to take his musical talents as far as he can on any stage he can find. “If that means going on world tours, playing on TV or playing at chill local coffee shops, that’s great,” he said. “If I’m playing music, I am happy.”

Who knows? One day Alek may even play with a band at a venue built by Band Construction.


Generations apart, two EWU alumnae define success in very similar ways. Barbara Shields, 84 years young: “It’s being the best you can be.” Hannah Seagrave, 21: “Success is not how high your GPA is or how many years it takes to gain a diploma, rather it is a valuable accomplishment because success means you did your best in all aspects of life.”


Barbara Shields didn’t plan to use her degree from Eastern Washington University to land a job or even advance her career at Pacific Northwest Bell. After all, in the three decades she worked there, she had moved up from long-distance operator to personnel consultant and employment interviewer. She loved her job. Barbara also loved to learn.

Nearing retirement, Barbara took the telecommunications company up on its tuition reimbursement program that encouraged employees to obtain college degrees. She looked into Eastern’s Portfolio Development Course in the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. EWU accepted her credits from classes she took years before at Spokane Community College and Washington State University, and awarded her credits for work experience.

In 1992, Barbara earned her bachelor’s degree in general studies. She retired from the phone company after 35 years of service, but retirement didn’t mean all rest and relaxation to the new college grad.

“I love volunteering through Telephone Pioneers, a nonprofit charitable organization,” Barbara said. She has been involved with Bloomsday registration and packet stuffing, Coats for Kids, Infant Hearing Assessment Program, Statue of Liberty restoration fundraising, Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Interlake School in Medical Lake, Spokane Guilds’ School, Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, Ronald McDonald Houses, Adopt a Highway Earth Day Cleanup, Mission Community Outreach Center clothes sorting, Talking Book Machine Repair and more.

Barbara also wanted to help EWU students pursue successful careers and contribute to society. “EWU Foundation was in my will,” Barbara said, “and when my broker suggested a charitable gift annuity that would pay a substantial amount every year, I decided to endow a scholarship while I’m still alive to see students benefit from it. It makes me feel good to see deserving students who work hard get a little hand up.”

Hannah Seagrave is one such student. She chose EWU because her father is an alumnus and she wanted to pursue her dream of teaching Spanish. “However, I fell in love with communication studies in my junior year,” she said.

At 15, Hannah enrolled in Running Start. Introduction to Speech was a required course. “Previously, I had avoided public speaking,” Hannah said, “but I became much more confident through that class and really fell in love with the many facets of communication studies.”

She enrolled in more communication and visual communication design courses, and eventually switched her major to communication studies. After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2013, she was hired as a project manager at a tradeshow exhibit design company. Due to Barbara’s generosity and a graduate student assistant position, however, Hannah was able to leave that job and begin her graduate studies just months after receiving her BA. “Now I teach the introductory communication course I fell in love with years ago.”

Like Barbara, Hannah is dedicated to community service. “I have always had a passion for serving others,” Hannah said. “When I was younger, I saved part of my earnings in an envelope labeled ‘OLD PEOPLE MONEY,’ which I donated to elderly folks in need. A few years ago, I volunteered at Cheney Assisted Living. I completely fell in love with the residents and enjoyed listening to stories about how life was ‘back then.’ Shortly after I left, one resident I visited every week passed away. That taught me how precious life is and to treasure every moment we are able to invest in others.”

Fluent in Spanish, Hannah has served as a Bible camp team leader for multilingual, socio-economically diverse children; volunteered to serve meals, distribute care packages and collect donations for charities; used her communication skills to meet the learning styles of orphans in Haiti; and volunteered as a food handler and restocked items in her church’s food pantry, which serves refugees and the poor in the community.

At EWU, Hannah worked during her undergraduate years as a tutor in the Math Lab and Academic Support Center. “I greatly enjoyed assisting my classmates in achieving success,” Hannah said.

Barbara couldn’t be happier because that is what the Barbara Shields Graduate Scholarship is all about.


Ryan Walters has donated countless hours, talents and knowledge for the betterment of the young men of Sigma Phi Epsilon Wa Gamma (SigEp) Chapter at Eastern Washington University. He helped them achieve the highest fraternity GPA on campus for the 2012-13 academic year and instituted a program to develop students into professionals.


Ryan, a property manager at Kiemle & Hagood Co. in Spokane, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from EWU in 2007. As an undergraduate, he held many leadership roles on campus, including SigEp chapter president during his senior year. After graduating, Ryan worked as a regional director and director of expansion for SigEp at the headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. He currently serves as alumni board president for the Washington Gamma chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon at EWU.

His commitment to EWU student success earned Ryan the 2014 Alumni Award for Greek Values and Service. Fraternity brothers who nominated him for the award recognized his ability to advise EWU students with a sense of humor, consistency, firmness, compassion and willingness to make a difference.

Ryan is instrumental in creating leaders by hosting monthly workshops and an annual event aimed at the fraternity’s mission of “building balanced leaders for the world’s communities.” While living up to SigEp’s cardinal principles of virtue, diligence and brotherly love, Ryan has worked to help instill them in the hearts and minds of the next generation.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.”


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.”


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!”


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.


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.”


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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