For those of us fortunate to work in higher education, our year begins with the return of thousands of students to Bellingham. Wide-eyed freshmen and savvy seniors alike mix and mingle in Red Square, in classrooms and labs and throughout campus. Paradoxically, campus comes to life as the autumn leaves turn and begin to fall and the chill in the air portends the approaching winter.
Inevitably, fall allows all WWU alumni to think back to your first time on Western’s campus: moving into the residence halls, that first dining hall meal, finding your way across campus for an 8 a.m. class, meeting people for the first-time who became life-long friends - or your life partner. Whether you graduated last June or attended when Fairhaven College was a good distance from main campus, you all marked the year with the beginning of classes in September. So while campus may not look the same as when you were a student, know that the young people who grace the halls and walkways are living a similar experience. And someday, these same students will join you as proud alumni of Western Washington University.
My sincere thanks to those who made gifts to Western during the 2021-22 academic year. More than $17 million was raised in support of students and programs, a 72% increase over the previous year. ese dollars truly impacted the student experience – from new scholarships to study abroad opportunities, to program enhancements and supporting our capital campaign – the list goes on and on. But there is still more work to be done and we need your help.
Recruiting and retaining students is our highest priority. It is our hope, through the generosity of alumni, friends of Western, corporations and foundations, that the Western Welcome Scholarship fund becomes a beacon of hope for many. I hope you will help us meet this urgent need.
Your Alumni Association has a host of ways for you to be actively involved in your alma mater. Please consider signing up to be a Western Advocate (you can see more information in the ad on page 31), share your professional expertise with current students through WE Connect (our virtual mentoring program) or volunteer to help spread the good news about Western. Visit alumni.wwu.edu or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and learn how you can support WWU with your time and talents. We would love to hear from you.
Happy New Year!