Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
We are now a few weeks into spring quarter. Flowers are blooming, songbirds are chirping, and there is a buzz in the air as we continue planning for the return of most of our employees to campus over the summer and our students this fall.
I want to thank all of the staff and faculty who are thoughtfully developing office and classroom protocols that will ensure our entire campus community stays safe and healthy. I know we are all eager to see each other’s faces in-person once again. Over the coming weeks, campus buildings will slowly begin opening up. And we are still on track for a July 1 “reopening” with staff returning to campus for in-person work.
Even during difficult times, there is always a lot to celebrate at Eastern. Congratulations to the men’s basketball team, with their Big Sky Conference championship and strong showing in the first round of the NCAA national championship tournament! Social media was fascinated by our players’ tenacity—including some fun banter about the Groves brothers—and our EWU Admissions websites saw high traffic volumes. Thank you to all the fans who cheered our Eagles on from afar! And a special thank you and congrats to our student-athletes. These dedicated Eagles, who continue to represent Eastern both in and out of the classrooms so well, have achieved 41 straight quarters with a department GPA of 3.00 or higher since fall 2007!
Eastern recently celebrated its 139th birthday, an occasion that also marks our annual Giving Joy Day event. This year’s activities focused on support for the Eagle On fund, an aid program that provides scholarships, grants, and paid internship opportunities to deserving Eagles who need that extra push toward the graduation finish line. For Eagle On, and a host of other worthy recipients, I am pleased to report that we raised more than $165,000. From visiting and supporting Eagle-owned businesses to thanking our community partners who provide valuable internships to our students, Giving Joy Day was truly a great way to celebrate our mission and community.
This week we also celebrate Earth Day. In honor of this important environmental event, Eastern is excited to share an initiative that highlights a major sustainability project underway on the Cheney campus. The Prairie Restoration Project will transform 120 acres of university-owned land back to its native “Palouse” habitat. Learn more about this amazing multidisciplinary project that involves students, faculty, staff and Native Communities.
I also invite everyone to participate in Diversity & Inclusion Week, which started on Monday. Led by our Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the week’s activities challenge our entire community to be “All In” on its commitment to lift up and support one another as we continue to tackle social justice issues that impact underserved and underrepresented groups in our society.
All of the events, including our annual Chertok lecture series, are open to the public. Thank you to our ODEI staff and planning committee members who have worked diligently to plan this week full of events!
The next few weeks will see the wrapping up of the spring semester, and will bring us closer to the end of the academic year and a much-needed break over the summer. It has been a challenging year, and we still have some more work to do — and some difficult decisions to make — before we get to take that break. But Eastern is poised to find new and innovative ways to continue to meet our 139-year-old mission of serving students and our region. I am excited to see what great things we will do together in the future, and I am very much looking forward to the end of the year and celebrating virtually with all of our soon-to-be alumni.
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University