Dear Eagle Family and Friends:
I start with a story that gives me hope. Spokane fourth grader Justin Hawkes recently wrote Eastern a letter. He told us he can’t wait to become an Eastern Washington University Eagle.
“I would LOVE to study in your science classrooms because I LOVE Space,” he wrote. “I am working hard in school so I can go to college.”
His letter warmed our hearts during this uncertain time. So, we sent Justin an Eagle care package—and told him we look forward to the day he joins the Eagle Family!
On April 3, Giving Joy Day, many of you stepped up to support our future and current Eagles. We received $275,805.18 from 279 donors making 370 individual gifts; 191 of the donors were EWU faculty and staff. Thank you to everyone who helped. This was a great way to celebrate Eastern’s 138th birthday!
I’m grateful also to our partners who have joined the recent generosity of Innovia and BECU, and stepped up since Giving Joy Day to support our students who are facing food insecurity. We are working with the Spokane Market Team from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation whose grant funding will provide approximately three months of critical support for 600+ student visits to the EWU Food Pantry. “For many Americans today—especially students—accessing food is a daily challenge,” says Katherine Morgan, senior vice president with Bank of America in Spokane. “Teaming up with EWU, we’re committed to addressing this critical need and expanding accessibility for hunger relief.” As our community works together to support each other during the COVID-19 crisis, they encourage other Eagle community members to add their own contributions if possible.
All this support makes a huge difference for our students, especially right now. The funds raised are supporting student scholarships, the Student Emergency Fund, our food pantry, and the Chromebooks we’re supplying to students who need them to take their classes online.
Today is Giving Tuesday Now Day, a global day of giving and unity. Donors have another chance to support students’ critical needs. To learn more about supporting our students during this time, visit the Giving to EWU website.
We continue to learn wonderful stories of ways in which Eastern students, faculty, and staff are going above and beyond during this difficult time. From volunteering on the front lines to providing personal protective equipment, and even brewing up our own batch of Eagle Sanitizer, folks are demonstrating what it means to be #EagleStrong.
So much Eagle pride and grit make it all the more difficult to report that, like our sister universities in the state, we won’t hold graduation ceremonies face-to-face this year. I so much want us to celebrate our students’ achievements in a public setting. But that’s simply not possible right now. As president, my first priority is the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and their families.
Our graduation team is designing a virtual alternative. Nonetheless, I welcome our 2020 graduates to walk the stage when we convene Commencement face-to-face again in the future!
Missing the energy and excitement of our usually vibrant campuses, I share this brief message with you:
Please be safe and keep those close to you safe as well.
President, Eastern Washington University