Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
It’s a season of significant change at Eastern Washington University. Spring is ushering in longer days, a waning Covid-19 threat has allowed us to end mask requirements in most situations, and the university is preparing to welcome its 27th president.
I can’t help but think of how far we’ve come over the last two years since the WHO declared a “global pandemic” and our world was turned upside down. There aren’t enough words to describe what has happened since: we have seen the best and worst, and we have made it through to continue to be here together. I want to thank all students, faculty, staff, alumni and our community supporters who remained Eagle Strong as we navigated every difficult step along the way. There is still work to do, but hopefully we are on the road to normalcy.
This is a time of change for myself as well. As many of you know, the EWU Board of Trustees has selected Dr. Shari McMahan to serve as our next president. She will bring energy, ideas and valuable experience to this position, and I encourage you all to welcome her with open arms when she begins this summer.
In the meantime, I will continue leading the university through the next several months of transition as we continue to advance our mission. I can’t tell you how meaningful it has been to hear from so many of you in recent weeks, and your caring messages only reinforce what a special place we have here at Eastern. It has truly been an honor to serve in the president’s office over the last 20 months, and I am proud to have been the person entrusted to lead us through such a historically challenging time.
What comes next? While I do not know what the future holds, I can tell you I am excited to figure out where I will put my energies. For now, this means taking time for myself and my family to reflect, and I will share my plans when I know where the next steps take me.
I do know this, Eastern is on a path to continued incredible success. Led by Government Relations Director David Buri, EWU has put in a lot of work educating state lawmakers about our future plans. So it is exciting to announce the state’s new supplemental budget fully funds our $2.8 million request to boost our cybersecurity program, and also provides Eastern with more than $6 million to develop a Bachelor of Nursing program.
EWU remains a leader in cybersecurity education. This is why industry experts, including some of our alumni and students, joined us for a recent Eastern Edge event in Spokane to share how we’re educating the next generation to help defend the digital horizon.
You’ve also heard a lot about our new state-of-the-art Interdisciplinary Science Center over the last year, which is why we’re excited to tell you renovation work is beginning on the old Science Building next door. Once again, legislative funding is helping us turn that space into a modern facility that will benefit students and faculty.
With our semester and quarter spring breaks upon us, we are enthusiastically preparing for campus to come to life this spring. From Diversity & Inclusion Week, to Sustainability Week – both in April – there will be plenty of opportunities to engage the campus community.
Of course, April will kick off with our annual Giving Joy Day celebration on Monday, April 4, which coincides with Eastern’s 140th birthday (April 3). This will be a special day as we promote the many ways you can support our students through scholarships!
Finally, as we enter this next phase on campus where things will seem back to normal, I encourage you all to show respect, and grace, for people who make personal choices for their own protection and safety. This is a time to work together so we can continue to move Eastern forward.
Until next month,
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University