As we ring in a new academic year, I am excited to take this opportunity to once again welcome you all back to campus. I also want to take just a few minutes to give you a brief update on what's been happening around my office and the campus in recent months, and what lies ahead for the University.
When I rang the bell to signify the start of classes Wednesday morning, it was actually the end of a very busy stretch of time for the Eastern community.
First, let's take a step back to August. The second annual EWU Community Food Drive was a huge success. Thanks to your great efforts, Eastern donated seven tons of food and more than $8,200 to the Cheney Food Bank and Second Harvest Inland Northwest of Spokane. Many thanks to members of the football team and women's soccer team who helped unload all those heavy boxes at the Cheney Food Bank.
I also spent a great deal of time this summer meeting with various community and higher education leaders. Together with Greater Spokane Inc., I had a chance to visit with members of the Greensboro Partnership – an economic and community development organization from Greensboro, N.C. The meetings centered on economic development of the University District in Spokane, with the Greensboro delegation sharing their experiences from their home city. As you know, EWU Spokane is a vital part of the growing University District with our many great programs in the College of Business and Public Administration as well as the Health Sciences.
Back on campus, we celebrated the grand reopening of Hargreaves Hall on Sept. 10. A three–year construction project upgraded the 69–year–old building's infrastructure, created state–of–the–art instructional space and preserved Hargreaves historical character. If you have not had a chance to walk through this grand old building, I invite you to drop in for a visit – and be sure and take a look at the revitalized Hargreaves Reading Room on the second floor.
As the start of classes moved closer, the pulse on campus picked up as new and returning students started to settle in for the year. By the time the traditional move–in weekend arrived, we were pretty certain the University would see a record enrollment. While the numbers aren't final as of yet, it looks like Eastern will have the largest student body in school history with well over 10,000 students. This will no doubt create some challenges in light of the state budget cuts, but I am confident we can all work together to make sure our students succeed in the classroom.
That student body will include almost 1,500 freshmen, many of whom participated in the annual Pass Through the Pillars tradition on Monday, Sept. 21. Students were greeted by cheering faculty and staff as they walked up the brick path from College Avenue toward Showalter Hall.
Earlier that day, I was honored to participate in the annual Fall Gathering Breakfast. During the event, I was proud to accept a fundraising check from EWU Foundation Chair Steve Dahlstrom. It is nice to know that during these difficult times, people are still willing to give and support the University. I also enjoyed the upbeat messages from faculty and classified staff leaders who spoke at the breakfast. My welcome back message that morning focused on how the campus dealt with the difficult budget situation over the past year. While many more budget issues still must be tackled, I outlined some key goals that I believe will help us through the process. I also urged the University community to remain upbeat and work together to accomplish our mission of excellent student instruction. The full speech can be viewed on the EWU website at www.ewu.edu/speeches.
It is my goal to keep the communication lines open this year through various e–mails and monthly newsletters such as this one. I look forward to seeing you around campus, and I thank you for your continued hard work during these challenging times.
Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD
Dr. Arévalo pulls the rope in the Cheney Normal School Heritage Center to ring in the new academic year.
2009 EWU Community Food Drive
Visiting with members of the Greensboro Partnership
2009 Pass Through the Pillars
Hargreaves Hall Grand Re-opening
2009 Fall Gathering Breakfast
For all these photos and more check out EWU's Flickr photo share.