Eagle 1 Newsletter: February 2023

Monthly Message from EWU President Shari McMahan

February 21, 2023

Dear Eagle Family and Friends,

Each day I try to make time to walk around campus and interact with our incredible students, whether it’s catching them between classes or attending a campus event. It is energizing to see them learning, exploring and making memories.

As part of my efforts to engage our students, I recently hosted “Pizza with the Presidents” — in coordination with the ASEWU — supplying students with over 1,000 slices of pizza in the Nysether Community Room in the PUB and engaging in conversation and answering questions they had for ASEWU and university leaders. We all had fun connecting in a casual atmosphere — the start of a new tradition!

President McMahan enjoying pizza with EWU students
.@ewupresident: “Having pizza with our students! Go Eags!!!”

Pivoting from students to legislators, EWU held our first Eagles on the Hill event in Olympia at the Governor’s Mansion. We were very excited to be able to spend a wonderful evening with alumni and legislators celebrating Eastern and expressing our gratitude to the legislators working hard for EWU. At the event, I was pleased to meet our five EWU interns working this session. They are enthusiastic and eager to expand their understanding of our state legislative process while gaining valuable professional experience. All those who attended the event were very supportive of Eastern’s mission.

President McMahan with a group of students and alumni at the Governor's Mansion in Olympia.
.@ewupresident: “Thank you Governor Inslee for “Eagles on the Hill,” it was great to see our legislators and alumni!”

As part of our recognition of Black History Month, we recently welcomed author and lecturer Dr. Bettina Love for a special keynote presentation and discussion about the need to embrace transformational instruction that is inclusive of the culture and identities of marginalized students. Her dynamic presentation was well-received as she spoke of the complexities of African American life and history, while recognizing contributions in music, art and other fields by Black artists, athletes and intellectuals. At the event, we also recognized long-time employee Angela Schwendiman for her commitment to students, her joy and passion for teaching, and her visionary leadership. Angela is the director of Africana Studies and the first African American woman to serve as assistant dean for the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Angela Schwendiman, director of Africana Studies at EWU, received leadership award.
Angela Schwendiman, director of Africana Studies at EWU, was honored Feb. 8 for her more than two decades of visionary leadership.

On Feb. 10, EWU welcomed Washington State Supreme Court Justice Debra Stephens, along with approximately 100 students from the West Valley School District, for its 13th annual Civics Conference. Justice Stephens has been a member of the Supreme Court since 2008, and as a Spokane native, every year she takes a break from her busy schedule to come to Eastern to deliver the Civics Conference’s keynote address and to lead breakout sessions at the event.

Justice Stephens speaks to students from the West Valley School District
Justice Stephens speaks to students from the West Valley School District.

The conference was launched in 2010 by the Partnership for Civic Engagement, a joint program of the West Valley School District and Eastern Washington University. The partnership works to advance the common good by cultivating citizens who are civically aware, think critically, value social justice, are involved in their communities and understand the purpose of government. This year’s theme was “Who Gets Recognized… And for what?” Prior to Justice Stephens’ keynote, I had the pleasure of welcoming the students and sharing how Eastern recognizes our faculty and staff, whether through major awards or daily moments of gratitude for their work to keep EWU strong.

Photo of the men's basketball team holding their Big Sky trophy
.@ewupresident: “What a great day to be an eagle! Congratulations Big Sky Champions!!!!”

On Saturday, the men’s basketball team clinched a share of the Big Sky Conference title with their 17th-straight win during our annual alumni and family day! We are so appreciative of the community support of all our talented student-athletes, and it was great to see the stands packed with fans in red and white cheering on our men’s basketball team. During half-time, the annual employee vs. URC dodgeball game took place, and all the kids in attendance joined Swoop on the court for Red Light, Green Light! There are a few home games left for men’s and women’s basketball — head to goeags.com for more news and tickets.

Lastly, I want to thank EWU Athletic Director Lynn Hickey for her service to Eagle nation. Lynn recently announced her retirement after a long and successful career in intercollegiate athletics. The beginning of her 50-year career coincided with the start of Title IX, and Hickey was a pioneer as one of the first women to play, coach and then administer collegiate sports. Over the last five years, she has been an important leader at EWU, and we are grateful for her time and energy spent building our athletic programs and supporting our talented student-athletes. She will be missed by many, and we wish her the best in retirement. Go EAGS!

Shari McMahan, PhD
Eastern Washington University