I slept this weekend and truly deserved it! I have been on the move since early January, travel for conferences, development, and federal engagement can be exhausting. But the time is punctuated by surprising moments of impact and connectivity as well as a deep recognition (and gratitude) for all the work people at WSU are doing every day to support our mission. Some highlights.
Poignant re-connection, coming full circle: As any parent or mentor knows, we never really know the small things we say or do that make a big difference. As a graduate student at UC Davis, I mentored pre-vet undergraduates in research. One of those mentees was a young woman named Liddy. Fast forward 20 years, Elizabeth (Liddy) Alvarez just received the 2022 AAVMC Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award. Veterinary medicine is a small community. Helping students along the way adds joy and impact … as Liddy now also knows.
New connections: Our alumni are proud friends of the college. They are also often donors. When I have the opportunity to share lunch or dinner with these new-to-me, long-term friends, I love hearing the value they place on their education, on their experience here, and on the college and its students. It is a constant reminder of the special place we hold in people’s hearts and minds. This time, well spent, can reinvigorate and fully define ideas and drive progress on our college priorities. These relationships build our future.
Impact of long-term investment: WSU invests in an amazing team of people who engage on our behalf for federal programmatic support. These people (shout out to Glynda Becker-Fenter and team) spend their days (and nights) building relationships and championing critical federal programs that provide funding for programs that directly benefit WSU and the college (farm bill, US Department of Agriculture, Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more). Their engagement means WSU is understood by those who run our federal government (twenty somethings!) and they come to us with knowledge and insight as to how they can support WSU excellence in, for example, research infrastructure and priority initiatives. As Dr. Chrissy Eckstrand, who spent the day with me “on the hill,” questioned: “Glynda (and team) works full time like this on behalf of WSU?” Why yes, they do. And it matters.
And that is the beauty of how we develop. The alignment of purposeful travel, random meetings, relationship building, committed long-term investments, directed conversations, kismet. All balance to become strategy for how we grow as One College with so many different connections and programs.