I COMPLIMENT THOSE WHO PARTICIPATED in creating this new publication—Washington State Magazine. To me, it is an extension of the “World Class, Face to Face” spirit that pervades Washington State University today. I hope that our readers will learn more about things that are vital and interesting to them and that they will also come to better understand the depth and breadth of the University.
Washington State University has nearly 2,000 faculty with a vast range of interests and expertise. Together, they occupy and utilize millions of square feet of modern facilities equipped with the latest technologies and equipment. Our tenure standards are high, and our commitment to excellence is pervasive. The physical plant of our University never fails to impress visiting faculty and scientists from around the world. And the breadth of interests is mind-boggling.
Take a mental walk with me to a faculty lounge on one of our campuses. Drinking coffee at one table, we find the director of the art museum, a medieval historian, an expert in business finance, and a scientist who works with grizzly bears. Across the room the participants in a lively discussion include a pharmacologist, a performer/composer, a plant geneticist, and a broadcast journalist. All are recognized around the world as leaders in their fields.
For many years we have been known as one of the leading schools in agriculture and the sciences related to it. We are proud of the great accomplishments of our faculty in these areas and have been successful in letting the world know about them. Perhaps too successful! Not long ago I was meeting with a man whose support for our University is very important to us. As usual, I started telling stories about the remarkable work going on at Washington State University, including examples from performing arts, physics, and molecular science. I was just starting to discuss a program in our engineering college when he stopped me. He said, “Lane, it sounds to me like Washington State University is more than an agricultural school.” I think I made a good recovery, but I cannot get that comment out of my mind.
If the public, including our constituencies, fully understands the mission, standards, and commitment of Washington State University, they will also know that adherence to those guides will assure excellence in every area. If we do it, we do it right. As the icing on the cake, we also have that special Cougar touch, a personal commitment to every student and an emphasis on faculty-student contact. That is different from many other large research universities. I really am proud to be associated with this great university.