Rhonda Kromm wouldn’t let car problems keep her from going to college. Since her old vehicle wouldn’t make the drive from Moses Lake, she hitchhiked to Spokane and hiked up the hill to Spokane Community College to enroll. Then she hiked back down the hill to find another ride home.
She wouldn’t let money hold her back, either. With an AA degree completed, Kromm took a year off from school to save up. Then she moved to Colfax, spent mornings taking classes at WSU’s Pullman campus and afternoons coaching at Jennings Elementary. She finished her degree in education in 1986 and that summer moved with her family to Hawaii, figuring WSU would become part of her past.
It wasn’t to be. Kromm continued her involvement with WSU as an alumni volunteer, a grad student, and now president of the WSU Alumni Association (WSUAA).
It was an interesting journey, says Kromm, one that included years as a volunteer with the WSUAA’s Hawaii Chapter, where she helped coordinate WSU events, tailgate parties, and summer send-offs for new students. In 2002, Kromm and her family moved back to Pullman. While raising a family, working as a public-school teacher, and earning a graduate degree, she remained an active volunteer with the Palouse Chapter of the WSUAA. Kromm’s involvement with the Alumni Association includes, in part, serving as president of two chapters, a member of the Board of Directors, and WSUAA president for 2011-12.
She has also served six years as an alumni representative on the WSU Athletics Council. “It was awesome to be involved with WSU Athletics,” she says. Her Hawaii ties made her a great local “auntie” for Hawaii product and Cougar basketball great Derrick Low, who would bring fellow students and teammates over for occasional family dinners. “You could never make too much food for them,” she says of Derrick and his friends. Kromm expanded her involvement even further by serving as the alumni liaison to the WSU Arboretum Committee and the WSUAA representative for the WSU Foundation Board of Governors.
Now Kromm, who worked so hard to get to and finish college, finds herself back on campus all the time. Whether it’s increasing the number of Cougars who are Alumni Association members or helping the Alumni Association expand its support of WSU, “I’m involved everywhere I can be.”
For more information about WSUAA and alumni chapters visit www.alumni.wsu.edu or call 1-800-258-6978.