New WSUAA president Lisa Steele Haberly ’99 has a sunny outlook, and it’s no wonder. She makes her home in Tucson, Arizona, where the sun shines nearly year-round. It’s a long way—both geographically and environmentally—from the cool, damp climate of her native Federal Way or the icy winters of Pullman, her college home. But the distance hasn’t dimmed her enthusiasm for her alma mater. “I’m more excited and passionate about WSU than I was when I was in school,” she says.
As an undergraduate communication student, she wasn’t involved with the Alumni Association. It wasn’t until she relocated to Arizona in 1999 that the homesick young graduate recognized the power of strong alumni bonds. At local WSU alumni events, she discovered a home away from home in the company of her fellow desert-dwelling Cougars.
Soon she was lending a hand. By 2006 she’d taken a leadership role in the Arizona and Southern Nevada Chapter. During her four-year stint as chapter president she worked tirelessly to engage more Cougars, increasing the number of events five-fold, recruiting six additional chapter representatives to help grow membership, and founding the popular Cougars at Spring Training Event in Peoria, Arizona.
“My favorite part of leading my local chapter was hands-on community involvement,” she says. As president of the WSUAA, she’ll serve a much larger community, a factor that boosts the challenges along with the rewards. “Volunteering for my local chapter helped me meet my neighbors, essentially,” she says. “I learned so much about my community and it was satisfying to help build and strengthen the Cougar family. Now, I’m looking forward to helping connect more Cougars nationwide.”
When she’s not working as a technical support engineer for Raytheon Missile Systems, Steele Haberly still soaks up the Tucson sunshine at local WSU events with husband Jeff Haberly ’99 and their children Mason and Isla. Her presidential duties mean she’ll spend more time in Pullman and Seattle this year engaging alumni in support of the University’s goals. “Outreach is key to the success of any organization, especially a university,” she says. “I’m looking forward to helping keep alumni connected and helping out-of-state alumni feel like part of the team.”
To join and learn more about WSUAA, visit alumni.wsu.edu.