Cougs step up.

Numerous courageous people on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic—nurses, doctors, first responders, and essential workers—sacrificed and helped us all. Many WSU alumni, faculty, and staff sought ways to support them, and to reach out to those in need…


At her home in Alexandria, Virginia, in February, Vice Admiral (ret.) RAQUEL BONO (’15 MBA) likely thought the chances of going back to work just six months into retirement were slim.

As she considered the increasing strain put on health care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, she knew something needed to be done when she received a phone call from Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono
Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono (Courtesy Military Health System/USDOD)

When Inslee asked if she would serve as Washington state’s COVID-19 hospital “czar” and manage the hospital surge capacity, Bono packed a bag, booked her flight, and started work three days later.

Bono immediately began working with care facilities and the federal government. She assessed the needs of different facilities, ensuring medical staffing needs were met, and worked to develop standard protocols. Her initial job of coordinating hospital beds and staffing expanded to increasing virus testing and managing protective equipment and ventilator distribution.

She advises the governor, his staff, and state agencies on actions needed to address the capacity and strain across the health care system. She also coordinates with the emergency operations center to initiate statewide efforts.

In a recent Oregon Public Broadcasting article, Bono spoke about how her military experience helped her dive into this new role. Her 36-year tenure in the Navy taught her to be agile and find orderly ways to approach problems and create solutions, she said, skills that were also emphasized in her WSU Executive MBA online program.

“Professional development education is a part of every officer’s career,” Bono says. “My Executive MBA education was transformative in terms of giving me the business knowledge and additional leadership skills necessary to transcend the geographic and cultural boundaries I encountered every day in my career.”

Bono, the first woman surgeon in the military to hold the rank of vice admiral, served in fleet hospitals in Saudi Arabia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Most recently, she was director of the Department of Defense’s Defense Health Agency.

Read the full story at the Carson College of Business


GLEN TRAN (’20 EMBA) runs one of two new N95 mask manufacturing plants for Honeywell.

DACK BUSCH (’91 Elec. Eng.) heads up Qumulo, a company providing free cloud software to COVID-19 researchers.