Damien Pattenaude went back to his old school in Renton when there was a need. Now he wants to see even more kids return to Renton classrooms as teachers, just as he did.
It has become an even more urgent concern for Pattenaude (’99, ’05 MA, ’16 EdD) now that he is superintendent of the growing Renton School District. Like other school administrators across Washington and the country, he faces a teacher shortage, especially in special education, math, and sciences. Schools also need more diversity among teachers, to better represent the state’s changing population.
“After you set the table with your best efforts, let your real pleasure come from looking around the table before breaking bread together and appreciating the similarities in your guests rather than the differences.”
—Maya Angelou, 2011
Breaking bread, banquets, or potlucks—however and wherever we enjoy the delightful experience of sharing a meal, we can tell our stories, cross cultural boundaries, and begin to learn each other’s histories.
The holidays especially give us the opportunity to gather for food and talk, so important when it feels like we live in a time rife with incivility and torn by divisiveness.
Former WSU President Elson S. Floyd pulled together a group of campus leaders in late 2014 to sketch out a vision of a new kind of building on campus: a place for cultural education and events. Although Floyd died in 2015, the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center, under construction on the corner of Stadium and Main, will be a signature welcome to WSU with a “rolling hills” roof and open design.
Maria de Jesus Dixon, manager of operations for the Cultural Center, believes the center is unique among the nation’s universities and colleges. WSU’s multicultural student population has grown … » More …
Bill Gaskins says he knows exactly when Felicia Cornwall fell in love with him. On a snowy day in 1963, the two were walking arm-in-arm along WSU’s Hello Walk.
Felicia, a sophomore from Tacoma, was taking mincing steps through the icy slush when Bill, a freshman from Spokane, told her she needed to be more bold.
“Look Felicia, you need to stride like this,” he said, stepping forward with the athletic gait of a running back, which he was. At that exact moment his feet flew out from under him and he landed on his backside.
Bill is laughing, filling the room with his deep … » More …
Over the past year fall semester enrollment at Washington State University’s four campuses grew by 2.5 percent—from 21,248 to 21,794. The freshman class at the Pullman campus is the second largest in history and the most diverse ever, with students of color totaling 409, or 15 percent of the class. The class total increased to 2,619 from a fall 2000 total of 2,473. Transfer students were up from 1,318 to 1,329.
“We are pleased with these solid numbers,” said Charlene Jaeger, vice president for student affairs. “The University plans to attract the most able students. We are interested in quality, not quantity.”
In June 2001, at the village of Mpeasem in Ghana, West Africa, Cynthia Dillard was enstooled as Nkosua Ohemaa Nana Mansa II.
“To be enstooled,” she explains, “I was bathed and dressed, then to music and dancing, joined in a procession of the local chiefs as they seated me on the stool that symbolizes that authority. I was named for an early queen mother of the village. It was an intense honor.”
For Dillard, an associate professor at The Ohio State University (OSU), the roots of that experience extend back to Washington State University, where she received a master’s degree in 1987 and a … » More …
Where demographers see change, Lauri (Smith) Jordana ‘88 sees opportunity.
Jordana is the founder of Conexión Marketing in Seattle, which is dedicated to marketing companies to the rapidly growing Hispanic/Latino market.
When Jordana graduated from Washington State University in foreign language and literature, she immediately left for Spain, which she’d fallen in love with during her year abroad, intending to spend the rest of her life there. But her life plans were pre-empted when she got homesick and returned to Washington after a year.
Back home, with fluent Spanish, she embarked on a series of positions with various companies, helping them reach Hispanic consumers. She … » More …
Not since white settlers surged west, overwhelming the native population, has Washington been at all diverse in its population, at least if one defines “diverse” by ethnicity rather than European country of origin. By 1890, whites represented 97 percent of Washington’s recorded populace, and that number remained static for decades. Now that mix has started to change. Just recently, the white (not Hispanic) portion of Washington’s population dropped below 80 percent, for the first time since the mid-19th century.