Dear Eagle Family and Friends,
It is so hard to believe it has been a year since our world was turned upside down, when we suddenly pivoted from in-person to online learning as the virus took hold and we entered a period of uncertainty and challenge. One might say this March is also upside down, but in a very different — and positive — way as we start to turn the corner back to normal.
Nothing reflects the madness of March more than the NCAA Basketball Tournament (aka, The Big Dance). We are so thrilled that the Eagle men’s basketball team has qualified for this prestigious tournament after winning the Big Sky Championship over the weekend. Sure, we “get” to play mighty Kansas this Saturday. But it’s so much fun to be a part of something this exciting on the national stage!
Congratulations to them, and to all of our hard-working student-athletes who patiently waited to compete this winter and spring — and are doing so very successfully! It seems as if all the women’s and men’s teams are playing at once, with track and field, volleyball, soccer, tennis, golf, basketball and football, all in action this month.
I would like you to meet a few of our Eagle athletes, learn what they’re studying and why they are such an integral part of the Eastern community:
The campus community remains committed to planning for a return to in-person learning in the fall, just so long as public health guidelines and the accessibility of the vaccines ensure safety for all. While things look to be trending in the right direction, Covid-19 is still very much with us. That is why we have made the difficult decision to move forward with virtual commencement ceremonies again this spring. The university hopes to celebrate all of our new alumni who graduated during the pandemic, and will share plans when we do.
We know this pandemic has taught us a lot — about ourselves and our resilient university. So I am excited to announce that the University Archives at EWU Libraries is launching a project to create a digital history of how Covid-19 has impacted the EWU community. “Life During Covid: Preserving Personal Pandemic Stories” will include submissions from students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni that capture how our lives have changed as a result of the pandemic. Topics could include commentary on remote learning, being isolated or quarantined, changes in how you connect with friends and family, ways you’ve seen the pandemic expose inequalities, or how you have helped, or been helped by, others. Please help Eastern capture history and educate future generations by submitting your own written memories, creative works or photography.
I am also excited about a generous gift to Eastern that will have a tremendous impact on our students and faculty. The McKinstry Charitable Foundation has kindly donated $500,000 to help drive research at the Catalyst building on the South Landing of the University District. This commitment will directly support research or experiential learning projects out of this dynamic facility.
There is another opportunity to support our students coming up on Friday, April 2 — the day before EWU’s 139th birthday! Giving Joy Day will once again bring our community together for a fundraising event to assist students facing financial barriers. The 24-hour event promises to be a lot of fun, and will help a lot of hard-working students.
There is also great news for those who want to support Eastern by showing off their Eagle pride. We have a new brand store on Amazon! You can now purchase EWU merchandise by visiting amazon.com/ewu. And as always, you can find a wide selection online or in-person at the EWU Eagle Store.
As students wrap up winter-quarter finals this week and prepare for spring break, we will continue to use thoughtful planning to chart our way toward a return to normal. In the meantime, I am looking forward to sharing more positive news and accomplishments about how our students, faculty and staff are staying Eagle Strong during this remarkable time.
David May, PhD
Eastern Washington University
EWU in the News
Area colleges mull plans for ‘Class of Covid-19’
Friday, April 2
Save the Date: Giving Joy Day
EWU’s Worldwide Day of Giving
Friday, April 30
EWU Alumni Awards
Meet the winners and celebrate with us