With $3.6M Gift WWU Establishes The Merriman Financial Literacy Program

Nationally recognized author and financial educator Paul Merriman (’66) makes gift to establish The Merriman Financial Literacy Program

Bellingham, WA, Oct. 3, 2023 — Paul Merriman (’66) and his wife Zan Merriman have made a $3.6 million commitment to establish the new Merriman Financial Literacy Program at Western Washington University. The program will provide financial literacy skills to students at Western and will be offered to members of the community, including K-12 students. 

The goal of the program, which will be facilitated by Western faculty, is to provide all students and community members with the skills to navigate their finances in a way that supports their financial future and overall well-being.  

“For ten years I have hoped there would be a time when every Western student would graduate with a solid background in the basics of financial decision making. I’m thrilled to see my wish will come true,” said Merriman. 

Provost Brad Johnson said, “We are so grateful to Paul for his dedication to the importance of passing along sound financial education to our student community, and of course, for his generosity in making that idea a reality. The ability to resource the Financial Literacy initiative will allow us to not only provide our students with a sound background in fundamentals, but it will also allow us to impact the greater community as well, which is an important component of our mission.”  

The program will complement the existing financial literacy courses available to students at WWU, and any new offerings to students as part of the program will count toward general university requirements. Future offerings through Merriman Financial Literacy Program will be through the College of Business and Economics. Members of the community will be able to access the Merriman Financial Literacy Program as a certificate through Outreach and Continuing Education at Western. 

Deanna Kennedy, Dean of the College of Business and Economics said, “The Paul Merriman Financial Literacy funding will help us provide a robust program of opportunities so that students and community members are prepared with the tools to effectively navigate their finances and career success.” 

Paul Merriman is a nationally recognized authority on mutual funds, index investing and asset allocation. After retiring in 2012 from Merriman Wealth Management, Paul created the Merriman Financial Education Foundation, which is dedicated to providing investors of all ages with free information and tools to make informed financial decisions.  

Paul is the author of eight books and the 2021 recipient of the American Association of Individual Investor’s James Cloonan Award for Excellence in Investment Education.  


About Western Washington University 

Western Washington University offers more than 200 academic programs on its main campus located in Bellingham, and at additional sites in Anacortes, Bremerton, Everett, Port Angeles and Poulsbo. Western is recognized nationally for its successes, such as being named one of the top public master’s-granting institutions in the Pacific Northwest for 25 years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. The report also ranks WWU in the top 10 in the West—a region encompassing more than 500 public colleges and universities from Texas to the West Coast—and also spotlights Western as among the best colleges for veterans. WWU is identified as one of the most sustainable, green campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club, is known for being a top producer of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Hollings Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Peace Corps volunteers, and nationally ranked for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates. The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Academic Workplace report named Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment and tenure clarity and process.  


Media Contacts 

Jonathan Higgins, Director of WWU Communications, jonathan.higgins@wwu.edu 

Frances Badgett, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, The Foundation for WWU and Alumni, frances.badgett@wwu.edu