On Western Washington University's first-ever Western Give Day, 675 donors came together to raise $219,000 for WWU departments, programs and scholarships. Generous supporters also gave $125,000 in matching funds.

#WesternGiveDay brought more donations to WWU in one day than ever before. The previous record was 447 in 2005. The Western Foundation and WWU Alumni Association offer their thanks to the entire campus community for contributing to this successful event by spreading the word and making donations.

All June 1 gifts have been time-stamped, and Foundation staff members will spend the next 48 hours applying matching dollars to gifts and tallying departmental results.

For the 15th time in the last 16 seasons, the Western Washington University women’s rowing program will compete for a NCAA II National Championship.

The Vikings, who won seven straight national titles from 2005 to 2011, were selected as one of four teams to compete in the Varsity 8 and the Varsity 4 competitions in the NCAA II National Championships held May 27-29 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, California, with the Pac-12 Conference serving as host.

What does it take to be a rower? What does it take to be a national champion? Kristin Foster, a senior on the WWU rowing team, filmed and produced this 15-minute documentary on the WWU Rowing team and the sport for her senior honors project as a Visual Journalism major.

The Western Washington University Waterski Team, winner of the 2015 Division II national championship, is one of three finalists in a national video contest sponsored by USA Water Skiing. The final three schools are Auburn University, Clemson University and Western.

Voting is being done at the bottom of this page, which also contains all of the final three videos. Teams were asked to make an exciting, entertaining and creative one-minute video to give viewes a behind-the-scenes look of who they are and what their team is all about.

Voting ends on Thursday, May 12. The winning team, which will win free equipment and further national notoriety, will be announced on May 13.

The team also is hosting the National Collegiate Water Ski Association All-Stars tournament at Borderline Lake in Blaine this weekend. This event will showcase some of the best collegiate water skiers in the country. More information is online.

A video submitted by Western Washington University to the state's Public Service Recognition Week video and essay contest was named one of the best 10 from nearly 130 entries.

The week, sponsored by the Office of Financial Management and Office of Secretary of State, celebrates the work of public employees statewide.

Western's entry is above. This video showcases all of the winning entries; in addition to being placed on the Public Service Recognition Week website, it will be featured at the Why Washington? Employee Value Proposition booth at the recognition week event in Olympia on May 4.

Those at Western who participated in the video are invited to meet Go. Jay Inslee at the Executive Residence. Sarah Crawford and Dennis Dashiell from Human Resources coordinated the video. Appearing in the video are Maria Paredes Mendez, Enrique Castro, June Fraser Thistle, Kate Stevenson, Ted Pratt and Max Bronsema. The video was produced by ATUS Media Services in the university's new Digital Media Center in Haggard Hall.

It's no secret that we're a fan of beautiful sunsets here at Western, likely because of the gorgeous ones visible from the PAC Plaza on campus. WWU videographer Rhys Logan captured this one on Thursday, April 21.

Episode 37 of the Western Window television show features an interview with Western alumnus and longtime Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro. Floyd McKay, an emeritus professor of journalism at Western, chats with Munro about his time on campus, his life in state government and the legacy he has helped foster in both Olympia and Bellingham.

The episode also takes a look at Western's arborists and their work to keep Western's myriad trees in top shape.

Other segments:

  • High School Dancers Take the Stage: The WWU High School Dance Festival hosts regional high school students and faculty to experience what a Dance program is like on a college campus; the days of classes and workshops culminate with a public performance on the WWU mainstage.
  • Collaboration, Education, and Digital Security: A $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation has led to a collaboration between WWU, the University of Washington, Whatcom Community College, and Bellingham Technical College aims to place more community college graduates directly into four-year degree programs in the burgeoning and much-needed field of cybersecurity.
  • Coming Back to Bellingham: Each spring, Western’s Back to Bellingham celebration brings more than 7,000 alumni, parents, students and community members back to campus for a weekend-long celebration of all things WWU.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Western professor Ed Vajda was a grad student in Russia at the time, and he was hired by CBS News as an interpreter and news analyst to help cover the story. A few years ago, he shared this account of his experiences.

Western Washington University has developed several ties with Mongolian universities, organizations and not-for-profit organizations, and those ties are leading to increased opportunities for student study and faculty collaboration in Mongolia.

This past summer, a group of WWU “global ambassadors” traveled for two weeks to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to learn more about opportunities for collaboration between WWU and Mongolian institutions. The ambassadors included Karen Stout, director of the Karen W Morse Institute for Leadership; Lauren McClanahan, associate professor of Secondary Education; Danica Kilander, associate director of the IDEA Institute; and students Caleb Albright, Olivia Hill and Michael Secrist. Through their meetings and travels, the group learned there are many opportunities for educational and research opportunities related to politics and government, sustainability, agriculture and the environment, business and entrepreneurship, education, the libraries, history, culture, language, art and music and leadership.

While in Mongolia, for example, Stout learned about the significant leadership roles women have historically held and continue to hold in Mongolian society. Mongolia is the only country in which women earn more income than men, in which they are the majority of all college and graduate students, and in which they occupy more than 80 percent of office and administrative jobs in the capital city. This summer, Stout will go back to Mongolia with instructor Holly Diaz and a group of approximately 10 students for a three-week study-abroad trip. They will explore the roles and identities of women leaders in education, politics and government, environmental social change, business and entrepreneurship and the arts, to name a few topics.

The study abroad program led by Stout and Diaz will be a 10-credit program in which eight to 10 students will enroll in LDST 337: Issues in Global Leadership and COMM 416: Women and Social Change. They will interview women leaders, visit organizations aimed at supporting leadership development and travel south to the Gobi desert to celebrate the cultural festival of Nadaam. The deadline for this program has been extended to April 29.

Faculty members with research interests that might overlap with current or historical events in Mongolia or who would be willing to teach classes or workshops in Mongolia to help Mongolian instructors develop new pedagogies and gain access to cutting edge research should consider building on the ties Western already has there. Karen Stout and other members of last year’s global ambassador team would be happy to provide them with more information.

The annual arrival of spring is always much looked forward to at Western Washington University.

Find out why in this short video from campus videographer Rhys Logan.

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