President and Trustees Meet With Legislators

A chance for Washington State's independent colleges to have their voices heard.

By: Becky St. Clair

Jere Patzer and John McVay met with Lt. Governor Brad Owen (center) in the senate chamber last week.

On Thursday, February 14, thirty-five people representing 8 independent colleges and universities throughout the state of Washington, met with Governor Gregoire over lunch. Institutions represented were Heritage University (Toppenish – near Yakima), Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma), Saint Martin’s University (Lacey – near Olympia), Seattle University, University of Puget Sound (Tacoma), Whitman College (Walla Walla), Whitworth University (Spokane), and Walla Walla University.

In addition to President John McVay, five WWU trustees were in attendance: DeLona Lang Bell (who also serves on the Independent Colleges of Washington board), Barbara Prowant, Russell Gilbert, Allan Hurlbert, and Jere Patzer.

The discussion’s focus throughout the meal was, predictably, on education, but particularly the ways in which Independent Colleges of Washington (ICW) institutions participate in the education of math and science teachers in the state.

“It was good to talk about the interface between ourselves, the state university system, and the needs of our state for math and science teachers,” says McVay. “Partnership and collaboration were stressed throughout the discussion.”

After lunch, the ICW delegation – including the WWU representatives – fanned out and met various legislators. Each representative specifically urged legislators to keep in mind the efficient way in which the ICW schools deliver education, and reminded them to include ICW’s students when considering the allocation of student aid dollars.

McVay and Patzer, upon visiting Lt. Governor Brad Owen’s office, found themselves seated with Owen on the platform of the senate chamber, being introduced to those in attendance by Owen himself. Other delegates, including Lang Bell, met with Senator Mike Hewitt who represents WWU’s district.

“It is always beneficial for the private colleges and universities to keep our agenda before the governor,” says Lang Bell. “It’s important that our interests are represented when legislation is being passed that could impact our ability to thrive.”

ICW has ten member institutions, including WWU. These institutions enroll more than 33,000 students across the state, and award 25 percent of all baccalaureate and higher degrees conferred in Washington State.

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