Sharing the Benefits of Public Higher Education
As this year’s chair of the Council of Presidents, an organization that represents Washington’s public baccalaureate institutions, I find myself and Evergreen at the center of critical conversations about the future of higher education. Even as I approach the end of my tenure at the college, it has never been clearer that public higher education remains a key to promoting equity and democracy in our nation.
I am distressed by the belief expressed by some in business and government that the benefits of higher education accrue only to the individual attaining his or her degree. In truth, education—and especially publicly supported and widely accessible education— benefits us all. Beyond the economic benefits related to better health, greater productivity, reduced use of social services, and lower incidence of criminal activity among college graduates, education builds an informed and engaged citizenry that can help shape and guide our democracy for the public good.
In this issue of The Evergreen Magazine, you will learn about alumni like you who are working to create a better future—for themselves, their communities, and the wider world. Through these stories, you will see the extraordinary results of intention, creativity, collaboration, optimism, and action. I invite you to be inspired, as I am, by your fellow alumni, decades into their careers and just starting out, and the institution we all have in common: The Evergreen State College.
Thomas L. Purce