From the Chair 2020-21

Dec 19, 2022

The Grand Experiment

I entered The Evergreen State College as a first-year student in 1972, a member of the college’s second entering class—ready to be part of a new, bold effort in higher education. It was a transformative experience for me, as it is for many of our graduates. Four years after I began, I left Evergreen ready to take on the world.

Now, some 50 years later, the school is celebrating a half-century of achievement, and I can’t think of a more appropriate time to thank you, Evergreen’s loyal contributors. From funding scholarships to our work with Native American tribes, and from supporting our leaders to creating equitable learning spaces, you are helping us continue the great Greener traditions of helping students expand their horizons and take on the challenges that await them.

The challenges, of course, are many and serious—for all of us. I have to say that they feel even more daunting today than they did 50 years ago. Our democracy is being challenged at fundamental levels, we continue to struggle with racial and social justice, and our lives and livelihoods face the dual threat of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty.

Even so, the staff, faculty and leadership at Evergreen remain undaunted. We believe in the enterprise of higher education. Like you, we believe in the young people who come to us to learn and grow, because we know that they are the key to making the world a better, richer, more humane place. In turn, generous contributors like you play a key role in supporting this enterprise.

Over the last year, for instance, your contributions to the Student Emergency Fund provide over 625 micro-grants totaling more than $312,767 for students to overcome expected financial obstacles to stay in school. Your generosity to scholarships made it possible for 100 students to afford tuition. Although such contributions are always important to students, they were particularly important this year, with the financial strain imposed by COVID-19. In all, contributors to Evergreen gave $7,733,831 in the past fiscal year.

With your help and that of other donors, Evergreen continues to change and grow. We received a transformational $1 million gift from Christy Holz ’78 and Tim Ball ’80 to launch the new Center for Climate Action and Sustainability. Alumnus Marcia Mueller, MES ’94 decided to create a planned gift to support scholarships for generations to come. And, on the administrative front, the college welcomed George Briggs, Ph.D., back to the faculty after six years of wonderful service as the president and brought in a team of leaders to take the helm: President John Carmichael, Ph.D., and Vice President Dexter Gordon, Ph.D. You can read about these inspirational people in this year’s featured stories.

In short, Evergreen continues to evolve. At the same time, we also hold fast to what matters. Our students continue to look to us for guidance; we continue to marvel at their innovation and courage. And we continue to be grateful to you for being part of Evergreen’s grand educational experiment.

Pam MacEwan ’76
Chair, Board of Governors
The Evergreen State College Foundation