The Evergreen State College Board of Trustees and President George Bridges announced today they are beginning a leadership transition at the college, which will culminate in selection of a new president by the time Bridges concludes his presidential contract in June 2021.
Bridges, an award-winning University of Washington educator and former president of Whitman College, recently informed the board of his decision to retire as president and return to teaching.
“We agree that now is an appropriate time to begin this important transition at Evergreen,” said Board of Trustees Chair Karen Fraser, a retired Washington state Senator and former Evergreen adjunct faculty who recently assumed leadership of the Board. She noted that the selection of a new president is a lengthy, complex process that can take up to a year, so beginning now will allow the board to proceed thoughtfully and carefully.
“George has led Evergreen in making important advances in our academic programs and support for students, including significant fundraising for scholarships. He has helped create a more equitable and inclusive campus and laid the foundation for a major fundraising campaign. And he has done so while guiding the college through many challenges, with wisdom and compassion,” said Fraser.
“We look forward to continuing to work with him and the campus community over the next year to enhance the college, while we conduct a national search for the next president of Evergreen,” she said.
“I appreciate the support and guidance the Board has offered me as we look to the future to increase enrollment, improve student success, and strengthen and broaden the exceptionally high-quality educational experience that Evergreen offers,” said Bridges. “I’m confident this is the right approach as we advance the college.”
The Board will soon take steps to initiate the presidential search process.
“We will be looking for a dynamic, innovative, and collaborative leader who can guide Evergreen through its next exciting chapter,” said Fraser. “There’s a special spark and power to an Evergreen education, as innumerable alumni will attest. As our future unfolds, we want to provide this exceptionally valuable educational opportunity to many more students.”
Evergreen, one of Washington state’s six baccalaureate-granting public colleges, offers a distinctive interdisciplinary, collaborative education which prepares students for success in the sciences, arts, public service and business. Graduates include U.S. Congressman Denny Heck, performer Macklemore, musician and actor Carrie Brownstein, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, entrepreneur Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com, and many more who have earned high acclaim for their professional achievements.
The college student body includes a high percentage of returning adult, first-generation, and Native students. Inside Higher Ed states that Evergreen’s commitment and support for veteran students is one of the highest in the nation.
Evergreen scores highly in national rankings, making the Fiske Guide’s list of top twenty colleges in the nation scored as a “Best Buy” in 2019 for their high-quality academic offerings and affordable cost.
Evergreen was recognized by the national Washington Monthly as the best master’s university in the U.S. in 2019. The college offers three master’s degree programs: public administration, including tribal administration; environmental studies; and teaching.
Evergreen alumni generate $535 million in annual earnings for the state, while the college brings more than 1,600 jobs, $11.6 million in tax revenue and about $200 million in output to the region, according to a recent study by the Thurston Economic Development Council. Evergreen returns $4.68 to the local economy for every dollar of state investment.
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