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

In November Evergreen welcomed 450 local Latinx High School students for the 2022 Latinx Youth Summit. With 35 workshops, activities, and performances this summit immersed students in the exciting possibilities of college, careers, and personal growth for their futures. The theme for this summit was: "Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvidó que somos semillas/They wanted to bury us, but they forgot that we are seeds." 


Yosimar Reyes speaking at the 2022 Latinx Youth Summit.

Students heard from Keynote Speaker, Yosimar Reyes, who is a nationally-acclaimed Poet and Public Speaker. Reyes was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and centers queer, working class, and immigrant themes in his work. Reyes has been described as "a voice that shines light on the issues affecting queer immigrants in the U.S. and throughout the world.” 


Ce Atl Tonalli is a traditional Aztec dance troop, dancing at the 2022 Latinx Youth Summit.

A powerful and beautiful performance by Ce Atl Tonalli followed the Keynote address that engaged students in traditional Aztec dancing. Ce Atl Tonalli is a traditional Aztec dance group from the Northwest. This group visits Mexico regularly to reconnect with the land and learn more about their ancestral languages and cultural traditions. 


Latinx alumni panel discussion at the Latinx Youth Summit 2022.
Latinx alumni panel discussion at the Latinx Youth Summit 2022.

Students had an opportunity to hear from Latinx community members who went on to pursue a college degree, while sharing their experiences, challenges faced, and opportunities they discovered. Evergreen Alumni Miguel Pineda '08, Priscella Desiderio '08, Khalo Flores '16, and Olivia Salazar de Breaux '13 shared the power of an Evergreen education and the positive impacts it had in their lives and their communities. 


Sin Fronteras playing at the Latinx Youth Summit 2022.

Sin Fronteras (Without Borders) played beautiful 'nueva canción' (new song) Latin American music to end the wonderful Latinx Youth Summit. Immersing students in traditional and new takes on Latin American music. Sin Fronteras is a Seattle based trio playing traditional Latin American music with roots in Colombian, Chilean, and Mexican cultures. 


You may be wondering, 'who made that beautiful mural behind the stage?'

The mural adorning the Latinx Youth Summit stage was created during the Spring 2022 Quarter in The Mural Project: Exploring our Roots Through Public Arts with Evergreen Faculty Catalina Ocampo in collaboration with artist and Evergreen alumni Patricia Vázquez Gómez '05. Students created a mural focused on Evergreen’s marginalized histories, navigating questions about "Who counts as 'the public' and who is excluded? What demands can be made on public spaces whose uses have traditionally been decided by institutions that are unresponsive to the needs and experiences of historically marginalized communities? Whose experiences do public artists represent? Whose stories do they tell?"


Students at Evergreen working on a public mural project for "The Mural Project: Exploring our Roots Through Public Arts"


Students at Evergreen working on a public mural project for "The Mural Project: Exploring our Roots Through Public Arts"


Students at Evergreen working on a public mural project for "The Mural Project: Exploring our Roots Through Public Arts"


Students at Evergreen presenting their finished public art mural for "The Mural Project: Exploring our Roots Through Public Arts"

OLYMPIA – Both women’s and men’s wrestling and cross-country will be added to The Evergreen State College’s student athletics programs starting in Fall 2023. 

“Student athletes make great Greeners,” said Evergreen’s president Dr. John Carmichael. “They are self-motivated and community minded. We look forward to welcoming more student-athletes to Evergreen.” 

It is estimated that the expansion of Evergreen’s athletics programming, combined with other investments in existing sports teams, should yield more than 100 additional students over the next three years. The new teams join the college’s existing intercollegiate teams - men’s and women’s soccer, basketball and track and field and women’s volleyball. 

“Anytime you have the opportunity to give potential students the opportunity to attend college while participating in an athletic activity, it is cause for celebration,” said executive vice president Dr. Dexter Gordon. “Adding new teams will also help us weave a diverse tapestry within our programs to help ensure that underrepresented groups have equal access to opportunities here at Evergreen.” 

In addition to growing enrollment, successful athletics programs help to build student life on campus, provide a stronger sense of belonging for some students, and supports student retention. Athletics is a key contributor to Evergreen’s diversity, equity, and inclusion mission, and student-athletes are retained at a higher rate.

Recruitment for new Greener athletes starts this month and the college expects teams to be established by Fall Quarter 2023. Learn more about Evergreen’s athletics programs at  


OLYMPIA – The Evergreen State College’s House of Welcome will host a forum with a speaker and a panel on “The Legacy of Residential Boarding Schools for Native Americans, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 6-8pm at the s'gʷi gʷi ʔ altxʷ: House of Welcome on The Evergreen State College’s Olympia campus at 2800 Dogtooth Lane, Olympia, WA 98505. 

This event will be an important discussion of Residential Boarding Schools that were established in the 19th century with the objective of assimilating tribal children by disconnecting them from their tribes and cultures. The discussion will focus on schools in Washington state that most impacted regional tribes. Tribal youth were forced to attend these schools where they were punished for speaking their tribal languages as part of a larger practice of taking tribal lands and children. Many of the schools continued until the mid-20th century.  

Keynote speaker for the event, Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribes, is the chief executive officer of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. She speaks nationally on the issue of boarding schools and their ongoing effects on Tribal and First Nations peoples across the continent.  

Leading a panel discussion to follow Parker’s keynote is Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip Tribes, who is director of policy and advocacy for the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. She previously served as Native American coalitions director for the Democratic National Committee and has served as an elected member of the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors.  

Kara Briggs, Sauk-Suiattle, is vice president for Evergreen’s Tribal Relations, Arts, and Cultures Division, and she is a former president of the Native American Journalists Association. Briggs will serve as the forum moderator.  

The event is a collaboration between Evergreen’s Tribal Relations, Arts, and Cultures Division and the “Asylums: Institutions of Social Control in American History” class. For more information, please visit the webpage 

Hello and happy fall 2022. This update will provide a brief overview of legislative related activities during the 2022 interim and some good news about campus!

Interim has been busy – starting with Governor Inslee visiting in April to talk with justice involved students, Evergreen leadership and top officials from Department of Corrections and the Washington Student Achievement Council. Next, Congressman Derek Kilmer visited Tacoma to meet with students and learn more about the barriers students are facing in accessing higher education. Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland paid the Olympia campus a visit to familiarize herself with ongoing projects and services that support students in the South Sound region. Meetings with legislators have also taken place throughout interim with visits to Representative Leavitt in University Place, Senator Mullet in Issaquah, and Representative Slatter in Bellevue as well as various meetings conducted virtually!

Finally, all six presidents of public four-year higher education institutions gathered in Bellingham to discuss priorities for the coming biennium.

On campus, good news abounds as we enter the 2022-23 academic year. Enrollment among the incoming class grew by 17% since the previous year, this is the largest increase since the year 2000!

Additionally, Evergreen was recently ranked No.1 in the Washington Monthly college rankings. This ranking system looks at social mobility of students, impact of research, and contribution to the public good – these items closely align with our values and we’re glad to be recognized in this way.

Finally, Evergreen was awarded a $2.1 million Title III grant from the federal government. The funds will be used to improve our holistic advising system, providing wrap around supports to students. Direct help with advising, career planning, and navigating the college experience is especially important for historically underserved populations. 80% of our student body comes from one or more underserved background (low income, first generation, students of color, students with disabilities, etc.).

At this point in fall, election day looms large. Legislative committees are set to meet at the end of November and soon after those meetings legislative leaders will meet to decide committee make up for the coming biennium.

Stay tuned to learn more about Evergreen’s priorities for the 2023-25 biennium!

OLYMPIA – For the first time ever, The Evergreen State College will welcome trick-or-treaters at its Lord Mansion, located in the heart of Olympia’s historic Capitol neighborhood.

From 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Halloween evening, staff, faculty, and student volunteers will be providing treats to all the ghosts, goblins, and of course, geoducks who venture up to the festively decorated “Monster Mansion.” There will also be photo opportunities with Speedy, the college’s mascot, throughout the night.

The Lord Mansion aka the Monster Mansion is located at 211 21st Avenue SW in Olympia and is just six blocks from the Capitol Campus. 

Learn more about Evergreen’s undergrad, grad and professional studies programs at the event or at


OLYMPIA – On a day where sports will be headline news in Seattle with the Seahawks and possibly the Mariners playing, The Evergreen State College in Olympia will be celebrating its own athletics program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16. 

Evergreen’s Recreation and Athletics Hall of Fame will induct alum and former head soccer coach, John Purtteman and the 2002 Men’s Basketball team. 

Purtteman coached Evergreen’s men’s soccer team for 15 seasons and the women’s team for three. He compiled a conference record for the men’s team of 92 wins, 79 losses and 27 draws, was named The Cascade Conference Coach of the Year in 2012 and 2016 and established the college's single-season, record with a .778 winning percentage. 

The 2002 Evergreen Men’s Basketball Team will also be inducted. This team was the 2002 Mens’ Basketball Conference Champions resulting in the college’s first appearance at the National Tournament with a record of 18 wins and 2 losses. The team included current Evergreen Basketball Coach, Jackie Robinson.

“We’ve not held an inductee ceremony in four years, said Evergreen’s Assistant Athletic Director, Zeb Hoffman. “Evergreen has had athletes from across the country and around the world come to take part in the college's unique learning atmosphere and dig deep into competition playing for the men's and women’s sports. It is an honor to have Coach Purtteman and members of the 2002 Men’s basketball team back to campus and induct them into Evergreen’s Hall of Fame.”

The hall of fame inductee ceremony will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Evergreen’s Evans Hall (Library Building) on the 4th Floor in room 4300. For more information and schedules for Geoduck spots, please visit the athletics website at 


OLYMPIA – The Evergreen State College is hosting the 20th Annual Latinx Youth Summit on November 22. This will be the first in-person summit since 2019 when it was held at Saint Martin’s University and was last hosted by Evergreen in 2016. 

This college and career event is open to high school students, their parents, and their educators in Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Pacific and Grays Harbor counties. 

The workshops throughout campus include topics such as how to apply for financial aid, getting college credit in high school, mural making, voice and identity, careers in STEM and many more. 

Evergreen in partnership with the Hispanic Roundtable, whose mission is to strengthen the Latino community through partnerships, education, community building and cultural representation, opens its doors with a day of keynote speakers, entertainment, food and more. 

This year’s theme for the summit is Somos Semillas/We are Seeds. 

“Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvidó que somos semillas.”  

“They wanted to bury us, but they forgot that we are seeds.” 

Registration information can be found here along with a full list of workshops, speakers, check-in details and times. 



Registration information can be found here along with a full list of workshops, speakers, check-in details and times. 



Olympia – Lt. Governor, Denny Heck has been named the 2022 Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award Winner by his college alma mater, The Evergreen State College. 

The award was established in 2014 and named for accomplished Evergreen graduate and lifelong advocate of the college, Joe Dear, who dedicated his life to public service. Dear’s list of accomplishments includes helping restore solvency to the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, heading the Washington State Investment Board and Department of Labor and Industries, leading the federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration under President Clinton, serving as Chief of Staff to Washington Governor, Gary Locke and sitting on The Evergreen State College Foundation’s Board of Governors.

The award honors other alumni, who like Dear, go above and beyond in public service. 

“The Lieutenant Governor’s lifelong dedication to Washingtonians and public service exemplifies what the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award represents,” said Evergreen President, Dr. John Carmichael. “Denny’s work representing Washington as a United States Representative and in the State House of Representatives along with his entrepreneurial work as a business owner, leadership in environmental policy and advocacy for open government all represent the foundation that Evergreen challenges its students to build.”

“I’m honored to be receiving this distinguished award,” said Lt. Governor, Denny Heck. “When I attended Evergreen I learned critical thinking, good communication skills, resourcefulness and the idea that I should follow my passion – public service. Evergreen helped me build a strong foundation that has allowed me to spend my life’s work doing what I love and what I believe in.”

Heck will receive his award during a luncheon at Evergreen’s “Return to Evergreen,” weekend which kicks off with a presentation from Evergreen’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from 1-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and a full day of events from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15. The luncheon will be from noon to 1:45 p.m. October 15 in Evans Hall on Evergreen’s Olympia campus. 

This will be the first in-person Return to Evergreen since the pandemic. For more information on the Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award, please visit the webpage, for more about Return to Evergreen, visit 

TACOMA – The Evergreen–Tacoma campus has been providing a college education right in the heart of the Hilltop neighborhood for going on three decades and is celebrating Fall Quarter with an increase in enrollment – up 48 percent from last fall.  

Like most higher education institutions, The Evergreen State College, including its Tacoma campus, saw a decrease in enrollment,especially during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Evergreen-Tacoma offers a robust, community-based style of learning. Each school year, there is a theme and this year’s is “Liberty and Justice for Whom?” Throughout each quarter for the 2022-23 school year, faculty, speakers and special guests will work with students at the Tacoma campus to develop an understanding of the justice system as it was, as it is today and what it can be in the future.  

“We are so excited to welcome our new and returning students to The Evergreen State College’s Tacoma campus,” said Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga, Dean of Tacoma. “Tacoma has a rich history of welcoming community and education. It is a place where magical transformation occurs and authentic learning takes the front seat.” 

Evergreen Tacoma, whose original founders are Dr. Maxine Mimms and Dr. Joye Hardiman, was created to bring education to all who wanted it. On Sunday, October 16, the campus will host an evening event featuring human rights activist, poet, educator and Black Panther Leader, Ericka Huggins. 

“I first encountered The Evergreen State College when I met Dr. Maxine Mimms and Dr. Joye Hardiman, founders of Evergreen’s Tacoma campus through the grassroots community engagement and rich history that these two extraordinary educators brought to the Hilltop community,” said Dr. Dexter Gordon, Executive Vice President for The Evergreen State College.  

Both campuses for The Evergreen State College are celebrating a 14 percent increase in enrollment overall as well as the award of $2.1 million in a Title III Grant that will allow the college to better serve its students – especially those traditionally underserved by higher education institutions. 

“Evergreen is on the right side of the education spectrum. I see the college as a full partner with the rest of the state in providing the kind of quality education of which we can all be proud. I look around the country and am hard-pressed to see another public, liberal arts institution that is dedicated to removing barriers to education while making sure that diversity is central to what we do,” said Gordon. 

Evergreen’s Tacoma campus is a dynamic liberal arts program focused on community, flexibility and convenience. The campus also offers a bi-lingual, Early Childhood Education Program which will help prepare students for a career working with children while earning their bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. Contact Shawn Harris if you are interested in the Early Childhood Education program at or by calling 253-680-3000.