board of trustees

At its last meeting of 2023, The Evergreen State College’s Board of Trustees, in an action to incentivize the retention of current college president John Carmichael, voted to extend his contract through June 2027 and to add a deferred compensation component to his compensation.

Board members expressed much appreciation for Carmichael’s successful leadership in achieving significant enrollment growth, expansion of student housing to accommodate more students, broadening of the curriculum, increases in philanthropic contributions, improvements to the college’s finances and numerous upgrades to infrastructure. These and many more successes constitute the motivation of the Board to retain him beyond his current contract June 2025 expiration date.

President Carmichael expressed appreciation to the many in the college he has worked with who have contributed their leadership talents to bringing about these successes. These include executive leadership, faculty, staff and students.

Following the meeting, Board Chair Karen Fraser stated, “It is a pleasure to work with President Carmichael. The Board is exceptionally pleased with his thoughtful leadership style and his many successes that have advanced the college. Students, faculty, staff and the communities served by the college will benefit significantly from his continuing commitment.”

The Evergreen State College is proud to announce the appointment of Onya Robertson as the Student Member of its Board of Trustees. Onya, a bright, dedicated and ambitious student, brings a wealth of passion and a commitment to student engagement to her new role.

Onya Robertson is currently pursuing a Master's of Public Administration at Evergreen's Tacoma Campus. She completed her undergraduate degree at Evergreen-Tacoma in 2023 and is known for her outgoing and driven personality. With a focus on Public Policy, Onya aspires to attend law school and ultimately serve as a judge.

Born in Pasadena, California, and raised in California's Inland Empire she now resides in Tacoma, Washington, with her two sons, Immanuel (15) and Mycah (12), and her faithful Husky companion, Naga (4).


In her role as a member of the Board of Trustees, Onya is eager to connect with students from both Evergreen campuses and uplift their voices and needs. She stated, "I'd like to empower students at both campuses and in all programs to see each other as comrades. I'd like for both campuses to feel like home to all students, and I'd like to see all events and activities attended by students from both Evergreen campuses. My hope is to end the year with more students than ever before (across programs) feeling included, heard, and seen."

Board of Trustees Chair Karen Fraser expressed her enthusiasm for Onya's appointment, saying, "Onya Robertson brings a fresh and student-centered perspective to our Board of Trustees. We are excited to have her passion and dedication as we work together to enhance the Evergreen experience."

Evergreen President John Carmichael also welcomed Onya to the Board, stating, "Onya's commitment to inclusivity and her determination to strengthen the sense of community among our students align perfectly with Evergreen's values. We look forward to her contributions and insights as we continue to prioritize student success."

For more information about The Evergreen State College's Board of Trustees and its mission, please visit the Board of Trustees webpage

At the June Board of Trustees meeting for The Evergreen State College, members voted to approve the 2023-24 college budgets and adjust student costs in response to the prevailing economic climate.

Evergreen leadership proposed these adjustments at the Board’s May meeting.
“Evergreen has long been known for not only its academic excellence but for commitment to inclusive learning and so the decision to increase costs was one that was not taken lightly,” explained Dr. John Carmichael, President of Evergreen.

“We remain dedicated to fostering an inclusive and accessible learning environment,” added the college’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Dexter Gordon. “Even with these cost adjustments, Evergreen remains extremely affordable for our students.”

The board voted to approve the 2023-25 operating, capital, athletics and services and activities budget spending plans as well as  2023-24 tuition and housing, dining and service and activities fees increases. Tuition will increase by 3 percent – the same increase is being requested by the most of other four-year, public institutions in Washington. These increases will help the college adjust to the skyrocketing economic costs associated with food, goods and housing that are affecting people across the nation.

The college has resources for students who may struggle with the adjustments in fees including its Basic Needs Center which offers food, hygiene items and other basic needs at no cost. They also offer appointments to help students apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program better known as SNAP through the state’s Department of Social and Health Services and housing support consultation. 

The college’s Foundation is also amid its first-ever, college-wide fundraising campaign, Forever Green. The campaign has already raised $49.5 million of its $55 million goal to help students with financial resources so Evergreen can continue to put forth the diverse thinkers, doers and voices who can lead the future. 

College leadership is confident that the cost adjustments will enable the institution to navigate the current economic challenges and continue providing an exceptional experience for all students. Evergreen remains true to its interdisciplinary approach to education with its commitment to academic freedom, social justice and sustainability.  

For more information about The Evergreen State College, visit


Governor Jay Inslee has appointed Pamela MacEwan to Board of Trustees for The Evergreen State College. 

MacEwan recently retired from her role as CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange where she helped lead the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Washington state, standing up a unique health exchange for consumers and making health care available for thousands of previously uninsured Washingtonians. Under her leadership, the Exchange launched the first public option health insurance program in the nation and won federal permission to use the Exchange to cover undocumented workers.

“I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to reinvest some of what Evergreen invested in me as a student,” MacEwan said. “Enrollment numbers are continuing to move in the right direction and serving on the Board during such a time of reawakening for not only the college but everywhere, is an honor.”

“Pam is the epitome of who Evergreen students are,” said Dr. John Carmichael, “She took what she learned during her days as a student at the Olympia campus and turned it into a lifetime of public service – a service that continues even after her retirement. We are excited to have her return to the college as a Board of Trustee member.”

She was previously Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and a member of the executive leadership team at Group Health Cooperative for 16 years, where she led policy, governmental relations, communications, media relations, consumer governance, and government programs strategy. Her prior roles in health care included serving as a Commissioner on the State Health Services Commission and leading a statewide coalition effort to pass comprehensive health reform legislation.  
She is a proud graduate of the Evergreen State College, class of 1976.  She has a Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University and studied public administration in the MPA program at the University of Washington.  She lives in Seattle with her husband, John (Spider) Burbank, a 1977 Evergreen graduate. They enjoy biking and cross-country skiing and spending time with their two adult children - Megan, a journalist, and Owen, a software engineer.

For more information on Evergreen's Board of Trustees, visit the college's Board webpage.

OLYMPIA – The Board of Trustees for The Evergreen State College is set to hold its first regular meeting for 2023 on Friday, January 13.   

The hybrid meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and agenda items include an update on the college’s strategic plan regarding student academic success and support, as well as continuing to strengthen the college’s financial position.   

There is also an action item for the Board to consider approval for the establishment of a new Prison Education Program.   

Evergreen has a long-standing history in expanding prison education in Washington state starting back in 1996 with the Gateways for Incarcerated Youth, which was founded by college alum and faculty emerita, Dr. Carol Minugh along with Green Hill School staff, and the Sustainability in Prisons Project, which was founded by former Evergreen faculty member Dr. Nalini Nadkarni and alum Dan Pacholke.  

Board approval would direct faculty and staff to develop a proposal according to the accreditation process  required for Pell-funded prison education programs. Beginning July 1, 2023, all incarcerated students who are enrolled in eligible programs will once again be able to apply for Pell grants, thus increasing access to a college education.   

“We are very excited for the Board’s consideration of this new program,” said Evergreen’s president Dr. John Carmichael. “The first line of the college’s social contract reads, ‘The Evergreen State College is an institution and a community that continues to organize itself so that it clears away obstacles to learning,’ and establishing this new program that would meet the requirements to allow for access to Pell grant funding, which clearly helps eliminate some of the barriers that exist for incarcerated students.”  

Expanding access to college credits in prison is a widely recognized equity strategy that can help individuals build strong foundations for themselves and the communities where they live both during and after incarceration. In a recent cost-benefit analysis, the Washington State Institute for Public Policy has determined that for every $1 invested in college behind bars, the public stands to accrue $19.74 in benefits. College education also helps reduce recidivism in formerly incarcerated individuals.   
“What we hope is that with the Board’s permission, we can build a new program that helps improve the future for students, their families, and the communities they live in,” explained Dr. Dexter Gordon, executive vice president for Evergreen. “Ninety-five percent of people incarcerated are released – a college education allows for them to be better positioned to secure employment, find stable housing, and provide for their families upon their release.”  

The new program must address the requirements for Pell grant eligibility which is established by the U.S. Department of Education, and the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. Evergreen’s prison education program will be developed in coordination and collaboration with the Washington Department of Corrections, the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, and as well as many other community partners. Another Board approval would be necessary once the final program proposal is developed in advance of it moving forward for submission to the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities and the U.S. Department of Education.   

More information about Evergreen’s Board of Trustees meeting can be found on the college’s website.




OLYMPIA – In a special meeting today, Thursday, July 7, The Evergreen State College’s Board of Trustees permanently appointed Dr. John Carmichael as college president with a contract through June 30, 2025. Carmichael was appointed interim president in June 2021. His salary will remain at the current level.  
“The Board of Trustees is exceptionally pleased with Dr. Carmichael’s performance as interim president during the last year. He is an exceptionally able leader and has excelled in addressing administration needs and the fiscal challenges the college faces. He has provided excellent leadership as the college has developed new academic offerings, including professional certificates. Carmichael has cultivated strong relationships with Washington’s legislators, current and prospective donors, and community partners. He’s achieved all of this and more while successfully navigating the complexities of COVID-19, which has ensured the safety of students, staff and faculty on Evergreen’s two campuses,” said board chair Karen Fraser.  
Carmichael joined Evergreen in 1998, serving in a variety of roles including chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees and most recently as the college’s vice president for finance and operations. A 1987 Bachelor of Arts graduate of the college, Carmichael also holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Evergreen and a doctorate in education and human resource studies from Colorado State University. 
This move brings further stability to the college and continues the strong collaboration between Carmichael and executive vice president Dr. Dexter Gordon. “It is clear that the two of them are working very well together and providing forward-oriented leadership for Evergreen. We are very pleased with Dr. Gordon’s performance and the excellence we are seeing in the critical areas he oversees. Gordon is providing outstanding leadership for institutional improvements which will better serve current and future students,” added Fraser.
Today the board also authorized ratification of a collective bargaining agreement with the college’s Uniformed Personnel for 2023-2025.  

For more information about The Evergreen State College, visit