A quiet week on campus

A group of Biological Systems Engineering department faculty and staff stand together. About 20 or people total.
Saturday’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering celebration was a great way to honor the achievements of past faculty.

This is a quiet week on campus with spring break in full swing. Spring break weather hasn’t been what I had hoped for those vacationing, but we aren’t shoveling. Next week begins the end of semester rush with events and celebrations for the many achievements of students, staff, and faculty.

Congratulations to Jon Yoder and Jeff Luckstead, who were named fellows of the Western Agricultural Economics Association! A number of faculty were recognized by their professional societies this year through fellow appointments or leadership roles! CAHNRS faculty, staff, and students continue to lead the way in many areas!

Saturday’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering celebration was a great way to honor the achievements of past faculty. The graduate students did a great job describing their own work during the poster session. Larry James shared a summary of the book he assembled about the departmental faculty, highlighting the work of each faculty member since the department was formed more than 100 years ago. I particularly enjoyed seeing the faces of individuals who have made a difference to communities across the state through their work to advance food, energy, and natural resource security. A huge thanks to Larry and Elaine James for their commitment to the department and WSU. While it is Larry’s name on the book, the time and effort it took no doubt meant a commitment from Elaine as well. We appreciate the dedication to WSU from both of them!

Tuesday, the Tree Fruit Endowed Chairs provided an update on their accomplishments to the Endowment Advisory Committee. We are excited that Tobin Northfield joins the group as the newest endowed chair!

Later in the week I will meet with Spokane Mayor Lisa Brown. Many know Mayor Brown from her time as chancellor at the Spokane campus, however, I have not met her yet. If you saw Matthew Weaver’s interview with the new mayor, you can guess what sparked my interest in a conversation about her goals. I, too, consider agriculture a driver behind a resilient economy and thriving communities and families. The conversation will provide me a chance to share the good work of the local Extension programs, including the Child and Family Research Unit, and the cutting-edge agriculture research benefiting the Spokane area. It will also help us explore opportunities to partner in achieving shared goals.

I was jealous to learn two weeks ago from the Extension director at Oklahoma State University that the university plans to seek a $60 million increase to state base support for matching Extension (Smith-Lever Act) and agriculture research (Hatch Act) funds. Jealousy aside, we are grateful for the state supplemental budget to support compensation increases for our graduate students. Many CAHNRS students will become future faculty who further advance food, energy, and natural resource security.