On the path to success

Group of people holding cougar shield.
Alumnus Gordon Davis, center, holds a shield made in the Agriculture Education welding lab for the WSU football team. He’s showing it off with, from left, Dean Wendy Powers, J.D. Baser, Stan Powers, Tadd Wheeler, and Anna Warner

Congratulations to the Tri-State Potato Research and Breeding Program! Their Teton Russet potato variety has now been added to the list used for McDonald’s World Famous Fries. This effort, fruit of the regional breeding partnership between WSU, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Oregon State University, and the University of Idaho, is more than a decade in the making. I don’t know about you, but I’m lovin’ it!

The Cougs didn’t have a good game on Saturday, but I had a great time watching on the big screen at the Puyallup REC! The turnout was strong, and the REC team provided interesting tours of their projects. Director Todd Murray was a terrific host, taking extra time to show Associate Dean Scot Hulbert and me around the facilities. Perhaps he was trying to avoid setup tasks, but either way it was helpful! I will be back in Puyallup in two weeks and look forward to learning more from the team.

Last week, I spent time with alumnus and Cashup Davis Family Endowed Deanship creator Gordon Davis. Previously, we had only met by Zoom and communicated by email. I hope our students enjoyed having a chance to interact with Gordon; I know he enjoyed the time with them. I appreciated the opportunity to see some of our AgTM and AgEd facilities, though I need to make time to see the Spark building. Gordon and his colleague, Stan Powers, both came back impressed with the classrooms in Spark.

I also had the honor to help welcome the 44th class of the AgForestry Leadership Program to Pullman, where they began an 18-month course to become inspiring leaders in agriculture and natural resources. It was great to meet with these rising talents.

The chairs and directors have pulled together impressive ideas for the future state of CAHNRS. The ideas revealed emerging local, state, regional, and global challenges, highlighting great need across CAHNRS and tremendous opportunity to provide even stronger value to Washington and beyond. The next step is to connect individual ideas in order to frame an integrated, cohesive vision of what is possible. This next step is where the creativity begins, as we think about “how.” In the meantime, we work with reality while we plan for the future.

I continue to be in awe of the accomplishments of CAHNRS and the commitment and dedication in every corner of the college. That energy motivates me to strive for more for CAHNRS and to expand the excellence that permeates throughout, while recognizing that we can’t do more with less.