The Velekes are a team, and just like their disciplines—horticulture and wine—they complement each other.
Patricia loves wine, and spent over four decades learning and growing with the Washington wine industry. Between pouring through Wine Spectator every month and traveling to tastings throughout the state as a Wine Specialist for Safeway, she gained a formidable passion for vino.
Arlen loves plants, as evidenced by several decades in the horticultural industry. During those years, he developed a cooperative for small nursery retailers so they could get the same price points as the big guys—and stay competitive.
It’s the combination of these passions as well as a genuine affinity for WSU that prompted the Velekes to create two endowments: one for Horticulture and one for Viticulture & Enology. Establishing these scholarship funds ensures that WSU students have the foundation to build successful careers in their industry, and solidifies Patricia and Arlen’s legacy. A legacy characterized by their natural warmth, generosity, and undying Cougar heart.
As Patricia offers up a glass of one of Arlen’s favorite wines—a Chateau Ste. Michelle Cabernet—he tosses another log on the fire. On the back deck, surrounded by potted plants and huddled around the crackling flames, the conversation is easy. That feeling, the one you get when you’re amongst family, that’s the feeling these two create. Because, for Patricia and Arlen, if you’re a Coug, you’re family.
I was very fortunate to have been raised in rural America and to have benefitted from the Land-Grant Act all my life: 4-H in my youth, an education at Iowa State, and employment at WSU.
In an ideal world, we provide for ourselves and others in need. Student support is important to me, which is why we established scholarships for Human Development students who study, work, and contribute to their home communities while pursuing their degree.
I believe a family financial plan includes saving and contributing to benefit our larger community. It all adds up.
Couple provides financial support for more than 40 years
I care deeply about what it means to be a land-grant University. I was raised on a farm in rural Iowa where a different land-grant university, Iowa State, made a huge difference in my life through its education efforts to improve farm and rural household practices.
This is my 48th year on the WSU faculty, and I appreciate very much the opportunity WSU has given me to help communities. By giving each year, I feel we are helping to fulfill the land-grant mission.
Their legacy is all in the name of a quality education
“We have absolutely no doubts that our financial wellbeing was made possible because of getting a quality education,” said Faye Whitworth. “So we want to ensure that’s possible for others as well.”
Faye and Terry Whitworth decided to contribute to the health and longevity of the M.T. James Entomological Collection at WSU—for the benefit of future generations of both professional entomologists and students of entomology.
In retirement, Terry focuses on taxonomic work with blow flies. This is a diverse group of flies that includes forensically important species as well as some species that can be pests of birds and livestock. Terry says the collection at WSU has been indispensable for his research. The collection houses over 1.25 million insects and ranks as one of the largest research and reference collections in the Pacific Northwest.
“Borrowing specimens from the WSU collection has been really important for my taxonomic research over the years,” Terry said. “I’ve donated many specimens to the museum as well. It’s an extremely valuable and excellent resource.”
The love of land-grants developed long before all that, however. While earning their bachelor’s degrees in Missouri, Faye and Terry met, married as sophomores, and moved West. At Utah’s land-grant university, Terry got a PhD in entomology and Faye got a master’s in history and social sciences. Once they completed their degrees, they moved to Washington where Terry began working as an entomological consultant and Faye got a high school teaching job.
Terry and Faye have never stopped learning; graduating college was just a step in their educational journey. As an educator for 37 years in Spanaway, near Tacoma, Faye cited a love of learning as a major driver for their giving habits. And also a love of the land-grant mission.
“We’re very invested in science that solves problems, science with real-world applications,” said Faye. “Taking what we know and actually using it in the real world is very important to us. That’s what land-grants do, and we support that.”
“The Puyallup Extension Service is a good example of how universities can reach out to help the public; we’re lucky to have the Experiment Station nearby,” Terry added.
It’s that attitude, and that gratitude, that makes a Coug’s heart swell.
Marriage, children, career move, grandchildren, retirement. Our lives are full of life-changing moments that make us stop and reflect on taking care of the people and causes that mean the most to us. Wherever life leads you, consider being a part of creating a bright future for Washington State University through your estate plans.
Call the WSU Foundation Gift Planning Office at 800-448-2978 or visit foundation.wsu.edu to create your legacy today.