Tuesday, September 25, 2007


First Generation

Eastern prides itself on offering opportunities to so-called first generation students, those who are the first in their family to attend college.
Here's an interesting article in the Seattle Times about such a student who's hoping to earn her legal status.
This really touches on some hot-button issues.

start something big.

Seattle Times


They're Back

Walking around campus the last few days you can see things are slowly changing. Sure, the tree's are starting to wear those fall colors, and the morning dew on the grass is a reminder that the first freeze isn't far away.
But I'm not talking about the change of seasons. Instead, the fresh faces of students are starting to appear everywhere. There are looks of delight and enthusiasm from those freshman who are so proud to be on a college campus. They're usually accompanied by a proud parent, who's wallet no doubt is a bit lighter after trips to the bookstore and grocery store.
You also have the seasoned veterans, those returning students, who have been there, done that!
In any event, the slow days of summer when staff had the campus to ourselves is giving way to the hustle and bustle of college life once again. It's very refreshing, sort of brings new life into the daily routine.
This year, Eastern welcomes some 10,000 students...which continues to be a solid number for a regional university. This includes some 2,000 students who will take classes at the Riverpoint Campus in downtown Spokane (an area known as the U-District). While many non-traditional students (parents, those who full-time jobs) take classes at Riverpoint, the Cheney campus is serving more of the traditional four-year students. So, overall it's a nice blend.
Here's to a good year.
Let's start something big.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Eagle Bits

More news and notes from EWU. A top 25 ranking, heavy metal in Montana and an economist weighs in on the mortgage mess.

start something big.

From our own Sports Information office:
A 2-0 start -- including a 41-31 victory over UC Davis last Saturday (Sept. 15) -- has earned Eastern Washington its first national ranking since 2005 in The Sports Network NCAA Football Championships Subdivision top 25 poll of sportswriters, broadcasters and sports information directors released Monday (Sept. 17).

From the Great Falls Tribune:
Havre-based metal band Martriden knows a thing or two about composing extreme music. That knowledge has allowed them to reach unheard of heights for a Montana-based metal group, even though they have played only a few live shows in the state.
The band's quick rise to international metal ranks was thanks in large part to the Internet, which has allowed them to showcase their tunes to a mass audience.
Kyle Howard is joined by his brother Shane Howard and Will Thackery on guitar, Chad Baumgardner on bass and Michael Cook on vocals...Thackery currently is finishing his degree in music at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

And from the Spokesman Review:
No subprime crisis - yet
Spokane keeps waiting to see if the credit crunch afflicting the mortgage industry across the country will spread to the Northwest. The region has averted the calamity caused by subprime meltdown elsewhere. The strong underpinnings of the state economy, highlighted by software, aerospace and even the robust prices and brisk exports of agricultural products, has helped keep the calm here.
“All this considered, the market here is still doing pretty well,” said Grant Forsyth, an Eastern Washington University economist and incoming chairman of The Real Estate Research Committee, which twice a years publishes the comprehensive Real Estate Report.
Nice homes that are priced right continue to sell quickly. In Spokane County there are 3,240 listings, about 26 percent more than a year ago. Those with a higher price tag need extra work, though, Forsyth noted, “people from outside are still kind of astonished about what you can get for your money and how modest the taxes are.”
He noted that the area’s economy continues to perform, even if job growth has slowed a bit from its previous torrid pace. “There’s no shame in that,” he said. “Things have been better here than in the United States (as a whole).”
Job and income growth are partly tied to area construction, and Forsyth said that as home-building ebbs there has been a surge in commercial construction work. Part of that, he acknowledged, has been driven by exceptionally low interest rates.
“The danger, what everyone is concerned about, is what happens if banks tighten or withdraw credit for commercial construction?”
It’s too early to tell if that will happen, Forsyth said.

Blog Editor's Note: Article on subprime crisis also mentions the fact that in 2008, many adjustable rate mortgages, or ARM's, will see their fixed rates expire and variable rates will kick in...so stay tuned.

Monday, September 17, 2007


He's a Titan

In more ways than one. EWU Alum Michael Roos is not only a big man, he's a starting tackle for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.
Here's nice article about his road his long path to Tennessee through Cheney and the old Soviet Union.

He truly is starting something big.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


Endowment for the Arts Recognizes EWU Press

We'll have our own news release on this soon, but here's something from the National Endowment for the Arts as it announces a major grant to EWU Press.

start something big.

National Endowment for the Arts

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Eagle Bits

What are Eagle bits? Good question. But, let's just call them a sampling of tidbits from articles around the region where Eastern gets a mention.

start something big.

This from Tacoma News Tribune reporter Kathleen Merryman who went to the Puyallup Fair to see if she could have a good time and get free stuff without spending money:

"If I ever go back to college, I’m heading for Eastern Washington University, Swag Central. Not that I didn’t appreciate my University of Washington Tacoma magnets and Husky coloring page, and not that the Green River Community College fan and temporary ’gator tattoo didn’t come in handy. But Curtis Blank forked over an EWU eagle to color, a CD about the school, a pompom, a window stickie, a tattoo and a big red T-shirt."

This is also from the Tribune, about a big time football recruit who's landed in Cheney after things didn't work out in Pullman:
"Eastern Washington University: Two-time junior college All-America defensive back Terry Mixon has joined the football team and is expected to be able to play for the Eagles this week against UC Davis. Mixon left Washington State University last week after he had joined the Cougars from Grossmont (Calif.) Community College."

Monday, September 10, 2007



The downtown Spokane Riverpoint campus, also known as the U-District, continues to grow and is poised to be a major economic driver in the years to come. The campus is shared by EWU and WSU, with the community colleges and nearby Gonzaga also affiliated.
Here's an update from the Spokesman on how Eastern's big move this fall is not only adding more students to the campus, but will help strengthen the U-District's presence.

start something big

Spokane's Riverpoint area is moving forward to spread the wealth beyond an educational district.

Shawn Vestal
Staff writer

Riverpoint is ready to jump the boulevard.

Spokane's downtown college campus has been gradually adding buildings and filling them up. In the next year, an extension of Riverside Avenue will begin, and the first building in a proposed commercial development is under negotiation — steps that are expected to open up the campus for growth south of Spokane Falls Boulevard.

College and civic officials hope that will fuel more business development, housing and services in the surrounding university district — a vision of a campus neighborhood that would eventually take in Gonzaga University to the north, the new convention center and East Main business district, East Sprague Avenue to the southeast and Riverpoint in the center.

"A lot of the pieces have been falling into place," said Cody George, an economic development adviser to the city of Spokane.

Several businesses have opened near Riverpoint, and two new condo projects are planned nearby. But generally, the kinds of businesses that help create a neighborhood atmosphere — restaurants, services and retail shops — have not flourished around the campus.

And the need for affordable student housing could become more urgent as programs are added and the student body grows.

"I really do think eventually there will be a need for housing for students around campus," said Ron Dalla, the executive dean at Riverpoint for Eastern Washington University.

For now, an influx of EWU students has pushed the Riverpoint campus to the equivalent of more than 2,000 full-time students, between the two universities. EWU sold its downtown center at 705 W. First Ave. and moved most of those programs into temporary facilities at Riverpoint while examining ways to build or find permanent space.

Brian Pitcher, chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, said the campus is coalescing around a biomedical theme — with nursing coming to its new $34 million building next year, the addition of medical students next fall, and other health sciences efforts growing there as well. But programs in business management, design and other areas are also part of the mix, and WSU and EWU are working to develop a single academic vision, university officials say.

The campus is also developing its efforts to press research toward commercial uses via its applied science lab. Campus officials hope to develop contract research with government and industry, for example, with an interest in energy and security technologies emerging from the shock-physics lab.

Government and local companies already help fund some of the research into the effect of sleep deprivation on work performance.

And the campus's emphasis on health sciences and biomedicine offers opportunities for spinning off new technologies into start-up companies, officials say.

Pitcher said WSU officials will be looking to add classroom and lab space in the next legislative biennium, though specific proposals are still being hashed out and aligned with the needs of EWU in particular.

"It's getting pretty tight and we need to get in queue for additional space in the future," he said.

Connecting pockets

George has an aerial photo of the University District with recent developments flagged. At the northeast corner of the district are the new Kennedy Apartments at GU. In the center is a cluster of developments at Riverside, from the new academic center to the nursing building under construction. At the southwest corner are the new East Main business developments and the Convention Center expansion.

George said the U-district, long in the planning and promotion stages, is beginning to take shape in pockets. What's needed now, he said, are connections between the pockets to create the contiguous feel of a neighborhood.

Next year, work is expected to begin on the $5.3 million extension of Riverside Avenue along the railroad tracks and connecting with Spokane Falls Boulevard. That will open up the southern half of the campus and push it closer to the East Sprague business district. The city has received the federal and state funding for the project, he said.

The extension would mark the southern boundary of the planned Pine Street project, a five-acre development intended to mix public and private uses connected to the school's research and applied science.

Pitcher said commercial interest in the project has grown in recent months, and the school is in discussions for a possible first building now. He said he couldn't say who the tenant or tenants might be, but that it would be a commercial venture connected to the school's "biomedical direction" and there may be an announcement in the coming months.

The overall project includes the Jensen-Byrd building, and historic preservation advocates have objected in recent years to plans to tear it down. Pitcher said no decision has been made about the future of the building, but the "first option" is to renovate it if the school can develop possible tenants.

Influx of programs

The addition of EWU students to Riverpoint is putting the most pressure on the campus right now, officials said. Eastern sold its downtown center to a Portland developer, and moved most of its programs to various corners and hallways at Riverpoint.

But the situation is unsettled, with no faculty offices for some professors, and programs spread through a couple of different buildings. Social work classes will be held at Spokane Community College. The journalism program, a longtime Spokane presence, was returned to the Cheney campus to the displeasure of faculty and students.

EWU has said it intended to build a new facility at Riverpoint — and it got legislative approval to use the proceeds from the building sale toward that end.

But Dalla, the EWU dean, said a new building may not be the only option. Another possibility is the purchase and renovation of the Riverpoint One building now owned by SCC.

Some EWU programs are being moved to that building for when Eastern's academic year begins Sept. 26.

"We're going to be bursting at the seams, especially at night," Dalla said. "Every classroom is going to be used that is available on campus."

Pitcher said finding space for EWU is a priority for everyone on campus, and he noted that the two colleges share facilities, and there aren't buildings devoted to solely one or the other school and there won't be in the future.

And next year there's bound to be even more growth on campus, with the arrival of nursing students in the new building and the first medical students to study under a recently approved program in collaboration with the University of Washington and EWU.

Pitcher has been chancellor at WSU-Spokane for more than two years. He said he's excited to see people throughout the community coming together around the idea of creating a high-tech campus amid a livable neighborhood and business district.

"I feel like we could go faster, but when I look back and see what's been completed, I'm pretty excited about it," he said.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Eastern's Tradition

Greetings, I know it's been a while since I've checked in with new information. Things have been busy around this office as we gear up for the school year.
A few notes, University Relations is now called Marketing and Communications to better reflect our role. Same service though, as our staff is still the sort of public relations arm of the University.
But we've been undergoing a lot of changes, all of them challenging but exciting.

Wanted to share a nice article in the Spokesman about Easstern's own historic district.

start something big.

Buildings on Cheney campus make up historic district

Stefanie Pettit
September 6, 2007

The campus of Eastern Washington University in Cheney is home to something that exists on no other college campus in – a historic district.

EWU's historic district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also might well be the only such district on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, said Michael Houser, architectural historian for the state of Washington.

The Washington state Advisory Council on Historic Preservation awarded the historic-district designation in spring 1992, encompassing the six buildings that formed the original core of the campus. The national designation came in December of that same year.

While EWU's historic district is highly unusual in a college setting, other colleges do have individual buildings with national or local historic designation.

All historic districts contain a concentration of buildings that retain their architectural integrity and, by definition, are deemed worthy of preservation. Criteria include being associated with events that made important contributions to the history of the region, being influenced by the lives of people significant to history and embodying distinctive characteristics of a period.

Historic designation encourages preservation, recognition and rehabilitation of historically significant properties, Houser said.

In the case of EWU's historic district – which includes Showalter Hall (built in 1915), Monroe Hall (1915), Senior Hall (1920), Sutton Hall (1923), University House (1929) and Hargreaves Hall (1940) – the buildings are examples of Classical and Renaissance revival, Colonial/Georgian and Romanesque revival architecture.

The district is significant for its role in the education of students on the east side of the state, with the site beginning as a school dedicated to training new teachers, which were called normal schools at the time, and evolving into a state university.

Four of the buildings are named for individuals who influenced the course of education and politics in Washington:

•Noah Showalter, first president of Cheney Normal School.

•Mary Monroe, longtime member of the Cheney Normal School board of trustees and 1913 president of the Washington Education Association.

•William Sutton, who saved the school from being closed and later was elected to four terms in the state Senate (and also is credited with preventing the state college in Pullman, later to become Washington State University, from being reduced in status to a trade school).

•Richard Hargreaves, who served as president of the Cheney institution and under whose tenure a new library was constructed on campus.

With the historic-district designation come some obligations when architectural changes are planned. State executive order No. 0505 requires that renovation plans undergo historical and cultural review if the work is funded as a state capital project.

"If public dollars are being spent, we need to see the impact, in the broadest terms, to the project as a cultural resource," Houser said.

Hence, the $10.8 million renovation under way on Hargreaves Hall has been reviewed by Houser's agency, and the university has made some modifications to keep within the parameters of the historic quality of the structure.

"While the significance of National Register designation is largely honorary, it is a recognition and a celebration of the architecture and history of a locale," Houser said.

"Eastern is to be congratulated for honoring its own history in this way."

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