NW Cougar Quarterly

June 2017 Issue

Commencement 2017

Join us in congratulating WSU Vancouver’s largest graduating class! On May 6, a total of 1,014 graduates received their degrees. There are now more than 14,000 WSU Vancouver alumni. View commencement photos.

McClaskey Foundation gift creates first endowed chair at WSU Vancouver​

Florian Zach with graduates in regaliaThe Tod and Maxine McClaskey Foundation has given $2 million to establish an endowed chair—the first at WSU Vancouver—in Hospitality Business Management. The program offers the only bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Business Management in the Southwest Washington/Portland metro area, which is one of the nation’s fastest-growing tourism destinations.

The McClaskey Foundation previously funded a faculty position for the first five years of WSU Vancouver’s School of Hospitality Business Management, part of WSU School of Hospitality Business Management in Pullman, which ranks among the top 5 percent of such programs in the country.

“This endowment is both a reward for past successes and an investment into the future of HBM in the Vancouver/Portland metro area. HBM Vancouver is not only here to stay, but to be the leader in hospitality in this area,” said Florian Zach, Tod and Maxine McClaskey faculty fellow.

Alumni profile

Ashlyn SalzmanAshlyn Salzman, ’15 public affairs

Tell us about your journey to being a Cougar.

I moved to Vancouver from a small eastern Washington town of 900 people my junior year of high school. I did Running Start my senior year of high school and headed to Pullman, but realized after a semester that the school was just too big and overwhelming for me. I transferred to WSU Vancouver and ended up running for a position in student government my very first semester on campus. I pursued a major that I loved—public affairs—and worked in Olympia as a student lobbyist through the Office of Student Involvement during my last semester of college.

What do you do for work? For fun?

I am the events manager at the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. I produce and promote more than 80 events a year for the local business community. Since graduation, I’ve traveled to Mexico, Iceland and some U.S. states. Exploring different parts of the world is my favorite way to spend my vacation time.

What did you especially enjoy about the Vancouver campus?

I found so many opportunities to be involved on campus. The intimate campus size is conducive to vibrant student life.

How has WSU Vancouver changed since you were a student?

It continues to grow and offer more academic programs, but I think what has changed most is my vantage point of the university’s role in the community. I have a tremendous appreciation for the way the leaders at WSU Vancouver interface with local businesses and pay attention to employment trends so students are well connected and prepared for the workforce.

How do you support WSU Vancouver as an alum?

I attend many of the MAP Alliance forums, volunteer with Cougs in the Community, am an active member in the WSU Alumni Association. I’ve also helped teach networking skills to graduating students.

Do you have any advice for current students or future Cougs?

Take every opportunity to spend time with faculty and staff on the WSU Vancouver campus. I cannot say enough good things about the mentorship and friendship I have gained from having attended WSU Vancouver.

Cougar Business Alliance Spotlight

Tina Vlachos

Tina Vlachos, ’05 Pullman
American Family Insurance Co.

Looking for the freedom and flexibility of being her own boss, Tina Vlachos bought her insurance agency in June 2014. As an independent agent, she seeks to make her agency stand out by treating every customer like family.

Born and raised in Vancouver, Vlachos is active in the community. She is the founder and current advisor for Emerging Professionals in Clark County, a member of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and Rotary of Three Creeks, and an ambassador for the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes. She also gets involved with nonprofit fundraisers, such as WSU’s Apple Cup food drive; galas; golf tournaments (including the annual WSU Golf tournament) and other volunteer opportunities. “I absolutely LOVE giving back and being involved in our community!” she said.

Vlachos comes from a family of three Cougs: her older brother, her sister-in-law and herself.

She is proud of the way Cougs support each other. “There is something so captivating about being a Coug that cannot be understood unless you are a true Coug,” she said. “It is a true testament to say we bleed Crimson.”

Recently, in Las Vegas, she bumped into a current student from Pullman wearing a Coug hat. “Of course,” she said, “there was a ‘Go Cougs’ high five and a Coug chat.”

Vlachos considers WSU Vancouver a community treasure. “It is an amazing campus with great programs,” she said, “and it helps our economy to entice students to remain closer to home”

Exclusive shopping at Columbia Sportswear

Sign up now! The Washington State University Alumni Association invites members and their families to enjoy shopping at the Columbia Sportswear Employee store between June 30 and July 23. The next shopping opportunity will be in October.

Save the date to Wave the Flag

Mark your calendars for Aug. 21 to help welcome students back to campus! Spend an hour waving the Coug flag. Shifts will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 6:30 p.m. Watch your email and WSU Vancouver Alumni social media for details and registration information. For more information, contact Jessica Wells at jessica.r.wells@wsu.edu or 360-546-9600.

From the colleges

Carson College of Business

The Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program celebrated its seventh anniversary in May with a recognition event and announcement of the new endowment to ensure the program’s growth and continued prosperity. An anonymous donor will match gifts made, up to $12,500, to Business Growth MAP through Sept. 1. To make a gift, contact Lisa Abrahamsson at 360-546-9501 or labrahamsson@wsu.edu.

College of Arts and Sciences

Two faculty members and a student received prestigious awards at this year’s Commencement ceremony.

Candice Goucher, professor of history: Chancellor’s Award for Research Excellence. Goucher joined WSU in 2000 after serving as chair of the Black Studies Department at Portland State University. Her research on Africa and the African diaspora is consistently creative, cutting-edge and interdisciplinary, combining the theories and methods of history, archaeology, ethnography, art history, ecology and chemistry.

Julian Rivas, ’17 Social Sciences: Chancellor’s Award for Student Achievement. Rivas graduated Summa Cum Laude, with a goal of mentoring other students facing the kinds of challenges he once faced. He wants to end the cycle of poverty, lack of education, and high recidivism rates he has seen in his community.

Enrique Brouwer, instructor of psychology and foreign languages and cultures: Students’ Award for Teaching Excellence. Enrique Brouwer joined WSU Vancouver in 2011 after a career as an executive coach. The skills that had made him an effective coach for executives wishing to succeed in international business also made him a popular teacher.

College of Education

The Clark County Giving Circle awarded the “At Home At School” program more than $4,000 for the summer outreach program. The gift provides bus transportation for low-income or homeless children to participate in the 2017 summer program.

Former faculty member Gay Selby retired in May after a long and distinguished career in education. Selby served on the site selection committee for WSU Vancouver and was the first chair of WSU Vancouver’s advisory board.

Engineering and Computer Science

The new Student Design and Innovation Center, located in the Engineering and Computer Science building, will be a core resource for undergraduates to engage in technical collaborations with business, industry and government agencies. The space currently has movable tables, chairs, white boards and a wall of windows featuring a view of Mt. St. Helens. But the center requires much more in order to be fully functional. The immediate need is to equip the center with state-of-the-art technology, including a projection system, video conferencing, computer station and a power bar, as well as a front-desk assistant. If you can help, contact Beth Cozzi, assistant director of development, at 360-546-9173 or beth.cozzi@wsu.edu

WaferTech LLC has given its second $100,000 gift to WSU Vancouver. The gift will fund the Undergraduate Summer Research Program for the School of Engineering and Computer Science for another five years. The clean room suite of labs in the Engineering and Computer Science building will continue to be known as the WaferTech Clean Room Suite.

Human Development

The Washington State Department of Early Learning’s Early Achievers has awarded the Child Development Program its highest rating—five out of five. The CDP is the only program in Southwest Washington and the first licensed childcare program in the state to earn this distinction.

Jane Lanigan, academic director and associate professor for the department of human development, received a Community Early Learning Champion Award from Friends of the EOCF (Education Opportunities for Children and Families) at its sixth annual awards luncheon on May 10.


An exhibition of photographs, ephemera and text, titled “The History of Higher Education in Southwest Washington: Controversies and Contributions,” is on display through June 30 at the WSU Vancouver Library. The exhibition highlights the initial promise of a state agricultural college in the 1860s, the struggle for a four-year college in the 1960s and the eventual attainment of a WSU campus in Vancouver.

School of Nursing

Congratulations to Tracy Klein for receiving the WSU Vancouver Nursing Research Award for 2017.

Renee Hoeksel, executive associate dean and professor in the College of Nursing, has been named a fellow of the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education. Renee will be inducted into the Academy at a ceremony in September. Read more.

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