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Washington State University

Dean’s Welcome

Dear Honors College alumni and friends,

It is difficult to put into words the excitement – and, yes, some trepidation – that we all feel as we plan for an on-campus, face-to-face, academic year. Meeting with our incoming first-year students during summer orientation I can feel their excitement at the prospect of getting to know new friends, live in a residence hall, walk across campus to class, have a coffee in the CUB, and of course cheer on the Cougs at Martin Stadium. These are simple pleasures that were denied last year, but now will be all the sweeter.

Through their resilience and with the dedication and commitment of our amazing faculty and staff, our Honors College students achieved a great deal last year. Their highlights as well as new offerings this fall include:

  • Gunnar Sly and Haley Morris both received the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Haley works in Professor John Wyrick’s lab investigating the mutagenic effects of UV light on DNA, which has important implications for understanding melanoma (skin cancer.) Gunnar is studying new forms of anode material based on diatoms, the three-dimensional silica skeletons of tiny marine organisms, with Professor Min-Kyu Song. This research could lead to lower cost and longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries.
  • MedSURE, a new summer research program for Honors Pathway students in partnership with the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, supports students working in biomedical research in areas as diverse as West Nile Virus to studying racial and ethnic disparities on mortality rates.
  • And despite restrictions on global travel Honors College students have taken opportunities, where they can, to study and conduct research abroad. Christi Webster spent the summer in Germany on a prestigious DAAD/RISE fellowship working at the Leibniz Center for Agricultural Research studying the wheat fungus Fusarium.
  • As we prepare for our in-person classes this Fall we are excited to announce Hon 280.5, a new Honors College partnership with the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The mid-campus museum will be transformed into an Honors classroom! Students will learn about themselves and others through the lens of contemporary art. Using current exhibits such as “Mirror, Mirror: The Prints of Alison Saar” students will experience how the visual arts enrich our lives and contribute to our understanding of the world.

Accomplishments such as these are made possible through your continued engagement and investment. Your support of scholarships creates endless opportunities for our undergraduate student leaders as well as our Honors alumni who are pursuing medicine at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. The growth of our MESI Certificate means that more students are equipped with the skills to address their wellbeing through self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and compassion. These are just some examples of our fundraising priorities that will move the needle and raise the bar of excellence for the Honors College.

Finally, if you plan to be on campus this academic year, make sure to review our list of events. We hope you will join us for an alumni reception on Saturday, September 4 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in the Elmina White Honors Hall Lounge. Enjoy light food and beverages, learn more about our innovative programs, and meet fellow alumni, students, and faculty. WSU v. Utah State kick-off is at 8:00 p.m. Register here.

Your commitment to our faculty, students, and programs enables us to provide transformational experiences both inside the classroom and out. I look forward to seeing you this year either in Pullman or your hometown. Thank you and as always – Go Cougs!

Grant Norton

M. Grant Norton