Evergreen community members offer each other support during a walk-out to protest the 2016 presidential election results.
Continuity and change are recurring themes in Evergreen’s history. Our faculty continue to provide a challenging interdisciplinary education in the liberal arts that inspires students to discover their intellectual interests while preparing them to become leaders. Our students continue to be intellectually curious, stunningly creative, and actively engaged in shaping their own educational experiences. They aspire to make a difference in the world.
Evergreen is also changing. Our faculty is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse and has 44% men and 56% women. Among our students, 59% now are either the first in their family to attend college or come from a low-income family. Nearly 30% are from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and an increasing number identify as LGBTQ+.
These differences matter in how we think about the college, adapt to students’ needs and interests, and plan Evergreen’s future. This fall the college opened the Trans & Queer Center, dedicated to connecting and supporting students who identify as transgender or queer. Located in the library building, the center was conceived and sought by students late last spring. The response was enthusiastic; nearly 100 students visited and took part in celebrating the center’s opening.
Increasingly, our students also seek an education that fully immerses them in real-world issues and experiences. Our new full-time internship coordinator, Kevin Andrew, helps students find internship opportunities with alumni and friends in business, government, and community organizations. Internships enable students to test and apply their knowledge and analytical skills by putting theory to practice in the work of the larger community. As our story on page 7 reveals, they also open doors to future careers.
Every academic year also brings surprises. The November presidential election delivered a seismic shift in American politics that triggered a level of activism at Evergreen and most other campuses across the country not witnessed in many years. For at least half of our students, this was the first presidential election in which they could vote. The unexpected outcome ignited anger, fear, and uncertainty among many, including our undocumented students and those relying heavily on federal financial aid and health care benefits.
I am proud that many of our students actively and emphatically expressed their fears about the election and its possible impact on their ability to complete college. To the great credit of our faculty and staff, Evergreen turned the disruptive effects of the election into teachable moments with workshops, modern-day teach-ins, listening sessions, and seminars.
Despite having been an anti-war activist in college, I did not fully anticipate or appreciate the intense fear and anger that some students have experienced or the assistance they would need from me and other campus leaders. But as a friend who knew about my activism in college pointed out to me, serving as Evergreen’s president in this new era may represent my own crucible of “What goes around, comes around.”
On behalf of our students, faculty, and staff, I thank you for your continued support. Whether you assist Evergreen by sharing your time, energy, or treasure, it’s appreciated. What we seek and hope for are alumni and friends strongly connected to and inspired by the impressive work we have ongoing. I encourage you to visit and take a look; Evergreen is thriving.