Evergreen Inspires

As 2019 begins, the big-leaf maples and red alders around campus are bare, but the Douglas fir, native salal, and sword ferns remain deeply evergreen. Even as winter takes hold, we look forward to spring’s inspiration as Evergreen renews our pledge to serve our students and community.

A unique opportunity to strengthen connections beyond our campus arrived in July 2018. The Washington state legislature voted to place Olympia’s historic Lord Mansion, on the borders of the Capitol Campus, under Evergreen’s stewardship. Once a formal home, then a museum, this distinctive residence will now have a new life as a venue for Evergreen events and speakers. I hope to see you there in the coming months.

A highlight from fall quarter was the first-ever “Deepening the Dialogue” equity symposium, which brought a warm community of students, noted speakers, staff, and faculty together over two days. The deep conversation and personal exploration of race and inclusion renewed and invigorated the Evergreen tradition of real communication on sensitive topics.

Our signature “Return to Evergreen” event in October drew large numbers of alumni who shared unparalleled experiences and their ties to Evergreen. The Joseph Albert Dear Distinguished Alumni Award, which honors inspirational public service and commitment to community, went this year to Ron Charles ’97, who has served his tribe and all of Washington with his leadership roles with the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, and Yuh-Line Niou ’04, the first Asian American representing New York’s 65th Assembly District.

As you flip through the pages of the magazine, you’ll meet inspiring Greeners whose accomplishments as entrepreneurs are captured in a remarkable new analysis by the Thurston Economic Development Council. Their report on Evergreen’s growing economic impact shows the college generates $4.68 in output for every dollar of state funding, while alumni earnings total more than a half billion dollars a year. These are stunning returns.

Although the political turmoil in our country can leave some feeling alienated, I continue to discover more Greeners who engage and lean into the critical issues facing their communities and our world. Rep. Denny Heck ’73 in Congress, state legislators like Brian Blake ’93, Sharon Tomiko Santos ’85, and local officials like Jefferson County Commissioner Greg Brotherton ’93 are just some alumni building the kind of nation we want to live in.

I have a special request. Please take a minute to reach out to those around you about to begin or continue their higher education, and ask them to take a good look at what’s on offer at Evergreen. Your personal recommendation is an incredibly powerful force for ensuring Evergreen continues to thrive, serve, and inspire.

With deep thanks and warm regards,

George S. Bridges