PULLMAN, Wash. — Wayne Sparks, director of financial aid and scholarship services at Washington State University since January 1996, has announced that he will retire June 30, 2009.  
Sparks will have completed over 35 years  in the field of student aid when he retires.  During this time he has been active in state, regional and national association professional activities – and won many awards for his contributions to the profession.  Sparks said he is especially proud of the successful aid administrators he has had the opportunity to mentor during his lengthy career. 

Sparks believes that one of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to provide for a smooth transition and succession of leadership when leaving an organization.  To that end, Sparks and Enrollment Management Vice President John Fraire have begun planning for a smooth transition in leadership. Beginning July 1, Chio Flores, who has served as associate director of student financial aid and scholarship services since 2001, will assume significantly increased responsibility for the day-to-day management of the office.

Flores joined the financial staff at WSU in 1994, and has worked in admissions as well as financial aid.

Sparks said one of his most enjoyable professional involvements has been planning, organizing and teaching at leadership institutes for experienced aid administrators. This included organizing and teaching at two leadership institutes for the southern regional financial aid association while at the University of Virginia, and organizing and/or serving on the faculty for three leadership institutes sponsored by the western regional association while he was at WSU.

Prior to assuming the director’s position at WSU, Sparks served as director of financial aid at the University of Virginia from 1984 to 1995.  Sparks began his career in student financial aid at Western Washington University in 1972, where he completed both M.Ed and MBA degrees.   He served as director of financial aid at Western from 1977 to 1984.

Sparks said that he is confident there will be a smooth transition in leadership and management of the office, since the staff is made up of “seasoned veterans and first round draft choices.”