PULLMAN, Wash. – Total private fundraising activity across Washington State University topped $145.1 million during fiscal year 2018 — the third best fundraising year in WSU history.

“A vibrant culture of philanthropy at WSU is essential for success as WSU continues its drive to be recognized among the nation’s top 25 public research universities by 2030,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. ”We deeply appreciate the individuals and organizations who are choosing to actively improve lives and make a difference for students, communities, and beyond through their investment in Washington State University.”

More than 53,800 donors committed their support during the last fiscal year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018), providing broad-based support that enhances educational experiences for students, creates scholarships and fellowships, funds important research and capital projects, and advances outreach programs. Private support provides higher levels of excellence to enrich the core educational experience funded through tuition and state appropriations.

WSU announced several notable highlights this past year, including:

  • WSU’s power engineering program established the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, thanks to gifts totaling $1.5 million from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer, and the employee owners of Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering. The new endowed chair will support WSU’s teaching and research in the fundamentals of power engineering, including electromagnetics, controls, communication theory, high voltage materials and practice.
  • The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation donated $1 million to the WSU Viticulture & Enology Program, to support teaching labs and facilities as well as scholarships for viticulture and enology students at the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center at WSU’s Tri-Cities campus.
  • Alexandra Navrotsky, Distinguished Interdisciplinary Professor of Ceramic, Earth and Environmental Materials Chemistry at University of California-Davis, established the Alexandra Navrotsky Institute for Experimental Thermodynamics with a $1 million gift to WSU’s Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering. The endowment supports research, the purchase of new equipment, and provides supplemental funding to attract and retain outstanding Ph.D. program graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, with preference given to women.
  • The W.M. Keck Foundation awarded two prestigious grants to support innovative research in WSU’s College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Kerry Hipps, Regents Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. James Brozik, the Donald and Marianna Matteson Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, received a $1 million grant for their work as principal investigators in the development of molecular machines that self-replicate to create unlimited quantities of polymer materials. Dr. David Lee, assistant professor of chemistry, received a $700,000 grant for his development of a novel approach to isolate and visualize short-lived intermediate species in chemical reactions, which have not been observed before, to help improve modern theoretical chemistry models.

All told, donors invested more than $64.4 million in private gifts and grants to fuel faculty, research and academic programs university wide during FY2018. An additional $17 million in private support creates opportunities for students in the form of scholarships and graduate fellowships.

The WSU endowment experienced a net gain in market value of more than $37 million to finish the fiscal year at its high water mark of $502.3 million. The endowment saw more than $24 million in new contributions and other additions, and distributions from the endowment topped $25 million, which directly supports students, faculty, research, and other programs University-wide.

FY2018 also marked the first under the leadership of Lisa Calvert, Vice President for Advancement and CEO of the WSU Foundation, who arrived in October with more than 30 years of executive-level development experience. Widely regarded as a leader in the field of higher education development, Lisa helped establish many of the industry’s fundraising standards now considered best practices nationally.

“When philanthropy meets education, doors open for students, and for research and outreach that addresses real-world issues worldwide to improve health, sustainability, economy, policy, and more,” Calvert said. “WSU donors understand the power of philanthropy to change the world. Through their generous support of WSU, every donor creates opportunities to provide an exceptional educational experience and to identify practical solutions to some of the most vexing problems society faces today.”

Established in 1979, the WSU Foundation promotes, accepts, and maximizes private support for programs, initiatives, and properties of Washington State University. The WSU Foundation also manages, invests, and stewards the assets entrusted to it by WSU and its alumni, friends, and donors to advance the vision and mission of Washington State University.


Trevor Durham, WSU Foundation, 509-335-2093, tdurham@wsu.edu