Washington State University President Kirk Schulz recognized 62 individuals and organizations for their outstanding leadership and service to the university and the community during the President’s Award for Leadership ceremony on April 19 in the Compton Union Building.
Since it was established in 1996, the President’s Award for Leadership has been bestowed annually to people and organizations that not only demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to the university and the community, but also support leadership development in WSU students.
Among those honored this year were five WSU faculty and staff members: Behrang Asgharian-Dastenaie, scholarly associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering; Dipra Jha, scholarly associate professor and assistant director for the School of Hospitality Business Management; Eric Remaley, senior instructor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics; Ruth Gregory, assistant professor and director of undergraduate studies in Digital Technology and Culture; and Stephen Bischoff, director of Multicultural Student Services.
In addition to the faculty and staff members who received the award, 42 undergraduate students, 8 graduate students, 4 student organizations, and 3 community organizations were also honored. One undergraduate student also received the Virginia E. Thomas Endowed Scholarship which recognizes excellence, integrity, character, discovery, and service.
A list of all the recipients is available on the President’s Award for Leadership web page, and a photo of each winner will be displayed outside the CUB senior ballroom in the coming weeks.
Ashley Morehouse, an advisor in the WSU Center for Student Organizations and Leadership in the Division of Student Affairs, called this year’s recipients among the best and brightest at WSU.
“These individuals are beloved in their departments and across campus,” Morehouse said. “They are connected to many people and demonstrate strong leadership and engagement in a lot of different areas.”
Leading the way
Morehouse said her office received a record 380 nominations this year and attributed much of the increase to submissions from across the system, particularly WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Vancouver, and WSU Global Campus.
Asgharian-Dastenaie is part of WSU’s engineering program in Bremerton, and in addition to his outstanding teaching skills, his nominators praised his collaborative efforts to establish an American Society of Mechanical Engineers chapter on the Global Campus.
Jha’s nominators pointed to his recent election to the State of Washington Tourism Board of Directors as evidence of the respect he garners for his leadership and expertise in the field.
“This opportunity allows him to engage with communities around the state and help them rebuild tourism and jobs as we slowly recover from the pandemic,” a nominator wrote.
A nominator described Remaley as someone who is passionate about math and just as passionate about teaching it to students. “He goes above and beyond what is asked of a professor and always pushes students to be the best version of yourself,” the nominator wrote.
Gregory was hailed by her nominators for providing students with transformative service-learning experiences that help them become agents of positive social change. “These opportunities inspire and lead students to deepen their commitment to civic issues,” one wrote.
Bischoff was praised by his nominators for being a strong relationship builder and a person who works tirelessly to make sure everyone feels they belong. They describe his leadership style as uplifting, inspiring, and collaborative, as he is known to bring leaders together from different units to work toward common goals.
Morehouse said a common theme among this year’s strong group of award recipients is one of Cougs helping Cougs.
“Whether it is faculty and staff mentoring students or students mentoring other students, these individuals and organizations have a strong commitment to helping others succeed and get the most out of their Coug experience,” she said.