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Hyde family gift ensures WSU entomology’s growing impact

• The $1.4 million estate gift helps fund student researchers, like WSU Entomology doctoral student Megan Asche, here holding insect specimen donations from the Hyde family. Photo by Seth Truscott, CAHNRS.
• The $1.4 million estate gift helps fund student researchers, like WSU Entomology doctoral student Megan Asche, here holding insect specimen donations from the Hyde family. Photo by Seth Truscott, CAHNRS.

By Seth Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – The James and Marilyn Oliver Hyde estate has gifted $1.4 million to support students in Washington State University’s Department of Entomology, announced WSU President Kirk Schulz on May 17.

The gift marks the largest one-time contribution ever designated for WSU insect education and research. This donation is the legacy of the Hydes — longtime residents of Kennewick, Wash. — who shared their love of learning, nature and the study of insects with many Washingtonians. The entomology program is part of WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences.

The estate gift creates the new Hyde Fellowship program, doubling the number of high-quality students in entomology. It also establishes the Hyde Speaker Series, which will invite experts to WSU to share the latest advances in research on pollinators, pests and insect science.

“Through their estate gift, James and Marilyn are ensuring the partnership they began with WSU so many years ago will continue to make a transformational difference for our students and through research with real implications for all of us, including food production, human and animal health, and the environment,” said Schulz. “Their investment in WSU opens doors for learning, discoveries and outreach that will advance WSU’s already formidable expertise on these issues, which are at the forefront of WSU’s Drive to 25.”

“WSU Entomology is truly fortunate to have supporters like James and Marilyn Hyde,” said Walter Sheppard, department chair. “Their generous gift helps us draw the best and brightest students whose research makes a real difference for all Washingtonians.”

In addition, James’ 600-species insect collection was added to the M.T. James Entomological Collection, WSU’s 1.25 million-specimen resource for education and outreach. Their estate gift will also help to fund future improvements to this important collection.

•The late James and Marilyn Oliver Hyde shared their love of learning, nature, and the study of insects with many Washingtonians.
The late James and Marilyn Oliver Hyde

James Hyde earned his entomology degree from then-Washington State College in 1951 before pursuing a career in nuclear engineering at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

He returned to his love of insects after retirement. A passionate WSU Master Gardener, James visited area school classrooms and met with WSU faculty members to share insect specimens, science and discoveries.

Marilyn Oliver Hyde, a 4-H equestrian program leader and longtime employee of the Washington State Horse Racing Commission, was active in the Horse Heaven Hills Kiwanis Club, and was a well-known fundraiser for a variety of causes for which she cared.

“The Hydes were generous with their knowledge, time, and resources throughout their lives, inspiring an interest in science and making a very real difference for countless people of all ages,” said Lisa Calvert, vice president for advancement and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “With this remarkable gift, their legacy demonstrates the unsurpassed power of education and philanthropy to improve the human condition and change the world.”

“James and Marilyn Hyde’s decision to pay forward a lifetime of involvement will greatly benefit our most promising entomology students,” said Ron Mittelhammer, dean of CAHNRS. “I commend their dedication and wholeheartedly thank the Hyde family on behalf of all of CAHNRS.”

 

Contact:

  • Marta Coursey, director of communications, WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, 509-335-2806, marta.coursey@wsu.edu

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