Spring 2021 Issue
Table of contents
- Alumni Spotlight
- Cougar Business Alliance
- Honor Jane Cote—Support First Generation Business Students
- Fighting for Food Justice
- Nominate Outstanding Alumni
- Calling all Cougs
- Staying Connected
Andrew Nevue, ’20, B.A. Digital Technology and Culture with certificate in Game Studies and Design
How did you become a VanCoug?
I am fortunate in having grown up in Southwest Washington. I knew I wanted to attend college but was not sure where. I considered an out-of-town university but soon changed my mind. My brother had attended WSU Vancouver and thrived. After my first year, I became involved with the Student Ambassador program and undergraduate research and eventually ended up working in the Chancellor’s office.
What are you doing now?
I worked for the Chancellor's office and the Marketing and Communications office immediately after graduation. In February 2021, I was hired by PointNorth Consulting as their communications coordinator. In this exciting role, I work on communication and community engagement for the Interstate Bridge Replacement program. I am excited to continue my involvement with the Southwest Washington community through this position. I hope to start my master’s degree in strategic communication this year to advance my career and skills. I did not travel much when I was younger, so I hope to sport my Coug gear on various trips to different countries in the future.
Where is the strangest place you've met another Coug?
I went on a cruise to Bermuda two years ago and wore a WSU T-shirt. Believe it or not, I received a “Go Cougs” from someone walking the streets of Bermuda. There I was, on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, and I saw a fellow Coug! The comradery is like no other.
Tell us about something you enjoyed about the WSU Vancouver campus and/or your program.
I never once dreaded driving to campus. It’s hard to believe there is an entire college community nestled in the hills of Salmon Creek. I enjoyed the relationships I created and all the fun events put on by the campus. I have fond memories of walking to the Office of Student Involvement to meet up with friends, then walking to class with them. The Creative Media and Digital Culture program shaped me into who I am and taught me invaluable skills.
How has WSU Vancouver changed since you were a student?
I have seen WSU Vancouver grow exponentially since I enrolled in 2016. That does not mean just the student population. WSU Vancouver has added more majors to fit the needs of Southwest Washington, partnered with the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine and increased involvement opportunities for students. I am excited to watch and support WSU Vancouver’s growth for years to come.
How do you support WSU Vancouver as an alumnus?
I am involved with Cougs in the Community events, helping out at local organizations such as the Clark County Food Bank and the Historic Trust. I hope to support WSU Vancouver as a scholarship donor in the future.
How Coug are you?
My favorite memories from WSU Vancouver involve the recreation program. I went on rec trips such as kayaking in the San Juan Islands and skiing in Bend. I made many lifelong friends on recreation trips and ventured out of my comfort zone trying new activities. We showed our Coug pride on rec trips by taking group pictures with the WSU flag.
What advice do you have for current students or future Cougs?
As silly and stereotypical as this sounds, getting involved on campus is a crucial step. Involvement looks different for everyone. A community does not come to you. You must go to it and create your own. I started by attending off-campus social events such as bowling nights and end-of-semester parties. If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and created a network of friends and colleagues, I would not have 90% of the people I do in my life today.
Cougar Business Alliance
Dan Wyatt, Jr., ’96, B.A. Communications, Pullman
As of March 1, 2021, Dan Wyatt has operated the Kiggins Theatre for nine years. He didn’t necessarily set out to own a business. Rather, he seized an opportunity to work in an industry that he was educated in and loved—cinema—right here in Vancouver.
Wyatt first arrived in the Vancouver area from Texas in 1975. He spent summers here while attending WSU Pullman, then moved to Los Angeles in 1996 to pursue a second degree in film production. He worked in the film industry until he and his wife, Lori, whom he met at WSU, had children.
A movie theater is the best setting possible for screen viewing , Wyatt said. “Movies are not given a fair shake by watching at home in isolation,” he continued. “Unfortunately that’s the state we find ourselves in currently, but my hope is that community desire to watch feature films at the cinema is still there and we will see a return to going out to the movies.” He believes that all movies are meant to be watched with others in a crowd, because that heightens the experience.
How has he adapted to the pandemic? It’s not so much adaptation as survival, he said. The true Kiggins experience involves viewing in a theatrical setting, along with ancillary goodies such as popcorn and the vintage atmosphere. “Anything exported out the door is a poor substitute and is being offered only during this difficult time,” he said. “We may continue to offer this ‘to-go menu’ of movies streamed at home and pre-bagged popcorn as an alternate revenue stream once things reopen, but in-house movie watching is still our focus.”
Wyatt is a proud alumnus who often thinks back on memories from the Palouse around Pullman—most important, meeting his future wife. He has also helped integrate WSU Vancouver with the Southwest Washington community. The university has sponsored or co-produced several events at the Kiggins, such as Science on Tap (monthly science talks) and Re-imagined Radio (radio-style storytelling with sound effects).
Other Cougs in his family include his late sister, Jaime, and brother-in-law Andy Miller, who attended WSU at the same time as Dan and Lori. Andy and Jaime’s son, Alex, is currently carrying on the Pullman tradition.
Honor Jane Cote—Support First Generation Business Students
Jane Cote retired at the end of 2020. In celebration of her remarkable career with WSU, the Dr. Jane Cote Endowed Scholarship was established to honor her legacy.
Cote served more than 25 years as an accounting professor, dedicated to student success and community engagement. For the past 15 years she led the WSU Vancouver Carson College of Business. Over the decades, she has had a positive impact on thousands of students who have gone on to successful careers and to serve the business community with distinction. Cote remains involved with WSU as a trustee for the WSU Foundation.
The Dr. Jane Cote Endowed Scholarship will help first-generation business students earn their degrees. For students struggling to stay in college, a scholarship can mean the difference between dropping out and reaching their goals. As an endowment, the Dr. Jane Cote Endowed Scholarship will support students for generations to come.
We invite you to wish Cote well in her retirement, celebrate her accomplishments and support her vision to expand access for students to study business now and into the future by making a gift to the Dr. Jane Cote Endowed Scholarship today.
Fighting for Food Justice
WSU Vancouver’s Collective for Social and Environmental Justice recently formed the Food System Justice Action Research team. FSJAR is working hand-in-hand with struggling communities in Southwest Washington to find solutions to persistent, intergenerational hunger.
Thanks to a $25,000 gift from the Community Foundation for Southwest Washington and additional funding from Albertsons Companies Foundation and local Safeway stores, FSJAR has hit the ground running with a series of roundtable listening and data-gathering sessions involving people in predominantly BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) communities who are experiencing hunger.
FSJAR’s long-term goal is to establish a transdisciplinary food system program at WSU Vancouver that can empower people to end hunger in their own communities while training future leaders in food system justice. Desiree Hellegers, who is coordinating the research project with Jude Wait, said, “The pandemic has exacerbated our region’s food insecurity crisis, with food banks stretched thin. Interest in long-term, resilient, community-based solutions to food insecurity is growing.” According to FSJAR’s Campus Community Coordinator Ethan Gallegos, who is Muskogee Creek, “Food system justice assumes that a community knows their own needs. Our goal is to facilitate conversations, to introduce community partners to existing programs in other communities that can spark imagination and drive solutions.”
FSJAR has also received a $10,000 gift from the BNSF Foundation to help bring clean water infrastructure to the Celilo Wyam and other Indigenous elders living in fishing villages along the Columbia River.
2021 Notable Alumni Award nominations are open until March 19.
Do you know WSU Vancouver alumni living remarkable lives? The WSU Vancouver Notable Alumni Award honors alumni who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations, careers and/or community service reflect WSU Vancouver's legacy of excellence.
Calling all Cougs
Looking for more ways to get virtually involved at WSU Vancouver?
Take over our Instagram
We’re looking for VanCoug alumni who want to share their day through an Instagram takeover on @wsuvanalumni for a fun opportunity to connect with students, alumni and friends of WSU Vancouver.
Be a #CougsGive Ambassador
We’re recruiting any Cougs or friends of WSU Vancouver to be ambassadors for #CougsGive on April 14. Help WSU Vancouver raise money for scholarships, the Student Emergency Fund and other important causes during this online day of giving.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer!
Thanks to all those who attended the virtual WSU Vancouver Recent Alumni Social on March 10! We had a fantastic time gathering online with you all during a year that has made it challenging to build and maintain authentic connections. The event—open to WSU Vancouver grads from 2013 through 2020—gave alumni a chance to get a campus update from Chancellor Mel Netzhammer, enjoy a mixology demonstration hosted by Vice Chancellor Lynn Valenter, and network with other recent alumni, all from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Don't miss out on our next event, update your contact info today.
Join the Alumni Association today.