Her crimson heart brimming with Cougar Pride, Sandy Saffell (’67) is helping today’s students follow her lead to a successful and satisfying future with a degree from Washington State University.
Sandy’s journey is still unfolding; the word retirement is missing from her vocabulary. As she continues to make the most of her WSU education, she is changing the lives of today’s students through her support as a President’s Associate and her volunteer service to WSU.
She fulfilled her dream of helping graduate students at WSU by establishing the Sandra K. Saffell Graduate Fellowship in Education and Sandra K. Saffell Graduate Fellowship in Viticulture and Enology in 2009.
“I like supporting a student every year,” she says. Her own experience pursuing a graduate degree in Public Administration magnifies the purpose of her gift because she knows how challenging and expensive graduate studies can be. A demanding schedule while working full-time created hectic days for her, Sandy recalls, and there were times when she could barely afford a hamburger.
Her experiences at WSU, including membership in Alpha Delta Pi sorority, were valuable steps toward her future. She learned skills that would serve her well in later years. She held jobs that afforded opportunities to live, work, and volunteer in Europe and Asia, and to develop an extensive global network of friends and family.
Throughout the years, Sandy always remained close to WSU. Call-a-Coug telephone conversations with students kept her up-to-date with campus activities and information about her major (recreation) in the College of Education. Although her annual gifts were modest, Sandy always knew that each one made a big impact. “When you direct your support to the students, they all benefit,” she says.
Her modest gifts later gave rise to amounts that placed her in higher-level gift clubs. She became a PA in 1999 and has maintained her annual giving at that level ever since.
Her most recent gift to WSU was made during the Heart of Crimson campaign, a Valentine-themed online giving fundraiser that asked donors to show their love for WSU through a gift of choice the week of February 7–14. The timing was perfect for her annual gift to the graduate fellowship she supports in viticulture and enology, Sandy says, adding that she was thrilled to learn the targeted campaign surpassed its $25,000 goal. Heart of Crimson gifts directed to scholarships, programs, research, and more totaled $37,568.
Sandy is engaged where her passion is firmly rooted. As a WSU Foundation Trustee, she reaches out to potential donors, parents of potential students, and her peers. “I love being a Trustee; it’s been a wonderful experience,” she says. She enjoys participating on the Campaign Committee for the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, which has expanded her network and created more outreach opportunities.
She fills with pride when her alma mater shows appreciation to the alumni and friends who offer a helping hand financially or through outreach. She received the WSU Foundation Outstanding Volunteer Service Award in 2006 in recognition of her loyalty and service to former PA cabinets and councils, and her leadership as volunteer director for District VII of the WSU Alumni Association.
Volunteering on behalf of WSU allows her to give back in a more personal way, she says, and her crimson heart is stronger than ever. “I’ve never outgrown my college life. I loved it there,“ Sandy says.