Students, faculty, alumni, and friends gathered for two ceremonies to rename the College of Engineering and Architecture and the College of Business on WSU’s Pullman campus this fall. The dedications recognized and celebrated the generosity, vision, and leadership of two remarkable couples who have forever transformed their colleges and the university.
Voilands Catalyze the Future
Nearly 1,000 guests celebrated the lifetime contributions that Gene and Linda Voiland have made to the College of Engineering and Architecture, to the university, and to society, during a formal dedication and renaming ceremony for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture on the Pullman campus, September 18.
“What I made in my life and the things that I got to do and accomplish were because of the education I received at WSU,” Gene Voiland said recently. He likes to point out that he came from family of modest means and appreciates the opportunities he was given that led to his success in the oil industry.
“I’m going to try to provide those opportunities for students who are in the same spot,” Voiland said. “I hope through our support that others can achieve similar success.”
The “our” in that sentence refers to both Gene and his wife, Linda, a loyal, adopted Coug. “You give back to whoever or whatever helped you make it through,” Linda Voiland said. “When we saw we could help out other people, it was a natural fit.”
The Voilands have been active supporters of WSU and the College of Engineering and Architecture for many years. Gene Voiland led the Investment Committee for the WSU Foundation. He is a member of the Foundation’s Board of Governors. He serves on advisory boards for the college as well as for the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
In 2008, the couple made a multi-million-dollar commitment to transform the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering into one of the nation’s best programs and to attract top faculty. The school has since focused its program in the area of catalysis and has hired two top researchers in the field, Yong Wang and Norbert Kruse.
“The College of Engineering and Architecture has benefited for many years from Gene and Linda’s wisdom, incomparable philanthropy, candor, and passion for Washington State University,” said Candis Claiborn, dean of the college. “Their support for the Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering has resulted in a dramatic increase in reputation, research, and enrollment.”
“The quality of students coming out of WSU is as good or better than anyplace,” said Voiland. “If you want to get something done, hire a WSU person. They know how to work, they’re trained, and they’re smart. We really do have something special at WSU. We just need to grow and flex our muscles, and that’s what I see happening.”
College of Business Celebrates Carsons’ Impact on Students
More than 1,000 students attended the October 24 naming celebration of the WSU Carson College of Business, along with alumni, faculty, staff, friends and Carson family members, to recognize Scott and Linda Carson’s generosity and longtime support of the college and Washington State University.
“You are the reason we invest in WSU,” Scott Carson (’72 business administration) said to students surrounding the stage in the Todd Hall atrium. “It’s about the beginning of your journey to make this university and this planet a better place. We are delighted and humbled about the naming, but this is about you.”
“Scott and Linda Carson are living examples of the College of Business’ mission to advance knowledge, be globally competitive and create value through engagement,” said David Whidbee, interim dean. “The Carson name will help us strengthen brand recognition and increase the allure of WSU’s top-ranked business programs and world-class faculty. We’re so pleased to honor them and to celebrate this important event.’’
Over the years, the Carsons have impacted college programs and students in many ways. Their first investment included a scholarship targeting students who have lost a parent – a situation close to home for Scott Carson. Two of his sisters passed away, both of whom still had children in high school.
The Carsons established the Carson International Business Scholars’ Fund to support students participating in study abroad programs and developing global perspectives.
In 2006, their youngest daughter Shelley came home from WSU summer session and told them about a marketing professor who captured the imagination of young people. Though the Carsons did not know him at the time, that professor was Eric Spangenberg; he later became the dean of the college and a close friend of the Carsons.
To ensure that kind of impact and teaching excellence continued, the Carsons established the Boeing/Scott and Linda Carson Endowed Chair in Marketing, awarded to professor David Sprott.
The Carsons recently supported a 1,000-square-foot expansion of the center to add additional advisor offices, more seating and meeting areas and a computer bar.
“We don’t want the great relationships we have with WSU to change as a result of the college renaming,” Scott Carson said. “We will always be pro-education and want to continue the great work being done. It’s always been about the end game and how can we make young people productive members of society.”
Read more about the Voiland College dedication and legacy at: http://vcea.wsu.edu/voilands-catalyze-the-future/
Read more about the Carson College dedication and legacy at: http://business.wsu.edu/