As a new graduate seeking employment, Connor McCarthy (’16) made sure his résumé included the Patrick D. Redmond Scholarship he received as a certified accounting major in WSU’s Carson College of Business. The scholarship provided a good start to his junior year. “It relieved some of the financial stress I was experiencing and really allowed me to focus on my studies,” Connor says. “That was greatly appreciated.”
Listing the scholarship on his résumé also was a nod to Patrick (Pat) Redmond (’77 Finance), a respected bank executive who succumbed to cancer in January 2011. Pat’s surviving spouse, Ann (’76 Mktg.), established the scholarship to preserve his enduring Cougar spirit while conveying the gratitude shared by the couple for their WSU educations. Many of their family and friends also donated to help build the endowment and honor Pat’s legacy as a warm, generous man. The joy that Pat found in his family, his work, and his community was evident to all who knew him.
“When I was considering the criteria for the scholarship recipient,” Ann says, “I wanted to mirror the type of person Pat was—a normal kid, not a scholar. He was well rounded and a leader in sports. His grades steadily improved each year, and he was passionate about WSU. I wanted the scholarship to reward the potential of the person, not just grades and scholastic achievement.”
Scholarship recipients must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors in need of financial assistance, certified in business or finance, residents of Washington state, and average students who show academic growth, perhaps with an increasing GPA each year.
Connor was the scholarship’s first recipient. He had the opportunity to meet Ann when she was on campus for Homecoming Weekend 2014. Over coffee, Ann shared anecdotes and favorite stories about Pat. She described how his experiences at WSU helped him flourish as a student and a person. At WSU, Pat gained the skills and confidence to tackle the world.
As Connor listened to Ann, he came to realize how one person can impact many lives, and in different but positive ways.
“As a student trying to figure out what I want to do in the future, it was great to hear Pat’s life stories and how he inspired people around him,” Connor says. “That there are people like Ann who are willing to offer such generous support to students pursuing their career dreams, shows how that (impact) can live on over time.”
Unbeknownst to Connor, the Patrick D. Redmond Scholarship was the starting point of a remarkable series of events that would change his life.
Fast forward to November 2016. For several weeks, Connor had been searching for a job that was a better match for his education and skills. A family friend sent Connor’s résumé to a business in the midst of hiring. But the résumé arrived too late for consideration. The employer knew of another business that was hiring, so he got Connor’s permission to send the résumé to the contact at that business, Rich Mulcahy. What happened next was more than mere coincidence. Or chance. Or sheer luck.
Rich is president of the Washington Division of Northwest Bank in Seattle. Seeing “Patrick D. Redmond Scholarship” on Connor’s résumé evoked a flood of memories and emotions in Rich. “I was Pat’s friend and business partner for many years,” he reveals.
He invited Connor to coffee to begin the interview process. After completing a few assignments and meeting future colleagues, Connor was offered—and accepted—the position of Assistant Relationship Manager for the bank.
“One of the things I most admired about (Pat) was how he looked for the strengths in people, and what he could do to help them be at their best,” Rich says. “Much of that was through a focus on education.”
The Patrick D. Redmond Scholarship embodies that focus and encourages recipients to take advantage of opportunities provided to students at WSU.
“The Washington Division of Northwest Bank has four employees who all worked for Pat. We set a very high bar for quality, so that says something. Seeing Connor start out his career in banking here is a strong legacy statement of Pat Redmond’s commitment to academic excellence,” Rich says.
Pat enjoyed a long career in banking, eventually becoming President and CEO of Viking Bank in Ballard in 1996. Under his mantle the bank grew in size and strength, from one branch to eight. Pat was deeply committed to his employees, customers, and community. He became a champion and leader of community banking through his service on the board of the American Bankers Association and as chairman of the Washington Bankers Association.
Rich continues, “(Pat) established, as part of the Viking Bank culture, that we always had a few employees involved in graduate level or MBA-equivalent programs. He supported employees finishing their AA degree on bank time and by paying their tuition. He promoted industry-specific education programs for banking professionals from a leadership role at the Washington Bankers Association.”
Pat graduated with honors from the University of Washington’s Executive MBA program. “It pained him to no end when I referred to him as a ‘wannabe Husky’ during Apple Cup week,” Rich says. “But that typified Pat’s thirst for continuing education – regardless of the school affiliation he was going to obtain the graduate level experience. Connor’s acknowledgement of the Patrick D. Redmond award spoke volumes regarding Connor’s academic achievements.”
Call it fate or providence. Or in the eyes of Cougar Nation—and perhaps the late Patrick D. Redmond—it’s simply Cougs helping Cougs.
Adds Connor: “This scholarship has given me more than I ever would have expected. To have my résumé wind up on the desk of Pat’s long-time friend and business partner, and to eventually become employed by a commercial banking team where several of the employees previously worked for Pat – it feels very special. I couldn’t be any prouder to represent Pat’s legacy.”