Cougar Pride and Generosity Radiates at the 2023 Recognition Gala.
Beasley Coliseum was transformed into a place that sparkled with splendor on the evening of October 12, 2023, as it hosted the Washington State University’s 43rd Annual Donor Recognition Gala. Four spectacular chandeliers seemed to float above the 200 elegantly dressed guests that included donors, alumni, cherished friends, and others.
WSU’s very own faculty brass ensemble, Equinox Brass Quintet, provided lively music, and Tim Pham, a 2014 WSU alumnus and charismatic co-anchor of KREM 2’s morning newscast in Spokane, guided the evening’s proceedings. Alongside him were student presenters Evan Charney and Grace LaFramboise, two accomplished WSU undergraduates both on scholarships made possible by the generosity of donors.
After President Kirk Schulz extended a hearty welcome to the gathered luminaries, the celebration of the honorees began. Those honored included Crimson Laureates Kathy and Dan Harmon, as well as Beatriz and Edmund O. Schweitzer III. Among The Laureates were David Ensor, the Joseph “Joe” Collier Estate (represented by Roy Collier), the Thomas “Tom” Moody Estate (represented by Marisa Hemingway), Tom and Linda Nihoul, Mark and Sheryl Ossello, David Pollart, Eric and Blair Sprunk, and the Spokane Teachers Credit Union (represented by Ezra Eckhardt and Marty Dickinson). Crimson Benefactors included Alaska Airlines (represented by Megan Ouellette), Gerald “Gerry” A. Danquist, Kenneth Gibson and Lea Fransen, the Rom and Marcia Markin Family Estate (represented by R. Jeffrey Markin), the Moss Adams Foundation (represented by Randy Fenich), and Steven “Steve” and Janet Okerlund.
President Kirk Schulz offered remarks throughout the evening, and Lisa King, president of the WSU Foundation Board of Directors, raised a toast to the esteemed honorees. WSU Foundation CEO Mike Connell also took the stage, emphasizing the profound impact of philanthropy and extending heartfelt appreciation to the tens of thousands of donors whose generosity fueled WSU’s two consecutive years of record-breaking engagement—which, over the two most recent fiscal years (FY22 and FY23) amounted to a remarkable $322 million invested in WSU students, faculty, research, and outreach.
The Gala’s grand finale was nothing short of electric, as WSU’s beloved mascot, Butch, made a surprise appearance along with the WSU Marching Band. Butch’s energetic dance moves and the band’s rousing rhythms united the guests in a passionate rendition of WSU’s fight song—a fun and unforgettable moment at the end of an evening celebrating the power of giving.