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Impact Stories

Each year, CWU seeks opportunities to enhance the educational experience for its students, opportunities for its faculty and staff, and its presence in the global marketplace. Donors help the University relieve financial burden of students, and support vital student-life activities that make CWU extraordinary.

Your gifts in action. Meet students who are direct beneficiaries of your philanthropic support.

Alicia Huegli (2016-17): I am so honored at being chosen to receive this scholarship. The scholarship is helping me immensely with paying for tuition as well as other expenses. The reason I chose to transfer to Central was because of the Actuary program. No other schools in Washington or Oregon state have as large of a program. We finish the program being well prepared to pursue a career as an actuary after graduation. I have already passed exam P and FM and I plan on taking MFE this November. After graduation I have already secured a job with Premera Blue Cross as an Assistant Actuarial Analyst. I am really looking forward to moving to Seattle and starting my career.

Morgan Rodriguez (2016-17): I am more than honored to be a recipient of the Elliot Family Endowed Scholarship. This generous donation has helped me attain a higher education, a great privilege that many people around the world do not have access to. Having to pay for college on my own, it is the generosity of people like you who make this fulfilling experience affordable and possible. You have my eternal gratitude. I strongly believe an education is the single most important thing a person can have. So, I have the utmost respect and gratitude for people like you that help make an education possible. Thank you.

Jocelyn Robinette: Thank you ever-so-much for the generous scholarship I received over this summer. Because of your kindness, I was able to complete 15 credits over the nine week session, which put me on track with my graduation plan. THANK YOU!

I have left my office to become a full time student. It is because of people like you who make it possible for me to work harder at my teaching degree and still be a mom! Thank you again! This scholarship meant so much to me!

Ardie Fesuluai:  I am deeply grateful for the scholarship I received this fall quarter. My family was shocked when we found an unpaid fee on my finances and we were even more shocked to see how much the unpaid amount was. We knew instantly that we could not afford to pay it off before the winter quarter, because of our unfortunate financial status at the time. Thankfully, after writing a letter stating our situation, we were able to find help from the CWU Foundation. I feel grateful and blessed to be awarded this scholarship for $2,000. My family and I are so appreciative to the CWU Foundation. In receiving this scholarship, I feel obligated to take full advantage of the services provided to me by CWU. Thank you, again, and words cannot express my gratitude for the help provided to me.

Alex LaVanway: I cannot thank you enough for the gift you have given me and my family. My son has grown out of his condition and my wife is in better health. My family is happy.

The Foundation has gone the extra mile on my behalf. Your gift to us has given my wife and family peace of mind. CWU has given me so many wonderful opportunities and so much support. Because of your generosity, I look forward to the time where I can give back to the University and help others as you have helped me.



Gifts large and small play an important role at the CWU. Gifts contribute to the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and academic programs, and every gift has a story. CWU is honored to feature the following accounts from the CWU family of donors.

Spencer Hatton:
In 2013, Counting Crows: Stories of Love, Laughter and Loss, by Spencer Hatton was selected as a finalist in the nonfiction category for the National Indie Excellence Book Awards in May, and in June was awarded first place in the Beach Book Festival Wild Card category.

Hatton, a newspaper columnist, reporter, and editor for the Yakima Herald Republic for nearly 40 years, earned numerous state, regional, and national awards. Counting Crows, published in 2012, recounts Hatton’s uproarious interactions with numerous celebrities—from basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain to England’s Queen Mother, and from actor Al Pacino to blues great B.B. King—with whom he crossed paths during his career.

Some of the stories are deeply personal, such as the ones recounting the loss of his wife, Bronwen, and, later, the tragic death of his 18-year-old son, Jed. In honor of his wife, Hatton created the Bronwen Hatton Scholarship to benefit special education teachers. The scholarship is permanently endowed through the Central Washington University Foundation.

John Shoudy:
Many folks in Washington may know the story of how Ellensburg was named for the wife of the town founder John Shoudy, Mrs. Mary Ellen Shoudy.  Today the legacy of the Shoudy family has a new connection to Washington citizens, the John A. Shoudy Distinguished Professorship and Scholarship in Nutrition Science.  This fund was created by a bequest from Carolyn Koepke who grew up in the Kittitas Valley.  When Ms. Koepke was in her 90s, she established a charitable remainder trust in order to provide funds to the Central Washington University nutrition science program. She died at the age of 104 and left a wonderful gift in her grandfather’s name, the John A. Shoudy Trust. Mr. Shoudy was a pioneer in the City of Ellensburg’s history. His legacy will live on in perpetuity to support and enhance the nutrition program through scholarships, faculty teaching, and research.

May Jankowski ('39):
May Jankowski graduated from Central Washington College of Education in 1939. In her first assignment, May taught in a one-room schoolhouse in the upper Nanum in Kittitas County. Her education led to a 30-year career as a teacher, until she retired in 1982. May benefited from her training at Central and decided to give back to the institution that had given so much to her. In 1997, she and her husband, Frank, chose a Charitable Remainder Trust for their giving option. It allowed them to use their assets to help expand education, while at the same time providing tax incentives and a source of income. Their Charitable Remainder Trust gave them the financial and philanthropic security they were seeking, because it met their investment needs and provided a benefit to the university. Upon May’s death in 2012, the CWU Foundation established the N. May Spurling Jankowski Memorial Education Scholarship with the remaining portion of the trust. Her generous gift created a lasting legacy, and students will receive funding in perpetuity due to this gift.

Emily Leslie ('66):
A descendant of Hood River, Oregon pioneers, Emily Leslie has forged her own individual path as an educator. A vibrant 91-year-old, Leslie still shines with joy talking about her experiences helping students overcome disabilities.  Arriving in Ellensburg in 1938, Leslie became a resident of Kamola Hall at Central Washington State Normal School.  With teaching certificate in hand after three years at Central, she began her career 1941 with a position teaching elementary school in Burlington, Washington.  Leslie returned to Central in 1957 to complete her four-year degree and again in 1966 to complete her Masters in Education.  She retired in 1986 from the Walla Walla Schools where she had taught for twenty-two years.

Ever a promoter of education and a lifelong learner, she is now making it possible for others to continue their education by creating a gift to benefit student scholarships.  This spring, Leslie established a charitable gift annuity with the CWU Foundation benefiting scholarships in the College of Education and Professional Studies. Honoring her parents, her fund will benefit the Charles F. and LuDell (Bertschi) Markgraf Scholarships for students in the CWU teacher education program.

A charitable gift annuity (CGA) allows a donor to make a gift to a charitable organization, like CWU, and receive a fixed rate of return for that gift for the rest of the donor's life. CGA's usually pay a higher interest rate to the donor than what he or she could get from another secured investment like a savings account. It also relieves the donor from worrying about market fluctuations. A CGA is a good charitable giving vehicle for those who want to leave a legacy and need the income during their retirement but do not necessarily want to keep the asset. The CGA, however, means much more than an income stream to Leslie. In the future, it will mean scholarship support for CWU students and future teachers, a cause that resonates with Leslie.

Dennis Heldane (’77):
After earning a B.A. in Music Education at CWU, Dennis Haldane has gone on to energize Washington State with his musical talent. Born in Southeast Alaska, Dennis, a member of the Tsimshian tribe, grew up in a fishing family. Whether in Seattle or Alaska, fishing was his life for 18 years.

Evan at a young age, Haldane was a talented trumpet player. “Dennis could hit those high notes. You either have it or you don’t,” said Norman Wallen, CWU music professor and friend of Haldane.

Nathan Hale High School’s music teacher, John Moawad, who would later come to teach at CWU, inducted Haldane into the school’s Jazz Band. Under Moawad’s leadership, Dennis later used his gifts to join the Drum and Bugle Corps, “a marching band on steroids,” as Wallen coined it.  Not surprisingly, Haldane went on to attend college at CWU, where he drew inspiration from professors Robert “Beep” Panerio and John Moawad.  For Haldane, education and music were orchestrated as one. 

Dedicated and diligent, Dennis plays trumpet – mostly lead – with many music groups throughout the Seattle area.  Although jazz is his specialty, he also performs with Latin, blues and opera groups, demonstrating his chops as a well-versed musician.  Music and education have had a profound impact on Haldane’s life.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t use my education that I received from Central. I owe a lot to CWU and its faculty,” says Haldane. 

To share his passion for education and music, Dennis has made provisions in his will for a bequest to support the John Moawad Scholarship and the Robert M. Panerio, Sr. Trumpet Scholarship at CWU.

Mary Deaton (’72): I gave a scholarship in honor of my beloved mother, Vera Franklin Deaton, who passed away at age 94. She was the first person in the family to attend college and went to Central Washington State Normal School. She was, and always will be, my role model, and she helped make it possible for me to attend college at CWU as well. My scholarship fund honors her by helping current students remain in school to pursue their educational goals.

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