School leaders donate toward new WSU Tri-Cities academic building

Donations benefit first-generation college students and STEM education programs at the university.
WSU Tri-Cities
Rendering of the new academic building; credit to WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. — Senior officials from Washington State University (WSU) are making donations to aid WSU Tri-Cities’ new academic building. They are the first people to donate for naming rights at specific locations of the new state-of-the-art facility that’s scheduled to open in the Fall.

According to a press release issued by school officials, WSU President Kirk Schulz and First Lady Noel Schulz committed $50,000 to help fund the ‘Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge.’ This section of the newest building on campus is meant to provide student success services and educational assistance for local students who need that extra push.

“We want to help take the building to the next level through our support of the faculty and student support lounge,” Dr. Noel Schulz said. “It’s really about all of us chipping in to make WSU, as a whole, better.”

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According to her husband, Dr. Schulz has spent a significant portion of her time in South Central Washington working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on the Advanced Grid Institute to make improvements to engineering programs at WSU Tri-Cities.

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes also made a sizable contribution in the form of a $25,000 donation to promote the success of first-generation college students, who make up approximately 40 percent of the university’s student body. With this donation, she’s earned naming rights for the ‘Sandra Haynes Collaboration Space in Honor of First-Generation Students.’

A first-generation college graduate herself, Chancellor Haynes understands the importance of equitable access to resources that will empower these students to graduate. That is one of the main goals of this collaboration space.

“It is so important to make sure that those students feel very supported throughout their college careers,” Haynes said. “They are taking a leap of faith and they are doing something that no one in their family has done, before.”

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The new building will have a specific focus on STEM programs that are so heavily emphasized in the Tri-Cities. However, these courses can prove rigorous and challenging for many students. Providing resources for all students, but specifically, those on their way to becoming first-generation college graduates is essential to the long-term success of these programs.

“Donating to this building is an investment in our student’s futures, and by doing so, contributing to the future of our region,” Haynes said. “I hope others will join us in contributing to this building.”

For more information on the new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities, click here. If you’re interested in naming opportunities, contact Jaime Heppler at


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