Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
CWU & ECC Grand Opening of Snoqualmie Hall Remarks
November 21, 2002
Good morning everyone.
It’s a pleasure to be here.
Congratulations to President Oharah and President McIntyre.
This is a beautiful, beautiful hall.
It is symbolic of an elegant concept.
The concept of a seamless, open education system.
Accessible to all.
Offering opportunities for higher education to all.
We stand in a hall founded on opportunity and partnership.
A hall of hopes, plans and ideals.
A hall alive with the future.
A hall of dreams.
Education makes dreams possible.
When I was growing up, my parents taught me that important lesson.
They instilled in me a passion for learning.
There was no question growing up that I would be attending college.
The only question was how.
My parents gave me love and support and encouragement.
But they were not affluent.
But thanks to financial aid, scholarships and part-time work, I was able to attend college.
I graduated, and went on to law school.
I was able to choose my destiny.
I believe with all my heart that a college education is part of the American dream. And every American deserves to realize this dream.
I was over at Central Washington University’s Ellensburg campus last month.
We were awarding our state’s Promise Scholarships.
I talked to students and their parents.
I was struck by how much families are willing to sacrifice and just about do anything to make college possible for their children, or for themselves.
It is inspiring.
But not everyone can go away to college.
Tuition, books, and fees are expensive enough.
But when you add the cost of relocating and living in a new place to attend college, many potential students lose out.
The dream runs into the financial reality especially since many people work a good job and want to attend college part-time.
But they can’t afford to leave that good job and move away to go to school. And the problem is harder if they have children.
Others can only afford to attend college or technical school if they can reduce expenses by living at home.
So for many people, if college means moving somewhere else, the dream is denied.
Our society cannot afford to see the dream denied.
That brings us here, where the dream is very real.
The concept we celebrate today gives people more options and more opportunities.
It brings a quality four year college education to this community and this region.
Many people in this community cannot manage a move to Ellensburg or even Bellingham to attend college.
So Central Washington University has partnered with Edmonds Community College to bring Central here.
Of course, this concept isn’t new for CWU.
Besides here in Lynnwood, there are CWU campuses in Moses Lake, Steilacoom, Wenatchee, and Yakima.
That’s a trend we want to see continue and expand, all across our state.
A strong community encompasses all the basics people need for a fulfilling life.
In the best of all possible worlds, higher education is one of those basics.
This community reflects that “best of all possible worlds.”
The program options available here are impressive and inspiring.
Students can earn two-year or four-year degrees.
A master’s degree in general accountancy.
A certificate in supply chain management.
A B.A. degree in business administration, law and justice, economics, psychology.
This program opens doors—and windows of opportunity.
Dreams live here in this hall and in this program.
Just ask some of the students or graduates here today.
Just ask Michael Sabatini, who I believe is here today—Michael?
Michael graduated from Lynnwood High School.
Michael came to Edmonds Community College to play baseball and earn his associate’s degree.
That wasn’t enough.
So he studied accounting and finance at CWU-Lynnwood.
He liked the business and accounting programs.
But also for the convenience and affordability of earning his bachelor’s degree right here in his community.
Now Michael works at an accounting software firm in Bellevue.
He also runs his own accounting and tax preparation business.
Way to go, Michael!
And congratulations to the CWU/EEC partnership for helping Michael achieve his goals.
Just ask Amy Crawford.
Amy, are you here?
Ever since her high school days at Edmonds-Woodway, Amy knew she planned to study law and criminal justice.
She wanted to pursue a career as a police officer.
She found out that she could complete her first two years at ECC.
Then she’d be able to earn her bachelor’s degree at Central Washington University, in the Law and Justice program.
That program is offered at the new Higher Education Center on campus.
That’s exactly what Amy decided to do.
Way to go, Amy.
And again, congratulations to this innovative partnership.
Or just ask Ernest and Portia Woodward what they think of the concept we celebrate today.
Are the Woodwards here today?
Ernest Woodward Jr. is working toward his bachelor’s degree in accounting from CWU right here in this hall.
Meanwhile, Portia is finishing her transfer degree from Edmonds online.
She expects to enroll at Central this winter.
The Woodwards decided to make a few moves of their own when the economy moved into a downturn.
And their daughter, Kara, was born.
They both received scholarships from the Edmonds Community College Foundation to help them achieve their goals.
Congratulations to the Woodwards, and again to this partnership.
Three ordinary but inspiring success stories.
Four people reaching out for the American dream.
And one great idea that has placed the dream within their grasps.
As you know, our state faces a $2 billion deficit in the next biennium.
Everything the state does will be scrutinized.
There will be tough decisions and deep cuts.
We must make sure we’re giving
Washington citizens the services that matter most within the resources that we have.
Things will change.
But one thing won’t change.
When all is said and done, education must still be our highest priority.
It is my highest priority.
We must continue to work for the best schools possible.
If we want to remain competitive, we must open the doors to higher education opportunities.
That is the only way we will continue to build a highly skilled workforce.
Economic vitality for our state requires an educated, skilled citizenry.
Strong partnerships between educational institutions, government, business, communities and students have never been more important.
Or more needed.
Snoqualmie Hall symbolizes such a partnership.
This partnership benefits all of us.
It offers opportunities to people like Michael, Amy, Portia and Ernest.
It helps businesses by producing valuable, capable employees.
It helps this community by bringing more higher education opportunities into your backyard.
And it helps our state economy by enriching the future workforce of Washington.
Look around at this beautifully spacious architecture.
It is simple, elegant, state-of-the art, and a great blend of imagination and utility.
Just like the partnership it symbolizes.
My thanks to you all for supporting higher education in our state.
And congratulations for keeping the dream alive and for bringing education opportunity to this community.