Unbreakable Bonds: Cougar Spirit Reflected in Legacy Scholarship
Ann Redmond-Blais (’76 Marketing) and her late husband Patrick Redmond (’77 Finance) are one of many examples of two Cougs who met at WSU, fell in love, got married, had a family, and successful business careers—Ann as the general manager of corporate branding Microsoft, and Pat as an accomplished banker who rose to the rank of president and CEO of Viking Bank in Ballard, Washington. They both served the WSU Foundation for many years and were active in their community.
But their story is anything but typical.
In his early 20s Pat was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and underwent aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatments. The treatments affected his joints and his heart, and he endured eight hip and shoulder replacements as well as two open heart surgeries—something he never spoke about or dwelled on. Ann and Pat were married for 34 years until tragically, Pat’s cancer returned in 2010, and he passed away a year later.
Turning loss into gain
Despite her devastation, Ann decided to turn her loss into an opportunity for Carson College students by establishing the Patrick D. Redmond Endowed Scholarship. Many of their family and friends also donated to help build the endowment and honor Pat. Scholarship recipients must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors in need of financial assistance, certified in business or finance, residents of Washington state, and are average students who show academic growth, perhaps with an increasing GPA each year.
“When I was considering the criteria for the scholarship recipient, 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,” says Ann. “I wanted the scholarship to reward the potential of the person, not just grades and scholastic achievement.”
The Patrick D. Redmond Endowed Scholarship has been awarded three times. Erik Gotta, a senior double majoring in finance and management information systems, was this year’s recipient.
Ann says Gotta is everything she hoped for when developing the scholarship criteria: “He is aspiring and anxious to begin the finance career he has prepared for. He is well rounded, a leader, and an achiever. He is good, kind, and humble. He is a true Coug.”
The scholarship will help Gotta pay for books and utilities this semester and a class he wants to take this summer before graduating. He plans to eventually become a financial analyst but wants to spend a year in Japan or South Korea teaching English first to gain more international experience. He also plans to pursue his master’s degree in finance.
Reflecting the Cougar spirit
Gotta definitely exemplifies Pat’s Cougar spirit: he is a founding father of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity, he participates in intramural sports, and you can find him at every home football game cheering for the Cougs.
“I got to meet Ann and thank her personally. We talked about our lives and why she created the scholarship I was awarded. It was a great conversation and showed me how strong Cougar connections are,” he says. “I also want to give back to fellow Cougs all the opportunities that are being offered to me. I want to help WSU to become an even more competitive and leading business school and help our name be recognized more globally. The best thing about WSU is definitely the spirit of being a Coug.”
“You only need to meet a student who has received a scholarship to know what a difference it makes in both your lives,” says Ann. “WSU has many opportunities for people to give back. I encourage every Cougar I meet to get involved and find a way to support the growth of the University and its students.”
Donations can be made to the Patrick D. Redmond Scholarship Fund at the WSU Foundation
Washington State University, PO Box 641925, Pullman, WA 99164-1925.
Click for more information on how you can invest in the Carson College of Business student experience,
Contact Raegan Harvey, assistant director of alumni and industry relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-335-9448.