Dear friends,

Watching our students walk across Beasley Coliseum’s stage during graduation is a highlight of the academic year for me.

For some students, earning that diploma was a real struggle, while others never doubted they would graduate. Whatever their circumstances, witnessing students’ joy and sense of accomplishment reminds us of how the Carson College of Business influences lives through education.

As I write this message, we are just seven weeks away from WSU’s spring commencement. This year, I’m proud that we’ll be graduating the first class of The Next Carson Cougs.

Seven years ago, I asked our faculty what it would take for the Carson College to become the No. 1 choice for undergraduate students seeking a business degree from a Pacific Northwest university. Faculty members responded enthusiastically to the challenge, taking ownership of the question and pushing for changes in our undergraduate business education. The result was The Next Carson Coug program.

Revising our curriculum was not a top-down process. A taskforce of faculty and staff led the work, and we repeatedly reached out to alumni and industry partners for feedback on how we could increase students’ professionalism and career readiness while continuing our strong academic reputation.

Besides the valuable input, many of you also have contributed to the Carson College Fund, which supports undergraduate education. Among other things, the fund has helped us reduce class sizes, resulting in higher student expectations and class participation.

In this issue of eDividend, you’ll hear from graduating seniors Dan Mauk and Brian Patrick about how the Carson College prepared them for careers. You’ll also meet Paulina Gastelum, who talks about her family’s migrant roots in agriculture and how her executive MBA studies prepared her for a chief executive role in the agribusiness industry. In addition, we’ll take you into a classroom for a look at faculty-written business case studies.

We recently took the pulse of the region’s business community with the 2023 Business in the Northwest report. Last year, the business community combatted inflation, supply chain, and labor issues, while employees prioritized a desire for higher salaries and better work-life balance. Despite these challenges, our report found both business leaders and employees are cautiously optimistic as they look toward the next three years, though less so compared to pre-COVID levels.

Whether you’re in Pullman on May 6 for the spring commencement, or elsewhere, I hope you’ll take a moment to remember your own graduation day and celebrate the value of an education from WSU and the Carson College of Business.

Go Cougs!

Chip Hunter, Dean