Arts and Humanities, CAH, CAH Alumni, CAH Faculty, CAH Staff, CAH Students, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Alumni, Liberal Arts, Marketing, Owened Media, Uncategorized

Liberal Arts are Relevant: Now and Forever

Looking back upon the last two-plus years at CWU’s College of Arts and Humanities, I am more convinced than ever that our college cannot be beat when it comes to mentoring and preparing our immensely confident and talented students for the careers of tomorrow.

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Our disciplines have long histories, but their relevancy has only increased, especially when it comes to our digital world of discovery.

In many cases across our college and the entire university, we prepare students to employ specific applied skills, honed through classroom study and practiced through internships, research, and other forms of outside applied learning. But in the College of Arts and Humanities, we also see it as our enduring job to teach our students to take joy in the lifelong process of learning, regardless of the subject or discipline.

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When I was recently asked, “What was the biggest surprise of my tenure as dean of the College of Arts and Humanities,” I replied that it was the combined grit and modesty of our successful alums and future-oriented students.

Our alums and our students instinctively know that grit and determination are essential for sustained success. And our faculty regularly exemplify these values as they interact with students inside and outside the classroom – as educators, mentors, and friends.

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College of Arts and Humanities alums and students do not expect to be given anything. They understand the value of deep work, focus, and determination. When they earn hard-fought rewards, they realize that the journey has not ended. They recognize their college education as a great privilege.

Telling The Story of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities

During the past two-plus years, we embraced the process of marketing our college through the effective use of owned media. This communication platform is primarily digital in nature. We have used digital technology to tell the story of our exciting college and dynamic departments/interdisciplinary programs through our revamped website, this LaunchPad blog, social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram …), a viral college video, and updated college icons to present a new and fresh image to the university, community, region, and the world.

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Events planning is an integral component of the Owned Media Platform, and we never rested in supporting our departments and programs as they organized a multitude of events on campus, in downtown Ellensburg, and in Seattle – including alumni days, year-end celebrations, the Seattle Showcase, lectures and readings, college days, musical concerts, and art fairs. Amidst this whirlwind of activity, we occasionally needed to take a breath, and appreciate our accomplishments.

We are especially grateful for Ellensburg, our bucolic college town located in a picturesque valley at the base of the Cascades. This lovely small town offers everyone, including students, staff, and faculty, a sense of belonging, warmth, friendship, and community. Moreover, Ellensburg exemplifies the promise of the Pacific Northwest, slow enough to enjoy and appreciate life, but fast enough to compete with the growing economies of the Pacific Rim.

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Our graduation ceremonies this coming weekend will be my last official events as the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. These coming days will be difficult as I say goodbye to so many lifelong friends and colleagues that I have come to know during the past 30 months.

I will always remember Central Washington University as a place in which the unlikely becomes possible. Consider that 40 percent of our students are first-generation college graduates, half are transfers, and many are non-traditional. The success of our students represents so much more than a degree. It means transforming families. It means hope for new generations of immigrants. It means achievements beyond one’s dreams.

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Central Washington University’s College of Arts and Humanities is better than ever, and most of all, more relevant than ever. We stand ready to meet every new challenge posed by our increasingly complex data-driven, digital society.

Bring it on!

By Stacey Roberson

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU Department of Communications, Department of Art, Graphic Design, Infographics, LaunchPad, Magazine Journalism, Pulse, Uncategorized

Art + Communication = Collaborative Success in Action

By Stacey Robertson

As Dean of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities for almost two years, I have come to appreciate the distinctiveness of each of our eight dynamic departments and four innovative interdisciplinary programs in serving the needs of our nearly 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

As an historian, I also am very familiar with the value of case studies and how they can tell stories of best practices through the use of concrete examples. When it comes to collaboration, there are many examples in the College of Arts and Humanities, highlighting how teamwork can be transformative.

All it takes is a little thinking outside the proverbial box, and exploring how one department’s skill sets can enhance the talents of another. A perfect case study of beneficial collaboration is the work of our Department of Art graphic designers teaming with the journalists from our Department of Communication.

We are all proud of Pulse, our nine-time, award-winning lifestyle online-and-conventional-print magazine, which captured the 2015 Best Student Magazine Mark of Excellence Award from the regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).
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The Pulse success story begins and ends with collaboration. Professor and mentor extraordinaire Jennifer Green partners with Editor-in-Chief Bailey Williams. They are joined by a dedicated group of 20 editors, photographers, reporter-writers and, notably a team of four graphic designers from the Department of Art including Creative Director Vanessa Cruz.

“What I love the most about the cross-department collaboration at Pulse is seeing how students from different backgrounds are inspired to put their own individual talents and interests to work on behalf of both their team and the publication,” Professor Green said. “This teamwork includes everything from photographs to page layouts, radio podcasts, video segments, web designs and much more.”

Upon taking over as the faculty advisor for Pulse five years ago, Professor Green reached out to the Art Department for design students who could contribute to a complete redesign of the magazine. That decision drew on the contributions of several Art faculty, including most recently Art Professor David Bieloh, and led to Art students becoming a permanent addition to the Pulse team.

“The collaboration with Pulse has been extremely valuable for our graphic design students,” said Professor Bieloh. “This is a team effort where our students get to work together with a professional group of student writers, editors, photographers, and journalists to produce a highly polished lifestyle magazine. They have really all done some beautiful work, and continue to amaze me.”

If you are looking for results of this collaboration, check out the awards garnered by Pulse in the past four-plus years:

2016 – Finalist, Best Student Magazine – Associated College Press (national – one of 22 selected nationwide)
2016 – Fourth place, Feature Magazine – Associated College Press, Best of Show Award
2016 – Honorable Mention, Juried Student Art Show, Central Washington University Art Department
2015 – Winner, Best Student Magazine – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2015 – Winner, Non-Fiction Magazine Article – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2015 – Fourth place, Best Student Magazine – Associated College Press, Best of Show Award
2015 – Finalist, Best Use of Multimedia – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2013 – Finalist, Online Feature Reporting – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)
2012 – Third place, Best Student Magazine – Society of Professional Journalists, Mark of Excellence Award (regional)

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Pulse Creative Director Vanessa Cruz, a graphic arts junior, confers with Editor-in-Chief Bailey Williams, a broadcast journalism senior on the next issue of CWU’s lifestyle magazine. Photo by Pulse photographer Jack Lambert

Just taking a few minutes with Pulse editor-in-chief, Bailey Williams, a broadcasting journalism senior from Des Moines, and Vanessa Cruz, a graphic design junior from Tacoma, you can quickly discern that departmental boundaries have no bearing on their successful collaboration. They and their colleagues are all integral parts of the award-winning team.

Vanessa is unabashed in stating that she loves working for the magazine, particularly making each story visually more interesting and compelling. As editor-in-chief, Bailey is always asking how Pulse can more effectively employ photographs and graphics to make a good article into a great story.

Pulse has also been able to send Art students to college journalism conferences nationwide. And the successful collaboration between Communication and Art is extending to another award-winning publication, CWU’s student newspaper, The Observer, under the stewardship of Professor Cynthia Mitchell.

We know from our high-achieving alumni that the collaboration between the Departments of Communication and Art reflect best-practice trends in many industries. No one works in a silo any longer. Many corporations are designing work spaces to encourage teamwork. In providing for and encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration, we are preparing our students for success as they launch their careers.

There are more case studies of teamwork between and among our departments and programs. We can hardly wait to tell our LaunchPad readers all about them.

 

www.cwupulse.com

21st Century Life, Arts and Humanities, CAH, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, CWU Department of Communications, CWU Film Program, Department of Art, Department of English, Department of History, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Department of Theatre Arts, Faculty, Higher Education, LaunchPad, Liberal Arts, Stacey Robertson, Uncategorized

Showcasing Our Talented Students and Faculty to the World

By Stacey Robertson

Film has the power to inspire, enlighten, and excite – and our new college video certainly does all of this and so much more.

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Please take a moment to enjoy the virtuosity and creativity that our new video showcases. Our very own Film Program co-leader Jon Ward carefully directed and expertly produced this video in collaboration with two recent CWU grads Dara Hall and Jobe Layton.

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The scene begins with a bird’s eye view of our campus from historic Barge Hall to modernistic McIntyre Music Building Concert Hall on a gorgeous Ellensburg day, beautifully filmed by a drone-mounted camera.

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From Music Professor Nikolas Caoile conducting our orchestra to musical-theatre-produced Mary Poppins flying through the air, the video is a cornucopia of images documenting our incredibly innovative and skillful students and their ardent and dedicated faculty.

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There are dancers floating across the stage, pottery taking shape, piano keys expertly played, theatre productions magnificently choreographed, broadcast productions carefully digitized, newspapers meticulously printed, and graphic designs precisely created.

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Our video highlights the talent and commitment of our students and faculty in dozens of different ways. You can experience the energy in our English, History, Philosophy and Religious Studies classrooms as students reach into the past to try to fully comprehend the challenges of the future.

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This video is refreshing and illuminating because it offers a compelling glimpse into what we do best: Create a culture of excellence that enhances and builds on every bit of talent and potential from our students and faculty for the benefit of our region and the world.

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The new college video also highlights an exciting truth: We are educating and mentoring the creative leaders of the future.

If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience our new college video, the link can be found immediately below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hu93R9nL7Fo

http://www.cwu.edu/arts/

http://www.cwu.edu/film-video/

Arts and Humanities, CAH, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, CWU, Dan Herman, Department of History, Gary Weidenaar, Higher Education, History, Jason Dormady, LaunchPad, Liberal Arts, Lifelong Learning, Marji Morgan, Out of the Box Thinking, Poetry, Speaker Series, Stacey Robertson, Third Thursday Thinks, Uncategorized, Wicked Smaht, Xavier Cavazos

Bringing Arts and Humanities into the Community with Porters, Stouts and Amber Ales

By Stacey Robertson

When my predecessor, Dr. Marji Morgan, issued a summons for greater interaction between the College of Arts and Humanities and the Ellensburg community, Associate Professor Jason Dormady of the our Department of History was one of the first to reply.

His response led to the creation of the “Wicked Smaht; Third Thursday Thinks” speaker series.

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As described by Dr. Dormady, the Wicked Smaht talks are a partnership between the College of Arts and Humanities and Iron Horse Brewery, and serve as a conduit between the university and the City of Ellensburg.

Held in the back room of the craft brewery on Main Street, the talks are informal and most have participatory elements, and a little IPA, too.

“Getting off campus and going out into the community is something that’s beneficial for both the university and the Ellensburg community,” Dormady said.

According to Dr. Dormady, the name of the series, ‘Wicked Smaht’ was inspired by a line of dialogue from the film, Good Will Hunting.

In the film, the main character participates in an intellectual discussion in a bar, and is described by one of his friends as ‘wicked smaht.’

“This idea of people from the community and from the university (e.g. Town and Gown) getting together and having an intellectual exchange in a local craft brewery was our response,” Dormady said.

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Free and open to everyone 21 or older, the talks have covered a wide range of subjects including subversive knitting, Irish World War I veterans, and music advocacy.

Last June as part of the series, I presented on the historic roots about the global phenomenon of modern-day slavery, a global crisis affecting 30 million people today.

The only requirement for speakers is they hail from the College of Arts and Humanities. Beyond that, faculty members may choose their topics.

“There is really no single theme… and I think that’s what the fun part of this is,” Dormady said. “The faculty speakers can talk about anything they want.

“For example, Xavier Cavazos from our Department of English led a fantastic participatory performance poetry. We had 20 people up, dancing around, while chanting poems.”

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Each talk is an hour long with presenting faculty members usually taking the first half hour for a topic overview, leaving second half for Q&A. If it’s a workshop, then the hands-on portion takes the full hour with the faculty member moving throughout the room.

“We really discourage the use of Power Point … this program is not designed for lectures,” Dormady said. “It’s intended as ‘here are some ideas, now let’s talk about them.’ We generally say people have to rely on their own wit and wisdom to make things happen.”

The series is unique on campus, primarily because of its informal nature and its craft-brew and bar-food setting.

“I think the informality really sets it apart from formal classroom lecture,” Dormady said.

This month, Dr. Marji Morgan will lead a discussion about wine and champagne. Next January, the series will host Dr. Gary Weidenaar, our director of Choral Studies, as he leads a ‘beer choir.’

Prost!

CAH faculty who are interested in presenting at Wicked Smaht are encouraged to contact Dr. Dormady at Jason.Dormady@cwu.edu

http://www.cwu.edu/history/node/2531

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies, Faculty, Faculty Mentoring, Higher Education, Liberal Arts, Lifelong Learning, Out of the Box Thinking, Philosophy, Public Hospitals, Religious Studies, Uncategorized, Undergraduates

How A Philosophy Degree Leads to Career Success and Personal Fulfillment

By Stacey Robertson

There are three primary reasons to major in philosophy or religious studies: Earn more, score higher, love what you do.

The CWU College of Arts and Humanities Philosophy and Religious Studies Department believes students who want to succeed should choose one of its majors. The contention may raise an eyebrow or two, particularly as politicians have used Philosophy as a preferred example of a “useless” degree

“We need more welders and less philosophers,” said Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio.

With all due respect to welders, the evidence of demand for philosophers runs directly counter to Senator Rubio’s contention.

According to the Payscale.com 2015-2016 College Salary Report, a biochemistry major earns an annual salary of $43,400 in early career and $84,500 in mid-career. In comparison, a philosophy major starts at an average of $42,200 and reaches $85,000 by mid-career.

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Philosophy majors are paid well because employers want talented people who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems. Moreover, for students who want to pursue a postgraduate degree, these skills also lead to excellent scores on professional and graduate exams. Philosophy students score second highest among all majors on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), fourth highest on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), and top of the list among Humanities majors in the Graduate Record Examination test (GRE).

Part of the CWU Family for 13 Years …and Counting

Dr. Matthew Altman, who earned a Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2001, has served as our department chair for three years. Asked why students may opt for philosophy, Altman quickly replies that students love all aspects of the major. They develop the courage to question their own closely held beliefs. They learn how to defend their assertions. They position themselves for success in life and career.

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Before assuming his present position as department chair, Altman was the director of the William O. Douglas Honors College for six years. He now oversees the activities of 10 faculty members, who teach hundreds of students every quarter in both general education and advanced courses.

The department’s 130 majors and minors take courses in a wide variety of subjects including: Philosophy and Science Fiction; Philosophy of Law (e.g., same-sex marriage, juvenile executions, Nuremberg trials, Edward Snowden); Philosophy of Race (e.g., Black Lives Matter); Medical Ethics (physician-assisted suicide, health care, Terri Schiavo).

Similar to many of the disciplines offered by the CWU College of Arts and Humanities, philosophy is grounded in ancient history (e.g., Aristotle and Plato), advancing through hundreds of years (e.g., Descartes, Hegel, Kant), and arrives in the present day (e.g., Rawls, Nussbaum, Nagel). Courses cover many topics of modern relevance, including contemporary ethics, politics, and social theory.

According to Altman, great philosophers will always have important lessons for students. Aristotle taught us that philosophy begins in wonder. René Descartes said that in order to have well-founded beliefs, we need to build on a certain foundation: cogito, ergo sum, “I think therefore I am.” Immanuel Kant espoused that when it comes to ethics, we cannot make an exception of ourselves and that all people have inherent value.

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Equally relevant to today’s complex world is the field of religious studies. Issues related to religious history, meaning, and culture appear in the headlines nearly every day. Altman made it clear that his department does not teach religious theology, but provides a broad background for students to understand the interplay and relationship among the world religions.

Dr. Altman embraces the philosophy of serving one’s community. He was a member of the Ethics Committee at a local hospital from 2008-2015, and in fall 2015 he was elected to the Board of Commissioners for Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1 for a six-year term.

Clearly, it is misguided to say that philosophy and religious studies are useless, or that professors live in an ivory tower. The fields are alive and well: philosophy and religious studies graduates are employable, and the field is crucial to understanding and engaging with our ever-changing world.

http://www.cwu.edu/philosophy/

http://www.kvhealthcare.org/press-release-56/

http://time.com/4110418/gop-debate-philosophers-welders/

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, College of Arts and Humanities, Outstanding Employee Award, Staff, Uncategorized, Year-End Celebration

A College Is More Than the Sum of Its Alums, Faculty and Students

By Stacey Robertson

“Vickie (Winegar) consistently demonstrated an ability to rise to any challenge and produce favorable results despite deadline pressures. She is respectful, dependable, creative, motivated, and ambitious … It is these qualities that have made her a ‘go to’ person.” — CAH Administrative Assistant Ashlie Crawford presenting an Outstanding Employee Award to Vickie Winegar

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Looking back at the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) Alumni Day festivities and the Year-End Celebration and forward to our CWU commencement ceremonies on June 11-12, it would be very easy to concentrate our attention on our overachieving alums, our graduating seniors and our outstanding faculty.

But if we only focused on these events and these particular stakeholders, we would be doing a great disservice to another key group of essential contributors: our staff. They are the invisible heroes, who provide critical support for the entire university.

Thinking Outside of the Box

Coming to Central Washington University from Bradley University in winter 2015, it did not take long for me to come in contact with the name, “Winegars.” In fact anyone with a craving for delicious ice cream or a morning hot-and-creamy mocha can easily visit either of the nearby Winegars.

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For the College of Arts and Humanities, Winegars means more than coffee and ice-cream, it means the tireless efforts and calm, cool, collected counsel of Vickie Winegar. She has now worked for CAH for four years, the first three with our Department of Communication and the last year with our Department of English.

Ms. Winegar is fond of the Silicon Valley phrase, “Thinking outside of the box.” To some it may be an overused metaphor, but to Vickie it is a reflection of entrepreneurial spirit.

“Sometimes you have to be creative,” said Winegar, reflecting on the procedures of academic life. “I don’t see a ceiling. If I see an issue, I am not afraid to ask questions. I am an advocate for my co-workers.”

Ms. Winegar not only knows her way around the corridors of our college and its departments, she knows Ellensburg like the proverbial back of her hand. Since she was seven, she has lived here with the exception of a short-stint in Olympia.

She married into the Winegar family, and she credits her ability to think quickly and creatively to her part-time work for the homemade ice-cream and coffee provider. Before coming to Central Washington University, she was a legal assistant for a criminal law firm, which ultimately she found unfulfilling.

“Because we work behind the scenes, it would be easy for any college to overlook us,” said Ms. Winegar. “It is gratifying to have our accomplishments recognized and saluted.”

Reflecting on her Outstanding Employee Award, Vickie is humbled and appreciative. This award recognizes the tremendous contribution of Vickie Winegar to the overall success of our college. We value and appreciate the daily input of our vital staff to our college, its eight departments and four programs.

Congratulations Vickie!

Arts and Humanities, Central Washington University, CWU Department of Communications, Department of History, Marketing, Uncategorized, Washington Wine

Linking the College of Arts and Humanities to Wonderful Washington Wine

By Stacey Robertson

When that cork pops, an interdisciplinary world is unleashed that connects us with agriculture, science, history, philosophy and religion, literature, poetry, art, business and marketing, world languages, tourism and leisure, culinary studies and more. Let’s pop some corks and enjoy!” – Marji Morgan, Department of Communication interim chair, historian and wine enthusiast.

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My predecessor, mentor, and good friend, Marji Morgan, brilliantly connected all eight departments of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities – Art, Communication, English, History, Music, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Theatre Arts, and World Languages – in an enchanting bottle of Washington wine.

Morgan is more than qualified to discuss this linkage, not only as the former dean of the CWU College of Arts and Humanities for nine years, but also as a renowned historian and a wine enthusiast, hosting her weekly radio show, “Lines on Wines.”

Class was in session earlier this month as Morgan served as the final 2015-2016 academic year presenter for the Celebrating the College of Arts and Humanities Series. Many would not be inclined to consider Washington as a prime wine region — Au Contraire!

In her “Sagebrush to Vineyards: Washington’s Route to the World Wine Map” Morgan introduced the audience of faculty, students, staff, alums and community members to the pioneers of the Evergreen State’s wine industry. These intrepid souls explored fields of high-desert sagebrush and rattlesnakes. More importantly, they found the vision to transform the arid land into row-after-row of Vitis Vinifera (grapes for making wine).

Washington’s terroir, the complete natural and biological environment for producing wine, eventually resulted in the designation of 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the state, all but one east of the Cascades. The very first was established in 1983 in Yakima Valley about 30 miles away from Central Washington University’s main Ellensburg campus.

Morgan explained that Washington’s terroir is one of the most ideal natural environments for producing wine. She opined that France makes wine despite its growing conditions; Washington makes wine because of its ideal growing conditions.

Geography takes a bow as the Cascades to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the north and east, block the respective temperate rain and the Artic air masses. The result is the young Washington vines are repeatedly “stressed” by lack of rainfall, putting their energy into the sweet fruit and making their roots deeper. During a single 24-hour period of time during the summer, the temperature may shift up to 40 degrees, helping to preserve a nice balance between grape sugar and acid.

From an historical point of view, a series of massive-high floods 13,000-to-15,000 years ago (e.g., Missoula Floods) created soil ideal for drainage, low in nutrients, which forces wine vines to reach deeper to find vital minerals.

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Morgan introduced us to a series of Washington wine-making visionaries, each with a unique story that has been featured in her every Wednesday “Lines on Wines” radio show on Ellensburg Community Radio. One of the most successful is Allen Shoup, the former chief executive officer of Chateau Ste. Michelle. During his tenure, he grew the winery’s business from $5 million to a $175 million venture.

Jack of All Trades; Master of None?

Shoup told Morgan that Washington can reach the pinnacle of the wine world, as the state is the only wine region not missing any of the geographical ingredients necessary to grow Vinifera vines and to bottle great wines.

Marji said Washington is adept at growing many red and white varietals, but is not known for any particular varietal. Other wine areas are known for a grape varietal or blend. For example, Oregon is renowned for its pinot noirs; California for its cabernets, Australia for its Shiraz, Germany for its Rieslings and Bordeaux for its blends.

Washington poses a marketing and communication challenge – who are we as a region? The Evergreen State’s wine business is also challenged by low production, compared to its giant competitor to the south, California.

“People don’t learn about wine and become wine drinkers on $30 and $40 bottles,” Morgan told our Speaker Series’ audience. She went on to say that Washington needs more affordable wines, and enough premium wine production to export more bottles out of the state and the country.

There is also the lack of tourist infrastructure (e.g., cozy B&Bs, nice restaurants, art galleries, boutiques), which accompany competing wine regions, such as Oregon’s Willamette Valley, California’s Sonoma and Napa Counties, let alone the legendary vineyards of France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

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Morgan said that following Prohibition, Americans tended to produce and drink primarily sweet, highly fortified wines. This trend did not change until 1969 when the state Legislature eliminated the state tariffs protecting Washington’s fortified wine industry, and allowed competition to thrive and the state’s wines to improve.

Morgan radiates with confidence that Washington’s best wine making and marketing days are yet to come. And with them are opportunities for our art students to design bottle labels, our music students to compose songs about wine, our English students to romance about wine with stories and poems, our World Language students to spread the Washington wine word in many tongues – quite frankly every one of our departments can participate in telling the Evergreen State wine story, and telling it well.

Just like “Lines of Wines” at www.linesonwines.com