Jan. 14, 2008
A total of 205 donors have contributed $52,180 as part the Roger Salquist Challenge that raised funds for the EWU Football program.
Salquist, a friend and generous contributor to EWU, made an initial contribution of $10,000 and agreed to match all additional cash gifts up to a total of $50,000. His challenge, which began as an idea in October and was put into motion in November, was met just before the deadline of Dec. 31, 2007.
"Part of it was to stimulate the base of donors," Salquist said of his purpose of the challenge. "People sometimes will give if they know they are getting 2-for-1 -- and they did. I'm thrilled with how that worked out."
Despite the short time frame, Eastern Athletic Director Bill Chaves cited the hard work put forth by Matt McCoy, EWU's Associate AD for Development. McCoy believes it is one of the department's "more successful campaigns, especially with the short time frame."
"On behalf of the Eastern Football Program, I would like to personally thank Roger and all of our wonderful supporters who supported this very generous challenge," said Chaves. "With Matt's strong leadership, this challenge was a tremendous success. These types of off-field successes allows our football program to produce on the field."
Eastern President Dr. Rodolfo Arévalo and Eastern Vice President for University Advancement Mike Westfall echoed the gratitude expressed by Chaves.
"I am very grateful for this display of generosity exhibited by supporters during the Salquist Challenge," Dr. Arévalo said. "This was a true measure of Eagle spirit, as we were able to unite and maximize the generous gift from Roger Salquist."
"The success of the Salquist challenge once again demonstrates that the EWU family can rise to a challenge," added Westfall. "This fundraising effort is one that I am sure will be replicated many times over in the coming years as Eastern continues to start something big."
Salquist is a retired venture capitalist and bio-tech executive. He was also a nuclear engineer with the Navy's submarine program for six years. He and his wife Claudia reside in Davis, Calif., but spend the summer months in Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands of Northwestern Washington State.
Their son Kevin attended high school with former EWU head coach Paul Wulff. They went on to play football together at Washington State University where they were also roommates. The families have remained close for more than 20 years.
"He's an adopted son to us," said Salquist. "The greatest thing is to see how Paul has grown."
The challenge was made in October and the fund-raising effort got off the ground in November. Salquist said he has made the same sort of challenge in raising funds for environmental groups, but not collegiate athletics.
He and his wife attended Eastern's game at Montana this season and were inspired by the needs of the program that were relayed over a dinner with Eagle Athletic Association President Curly Rousseau.
"It's such a great program with a lot of good people," said Salquist. "What really prompted this was talking to Curly at the Montana game. We just need a little more money in the tank for football. We need to make a difference."
"How the team played against UM showed incredible resiliency," he added of the 24-23 Grizzly win in which the Eagles out-gained UM in total offense 565-289. "Things didn't go their way but they hung in there. It was a real tribute to Paul how well they played the rest of the season. It was great to for them to come back and end the season as one of the elite college teams in the nation."
Despite Wulff's departure to take the head coaching position at Washington State University, Salquist says he will continue to support new EWU head coach Beau Baldwin and the rest of the school. He has developed a fond association with Eastern ever since he happened to meet former Eagle quarterback Fred Salanoa nearly a decade ago when Salquist was searching for EWU's football offices on his first visit to campus.
"We are big supporters of the program and always will be," Salquist said. "The timing was right for Paul. We knew Paul would be an excellent candidate at WSU and we wish him well."
A list of the donors and more information can be obtained online at:http://goeags.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/ewas-salquist.html.