Contact: University Communications, (360) 650-3350
BELLINGHAM – Gov. Christine Gregoire has appointed alumnus and former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro to Western Washington University’s Board of Trustees.
“Ralph Munro has long been a strong supporter and the University will benefit from his vision and leadership as we strive to make Western the best university of its type in the nation,” WWU President Bruce Shepard said.
Munro’s term on the Board of Trustees ends Sept. 30, 2015.
“I am delighted to serve Western. The University gave me a first-rate education 40 years ago, and I want to see the same quality for the thousands of students who currently are enrolled. It is the finest University in our state,” Munro said.
Munro has a long and distinguished record of public service in Washington State and the nation. From 1980 through 2001, he served as Washington's secretary of state, a job to which he was elected five times before leaving for opportunities in the private sector. During his time as secretary of state, Munro was instrumental in improving voter registration participation, streamlining the corporate registration process, promoting economic development, helping state veterans’ groups, encouraging environmental volunteerism, promoting activities to benefit people with disabilities and serving as the state's goodwill ambassador to the world.
Munro, who received his bachelor’s degree in Education and Political Science from Western in 1966, was recognized by Western in 1989 as a Distinguished Alumnus. For a number of years, Western also sponsored a summer seminar to help K-12 teachers better understand how government works by enabling them to discuss current issues with decision makers. The unique non-partisan program was renamed at Western in 2000 to honor Munro, who frequently participated in the seminars.
In 2004, Western was awarded a $250,000 match from the Higher Education Coordinating Board to establish the Ralph Munro Distinguished Professorship in Civic Education, thanks to contributions of $250,000 from more than 550 private individuals, corporations and foundations. The award enabled Western to create a $500,000 endowment to support the professorship named to honor Munro.
Sara Weir, the Munro Distinguished Professor, directs the Munro Institute for Civic Education, which is a program of WWU’s Political Science Department and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The institute carries out programs that promote civic education training for the public and especially social studies and civics teachers.
Munro is sits on numerous local, national and international boards and commissions. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of several domestic corporations, including Prepared Response, Sunstream Boat Lifts, The Squaxin Island Tribal Museum, and History Link.