WSU Tri-Cities Collaboration Hall - New Academic Building

WSU senior leaders first to donate for academic building naming rights

President and First Lady Schulz, Chancellor Haynes hope their investments will inspire others to support new building on Tri-Cities campus

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

WSU President Kirk Schulz and First Lady Noel Schulz

WSU President Kirk Schulz and First Lady Noel Schulz

RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington State University President Kirk Schulz and First Lady Noel Schulz, and WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes, are the first to donate for naming rights for the new state-of-the-art academic building currently being constructed at WSU Tri-Cities. The building is on-schedule to open this fall.

Kirk and Noel Schulz committed $50,000 in funding to name the “Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge.” Haynes, a first-generation college graduate, donated $25,000 to name the “Sandra Haynes Collaboration Space in Honor of First-Generation Students.”

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes

WSU Tri-Cities Chancellor Sandra Haynes

The state-funded academic building features eight science teaching laboratories, two large active learning classrooms, a large open-concept atrium ideal for presentations and events and a variety of study and collaborative areas. As a late addition to the exterior, the building will also house an outdoor amphitheater.

The WSU leaders hope their contributions will inspire others to follow in their footsteps and give to support the new building, which stands to prepare students for future careers in the sciences, health and medicine, engineering and other technical fields that are critical to the growing Tri-Cities region.

“Donating to this building is an investment in our students’ futures, and by doing so, contributing to the future of our region,” Haynes said. “I hope others will join us in contributing to this building.”

Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge

The Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge will provide greater access to academic and student support services and a dedicated beyond-the-classroom space for faculty and students to meet and collaborate.

Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge - Digital rendering

Noel and Kirk Schulz Academic Support Lounge digital rendering

“My wife, Dr. Schulz, is spending two weeks a month in the Tri-Cities working with WSU Tri-Cities, working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on the Advanced Grid Institute and helping the engineering program and the Tri-Cities grow and thrive,” Kirk Schulz said. “As the new building was coming up, we were talking to people about making investments and naming opportunities and Noel came home and said, ‘Hey, I think we should participate in this. Given what is taking place in the Tri-Cities, this would be a really opportune time.“

Kirk Schulz said the Tri-Cities is a hub for STEM education, with reputable expertise in energy, agriculture and environmental sciences. Earlier this year, WSU Tri-Cities announced it would be launching a new institute centered on energy and the environment. The campus is also a part of three WSU-PNNL Joint Institutes focusing on nuclear science and technology, advanced grid and bioproducts.

“We want to help take the building to the next level through our support of the faculty and student support lounge,” Noel Schulz said. “It’s really about all of us chipping in to make WSU, as a whole, better.”

Sandra Haynes Collaboration Space in Honor of First-Generation Students

Chancellor Sandra Haynes understands the significance of being the first in her family to go to college, like so many WSU Tri-Cities students. More than 40% of WSU Tri-Cities students are the first in their family to attend college.

Sandra Haynes Collaboration Space in Honor of First-Generation Students - Digital rendering

Sandra Haynes Collaboration Space in Honor of First-Generation Students digital rendering

Haynes said her investment and dedication of the collaboration space celebrates first-generation students and serves as a reminder that, on the other side of adversity, is success.

“It is so important to make sure that those students feel very supported throughout their college careers,” Haynes said. “They are taking a leap of faith and they are doing something that no one in their family has done, before. I’m contributing to this building because I want our students to be able to learn in a state-of-the-art facility with state-of-the-art equipment. It feels great to be giving back to the campus that has given so much.”

Haynes said the new building will be significant in growing the campus’ STEM-focused programs and curriculum, which stand to benefit regional industry.

“The industries in this region are highly STEM-focused,” she said. “This building will benefit regional industry by providing well-prepared graduates in these fields and welcoming regional companies and organizations in for shared experiences ranging from presentations, to partnerships for projects and more.”

Naming opportunities and other support

Mike Connell, acting vice president and CEO of the WSU Foundation, said when WSU leaders choose to make personal investments in the future of the university, they are truly leading by example.

“The most recent investments by the Schulzes and Chancellor Haynes will open doors for students at WSU Tri-Cities while inspiring others to join their lead in adding to WSU’s already world-class student experience,” he said.

For more information on the new WSU Tri-Cities academic building and naming opportunities, contact Jaime Heppler at or by phone at 817-243-6019.

For more information about the new WSU Tri-Cities academic building and to access a virtual tour. visit


Media contacts:

Jaime Heppler, WSU Tri-Cities senior director of development, 817-243-6019 (cell),

Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities director of marketing and communication, 619-403-3617 (cell),