WSU Vancouver to present top awards at commencement

By Brenda Alling, WSU Vancouver

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Annual awards for research, teaching, service and student achievement will be presented by Washington State University Vancouver at the commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Sunlight Supply Amphitheater in Ridgefield, Wash.

John-HarrisonChancellor’s Award for Research Excellence: John Harrison, School of the Environment, studies watershed biochemistry and the effects of human activities on watersheds. He has brought more than $2 million in external funding to WSU, worked as an expert consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and co-chairs the Global Nutrient Export from Water(S)heds UNESCO-IOC Work Group, an international, interdisciplinary scientific task force.

Dan-HarmonChancellor’s Award for Service to WSU Vancouver: Dan Harmon, 1980 alumnus and co-owner of Hoffman Construction, has been instrumental in the company’s work to construct several significant buildings on the WSU Vancouver campus. In addition, he and his wife, Kathy, have endowed scholarships that have enabled many students to complete their degrees. He has served on WSU Vancouver’s Business Advisory Board and the WSU Foundation Board of Governors.

Allegra-KoupalChancellor’s Award for Student Achievement: Allegra Koupal, a graduating senior in human development, has emerged as a campus leader after starting out as a high school dropout, drug addict and convicted felon. As a departmental teaching assistant, she has contributed to case study development, grading, tutoring and the encouragement of struggling students. “WSU Vancouver energized me and pushed me to have the opportunities to re-identify myself,” she said.

Gretchen-Rollwagen-BollensStudents’ Award for Teaching Excellence: Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, School of the Environment, is described by a student nominator as “inspirational, encouraging and a really strong example of a successful woman in science.” Students said she takes extra time to create assignments that enable them to investigate issues they care about and that stretch them academically. She leads programs for undergraduate summer research and K-12 science teachers at the campus.

Read more about each honoree at