BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU) and the Western Washington University Department of Athletics today announced a sponsorship agreement creating “WECU Court at Carver Gymnasium” and establishing a $50,000 annual donation to fund scholarships for WWU student-athletes.
WECU, with both its historical ties and support of education, will provide the funding for scholarships to student-athletes who participate in any NCAA Division II sponsored sport.
“As a proud graduate of Western Washington University, and supporter of Viking Athletics, I am thrilled that WECU is partnering with Western to support student-athlete success,” said Jennifer Kutcher, President and CEO of WECU. “Approximately 20 percent of our employees are Western alumni, so we understand first-hand the quality education Western provides, and are proud to be a part of this investment in students and their future. This sponsorship opportunity strengthens our long-term partnership with Western and our community. It truly is a perfect fit!”
“Western is delighted to partner with WECU and grateful for their sponsorship of the Carver Gymnasium court, as well as their generous scholarship support for our student-athletes,” said Sabah Randhawa, President of Western Washington University. “The excellence of Western Athletics is not only a source of great pride for all in our community, it attracts students from diverse and traditionally underrepresented backgrounds too. WECU’s support will not only help make Western more affordable, it will increase the quality of the campus experience for all.”
“WECU’s commitment to community and education is a shining example of what partnership is all about. We look forward to our teams competing on WECU Court at Carver Gym when it opens in the fall,” said Steve Card, Director of Athletics for WWU. “WECU’s generous scholarship support will help our student-athletes succeed in competition and in the classroom, and help prepare them for future endeavors.”
The 2016-17 season was one of the most successful for WWU Athletics, with two national championships and 13 of 15 intercollegiate programs reaching the NCAA Division II Championships. WWU student-athletes continued to shine in the classroom as well. Using the NCAA Academic Success Rate, which includes all freshmen student-athletes from the fall of 2009 and also accounts for student-athletes who transfer into or out of the institution, WWU posted an 86 percent success rate, compared to the NCAA Division II national number of 71 percent. WWU’s federal graduation rate for student-athletes for the entering class of 2009, which looks only at how many freshmen student-athletes who received athletically based financial aid and graduated within six years, was 85 percent, compared to the NCAA Division II national rate of 56 percent.
About Whatcom Education Credit Union
Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU), founded in 1936 to benefit local classroom teachers and administrators, is a not-for-profit financial cooperative where members are encouraged to save and borrow responsibly. Employees support a mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of all WECU members, which includes giving back to the community. Headquartered in Bellingham and serving the state of Washington, WECU is a full-service consumer and commercial financial partner that operates 11 branch locations and two loan centers for Business and Home needs. WECU is proud to serve more than 89,000 members and has nearly $1.5 billion in assets.
About Western Washington University Athletics
Western Washington University is a four-year public institution located in Bellingham, Washington, featuring over 300 student-athletes that compete for 15 intercollegiate athletic teams. WWU is entering its 20th year as a NCAA Division II member and competes primarily in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. WWU Athletics has finished in the top 50 in the NCAA Division II Learfield Directors’ Cup standings in each of the last 14 years, and in the top 20 in 8 of the last 10 years. WWU’s programs have won 11 team national championships, most recently the 2016 women’s soccer team and the 2017 women’s rowing team. Outside of competition, WWU’s student-athletes have compiled an academic success rate of 86 percent, well above the NCAA Division II national number of 71 percent. During the 2016-17 sports season, 13 of 15 teams advanced to their respective NCAA championships, 41 athletes earned all-region honors and 13 were named All-Americans.
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