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July 19, 2007

Rawlins named interim director of Ruckelshaus Center

Former Washington State University President V. Lane Rawlins will serve as interim director of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center. The center is a joint enterprise of the UW and WSU.

It serves as a neutral resource for collaborative problem solving, and is named for William D. Ruckelshaus, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Nixon and Reagan administrations. A Seattle area resident, Ruckelshaus was instrumental in founding the center and chairs its advisory board.

Founded in 2003 as the Policy Consensus Center, it was renamed in honor of Ruckelshaus last October.

“The Ruckelshaus Center is a tremendous asset for our state and our region,” said UW President Mark Emmert. “With his broad experience as a leader of a research university and his proven ability to bring people together, Lane Rawlins is extremely well-suited to lead the center through this pivotal time and help address some of the most complex challenges facing our state.”

Rawlins “has an in-depth understanding of the state of Washington and of the mission of the Ruckelshaus Center,” said Elson Floyd, the new president of WSU. “His problem-solving skills were instrumental to the success of WSU under his leadership, and this role at the Ruckelshaus Center will again put those skills to use for the good of our state.”

The center began as a pilot project led by several UW and WSU faculty members. This past spring, when the Legislature recognized the center’s value, it allocated funding and assigned a large project related to Initiative 933, which grew out of a dispute between environmentalists and property rights advocates.Voters defeated the initiative in 2006.

“This is a tremendously difficult and important issue for the state and for all parties involved,” Rawlins said. “I see my interim role as helping the center solve problems these and similar issues present.

“I’ve agreed to take this on because of the clear public value of promoting collaboration among parties on a variety of issues of great public concern, and because of my tremendous respect for Bill Ruckelshaus and his work,” Rawlins said. “The center is a primary example of the two research universities leveraging their value by combining skills.”

The UW Evans School of Public Affairs and WSU Extension co-host the Ruckelshaus Center.

Rawlins, who retired from WSU on June 30, will not receive compensation for his work with the center.

More information about the center can be found at http://www.ruckelshauscenter.wsu.edu.