Gifts totaling $100,000 to benefit WSU health sciences students in Spokane, Yakima

FILE – Mannequins used for training students are stored around a table Wednesday, May 9, 2018, at Washington State University’s College of Nursing in Spokane. The university announced Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, it has received donations totaling $100,000 that will be used to purchase training equipment for health sciences students in Yakima and Spokane. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Washington State University announced Thursday it has received donations totaling $100,000 that will be used to purchase training equipment for health sciences students in Yakima and Spokane.

The gifts came from the Paul Lauzier Charitable Foundation, which contributes to a wide range of charitable causes in Washington, including youth programs and projects in health, public safety, education and agriculture, the university said in a news release.

The Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, on WSU’s Spokane campus, will use its $30,000 gift to buy two abdominal exam trainers, which can be used as teaching aids and testing instruments, as well as 20 computer workstations that will help simulate devices used for managing electronic medical records, according to the news release. Those items will equip the college’s Virtual Clinical Center, which also received a donation from the Lauzier foundation last year.

Another $70,000 will go to WSU’s College of Nursing, in Yakima, to purchase a high-tech SimMan Essential mannequin, which breathes, blinks and makes heart sounds to simulate a living patient. According to the news release, students will use the mannequin to practice evaluating, diagnosing and treating various conditions. And since the mannequin is wireless, it will enable students to practice emergency responses outside of clinical settings.

“Simulation is a proven method in health sciences education, providing students with low-risk opportunities to hone their skills and techniques,” Daryll DeWald, the chancellor of WSU Spokane, said in the news release.

Paul Lauzier was the son of French immigrants, whose family raised sheep in the Yakima Valley and later in Grant County, according to a biography on his foundation’s website. After serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, Lauzier returned home, took over the family business, acquired land and eventually branched into cattle ranching and irrigated farming. He never married, lived frugally and gave to many charitable causes before his death in 1995.

A separate foundation, also bearing Lauzier’s name, has awarded nearly 4,800 scholarships to Grant County high school graduates attending colleges and trade schools in Washington. More than $2.1 million in scholarships have benefited WSU students, the university said.

WSU’s nursing college also recently received a $1 million gift from Wally Lindblad, a 92-year-old Korean War veteran who lives in an assisted-living facility in Pullman. That money will be used to establish the college’s first endowed faculty position, aimed at geriatric research and continuing education for nursing home care providers.

During a news conference last month, President Kirk Schulz said WSU had raised plenty of money during the 2017 fiscal year, putting the university ahead of schedule to close its spending deficit, which at one point totaled about $30 million.

“We had our third-best fundraising year ever, with over $145 million that came into Washington State University from donors, and alumni, and corporations, and partners,” Schulz said. “That was up significantly over the year before, where we finished a little below $120 million, so I’m really pleased to see that growth continuing to occur.”

Correction: This story was changed on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. A previous version misstated the total amount of the donations that WSU received from the Lauzier foundation.