Eastern Washington University says the newest member of its governing board will play a key role as the school prepares to expand its footprint in downtown Spokane.
Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Kim Pearman-Gillman, a partner with the engineering firm McKinstry, to a six-year term on EWU’s board of trustees. She replaces Paul Tanaka, who completed his second term on the eight-member board last fall.
Pearman-Gillman joined McKinstry in 2009. In a news release Tuesday, EWU said she has more than three decades of leadership experience in the public and private sectors, including stints with Itron, Avista Development, Avista Utilities and the city of Spokane.
She also sits on the board of Spokane’s University District, where more than 3,000 EWU students take courses in business, public administration and health sciences.
The university recently announced plans to move three more degree programs, up to 50 faculty members and nearly 1,000 students to the U-District. They’ll work in the Catalyst building at the south landing of the U-District pedestrian bridge, which is under construction.
The Catalyst building, slated to open in 2020, will be built on land owned by Avista. McKinstry will handle the plumbing, fire protection, and mechanical and electrical engineering.
In the news release, the chairman of the board of trustees, Uriel Iñiguez, said Pearman-Gillman “will be a critical part of the team as the university establishes itself in Spokane’s University District with projects like the recently announced Catalyst building.”
EWU spokesman Dave Meany said Pearman-Gillman’s appointment has nothing to do with the Catalyst project, specifically. He said she has a long relationship with EWU and has worked with the past three EWU presidents. She served on an EWU library committee from 2007 to 2009, and on the board of EWU’s engineering college from 2010 to 2014.
“Whether we do the Catalyst project or not, she’s a great a addition to the university,” Meany said.
In a phone call, Pearman-Gillman said she’s excited to join EWU’s mission of providing affordable, accessible higher education. In particular, she said, she would focus on science, technology, engineering and math programs, and on first-generation students like her father, who went to college thanks to the ROTC program at his high school in Georgia.
Pearman-Gillman said her parents’ college educations helped set her, and her own daughters, on the right path.
“I know that it fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life,” she said.