Bates ‘66 named provost at WSU

Bates ‘66 named provost at WSU

After a 33-year absence, Robert Bates ’66 returned home to the Pacific Northwest in January as the newly appointed provost and academic vice president of Washington State University.

Bates, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Lewis & Clark, a master’s degree at Washington State University, and a doctorate in microbiology with a specialty in virology at Colorado State University, leveraged his scientific expertise and liberal arts education into a longtime administrative position at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of microbiology at the Virginia institution before accepting the Washington post.

“It was clear from the first time Bob visited that he was the choice,” says V. Lane Rawlins, president of Washington State. “His background, experience, and character seem to fit very well with our team.”

Bates credits Lewis & Clark College with helping him build a strong foundation on which to launch his professional career.

“Without the kind of experiences I had at Lewis & Clark, I would not have felt prepared to grow into my position as an administrator. The interplay that exists between the small student body, the faculty, and the president is hard to achieve at larger schools,” he says.

Bates’ first goal is to implement the strategic long-term plan recently completed for Washington State, a land grant university with a tradition of strong collaboration in the tripartite mission of teaching, research, and community outreach. He will also work to increase diversity among the faculty, staff, and students; strengthen undergraduate programs; and create a vision for the evolution of WSU’s branch campuses in Vancouver, Spokane, and the tri-city area of Richland, kennewick, and Pasco.

Bates is a member of the American Society of Biological Chemists, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Society of Sigma Xi, and American Society for Virology. He recently learned that he was recognized as one of 20 individuals in Colorado State University’s Gallery of contemporary Faculty.

During his free time, Bates plans to spend time with his family (his father turns 95 in March), hit the ski slopes, and maybe learn to fly an airplane.