In the words of Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, Kathi Goertzen had everything—talent, heart, beauty and intelligence.
When the gifted alumna of WSU died last year, alumni and officials at WSU decided to honor her name on campus.
The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication held a dedication ceremony Saturday to reflect on and celebrate Goertzen’s time at WSU as well as her prestigious career. The event included the renaming of the newest communication building to the Goertzen Communication Addition (GCAD).
WSU President Elson S. Floyd praised Goertzen’s passion and conviction for WSU and her vision for the university.
“It’s a celebration of an absolutely amazing woman,” Floyd said. “When we think of a consummate Coug, we think of Kathi.”
Lawrence Pintak, founding dean of the college, said Goertzen played a critical role with the Murrow College.
“With all due respect to our other alumni, no one stood out more in that pantheon of alumni than Kathi Goertzen,” Pintak said.
Goertzen continued to appreciate and give back to Murrow. She served on the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees from 1994 to 2000.
“Whenever you have the opportunity, you must give back to Murrow,” Pintak said, quoting Goertzen. “It is only appropriate to honor Kathi somehow.”
Margo Myers, former Seattle news anchor and long-time friend of Goertzen, spearheaded a committee that decided how to best honor Goertzen’s memory.
The dedication of the building was the perfect way to keep Goertzen’s spirit alive because of how much it matched her dream of helping others, Myers said.
“That’s what I liked about Kathi,” Myers said. “It wasn’t about her. It was about the people around her.
Rick Jewett, Goertzen’s husband, met her while they both worked at KOMO 4 News—he was a photographer, she was an anchor. He said her accomplishments would continue to shine through the education of future Murrow students.
“We know that this building and all the teaching and learning that will go on inside will keep Kathi’s love of the college alive,” Jewett said.
Tearfully, Jewett said although Goertzen’s accomplishments were plentiful, her two greatest were their daughters.
As she battled her way through the fight with a brain tumor, Jewett appreciated her resilience.
“She never complained,” Jewett said. “She never asked, ‘why me?’ She led our family through this minefield with her courage and grace.”
Eric Johnson, an anchor for KOMO 4, co-anchored with Goertzen for many years and wrote her obituary for KOMO 4 last year. He praised her energy he witnessed of her dancing on the high wire of live television and her heartfelt passion for the Cougars.
“Hell hath no fury like Kathi Goertzen in the face of an obnoxious Dawg,” he said.
At the end of the ceremony, Goertzen’s daughters unveiled the sign outside the renamed building that now reads “Goertzen Communication Addition” (GCAD).
Floyd said Goertzen’s uncompromised excellence as a student and professional should and will always be commemorated at WSU.
“It was the right choice,” Floyd said. “Her legacy will always live on—here, at this institution, at this space, at this moment, at this time.”