Governor appoints Issaquah High School alumna, former county executive to WSU board

January 17, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Gov. Chris Gregoire appointed Issaquah High School graduate Ryan Durkan, a Seattle attorney, and former King County Executive Ron Sims to the Washington State University Board of Regents, Gregoire announced Dec. 14.

The board acts as the university’s governing body. Regents supervise, coordinate, manage and regulate the WSU system.

Durkan, a WSU alumna, is a respected attorney at HCMP Law Offices specializing in real estate, land use and environmental law. (Ryan Durkan’s sister is Jenny Durkan, U.S. attorney for Western Washington.)

“Ryan has proven she’s passionate about the importance of education — serving on the board of trustees for an elementary school, a middle school and a high school,” Gregoire said in a statement. “Her experience improving our education system, combined with her legal background and her commitment to community, make her a natural fit.”

Durkan graduated magna cum laude from the university.

“This is a time of great excitement for Washington State University,” Durkan said in a statement. “While there are also significant challenges ahead, I am optimistic about the future of WSU. It will be a great privilege to work with Dr. Floyd and the Board of Regents in the service of my alma mater. Washington State is such a special place, because it creates a unique sense of community and pride. I will be honored to serve the Cougar nation.”

Sims stepped down from King County’s top job to serve as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sims, a Spokane native, served as county executive from 1997 until the federal appointment in early 2009, and then at HUD until June 2011. (Sims lost to Gregoire in the Democrats’ 2004 gubernatorial primary.)

“Ron was among the first elected officials to understand the dynamic changes urban development, clean energy and sustainability would bring to our state and its economy,” Gregoire said. “His expertise in these and many other areas will be an asset as WSU works to give its students the tools to succeed in an ever-changing economy.”

WSU President Elson Floyd praised Gregoire’s choices for the 10-member Board of Regents.

“A strong board featuring diverse viewpoints is a great asset in our university’s decision-making process, and I am certain that Ron and Ryan will prove to be excellent additions,” he said in a statement.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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