Karen Weathermon named the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award recipient

Closeup of Karen Weathermon.
Karen Weathermon

Karen Weathermon has been named the recipient of the 2022–23 Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award, which is awarded annually by the Association for Faculty Women at WSU.   

Weathermon is the director of First-Year Programs in the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, and has worked for more than two decades to further WSU’s goals of collaboration, community engagement, and life-long learning. She developed and leads the WSU Common Reading Program and First-Year Focus Living-Learning Communities, and the programs she has developed at WSU are a model for universities nationwide.  

Throughout her career, Weathermon has championed WSU’s general education program and the value of broad, interdisciplinary connections. She is known for her rigorous, evidence-approach to student learning, well-being, and retention, as well as the warmth and generosity she brings to her leadership roles. The award nomination praised her ability to bring together an “ever-changing cast” of faculty, staff, and students, and to create a culture of learning and involvement that reaches the full WSU system and beyond.  

As one nominator wrote, “She performs her job with a leadership style characterized by humility, compassion, and focus — just the traits we hope to cultivate in our students.”  

Weathermon’s commitment to community-building extends beyond campus, with leadership in her faith community and local groups including the Friends of Neill Public Library, the Palouse Choral Society, and the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center Board of Directors.  

As a letter of support stated, “She provides a model of quiet, thoughtful, persistent leadership that is helpful for many women, who are able to see themselves in that style and to emulate it.”  

The Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award was established in 2000 to show AFW’s appreciation to President Emeritus Smith for his leadership in advancing the role of women at WSU. The award committee is composed of current and former AFW leaders, and was chaired by Celestina Barbosa-Leiker, the 2021–22 award recipient.  

Weathermon will be honored at the AFW Graduate Student Awards and Sam Smith Leadership Award Celebration on Friday, April 21, from 5–6:30 p.m. at the Honors Hall Lounge. The award will also be celebrated at the AFW end-of-year meeting on May 2.

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