WSU dedicates new building in honor of Kathi Goertzen

With the university band playing its fight song, the family of KOMO journalist Kathi Goertzen unveiled the nameplate of the new Goertzen building at Washington State University on Saturday.

"I feel like when I'm here I'm closer to my mom in a unique way," said Alexa Jarvis, the 24-year-old daughter of Goertzen, who died in 2012.

University leaders dedicated the building in her honor and launched a campaign to fund a state-of-the-art media lab for journalism students at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

"It's a celebration of an absolutely amazing woman," WSU President Elson S. Floyd said. "When we think of a consummate Coug, we think of Kathi,"

Rick Jewett, Goertzen's husband, said the dedication was a "fantastic" honor.

"As a journalist myself we strive to win Emmys and awards but we never expect to have our names on a building - especially at the college she loved," Jewett said.

Goertzen served as his role model, he said, and she will serve as a great role model for future students at WSU. Goertzen's parents were also in attendance.

Kelly Koopmans, a WSU alumna and KOMO broadcaster, chose to attend the Murrow College because of Goertzen. Koopmans said Goertzen's strength of character was as strong as the building's concrete foundation and her vision as clear as the windows.

"I feel she left some big footsteps at KOMO for me to follow as best as possible," she said.

KOMO anchor Eric Johnson, who worked with Goertzen, said future students will know success is possible because of the example set by Goertzen.

"It was here she stared into the black hold of a video camera for the first time," Johnson said. "Then it was in this place that she swallowed hard, took a deep breath and started talking."


The Murrow News Service provides local, regional and statewide stories reported and written by journalism students at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University.