Our Voice: New chancellor for WSU Tri-Cities seems to be good leader for school's next step

Keith Moo-Young sounds like a great addition to our Mid-Columbia family. His technical background seems like a particularly good fit for the community.

This week, Moo-Young signed a five-year contract as chancellor at Washington State University Tri-Cities. We are eager to see what the next five years bring.

We're encouraged by his enthusiasm to build on the solid foundation set by his predecessor Vicky Carwein.

Moo-Young is already pushing for a stronger marriage between the arts and sciences, which is a critical step for advancing either one.

The arts are an essential part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education that the public might not completely recognize.

Although the term "creative engineers" could seem like an oxymoron at first glance, the two descriptions complement each other nicely. Creativity is the driving component to problem solving, the main task of an engineer.

Moo-Young also is big on increasing public-private partnerships -- a concept we promote often on this page and perhaps the one driving force that has brought our Tri-Citycampus to where it is today.

Strong business and community ties have created opportunities in the Mid-Columbia. Stronger ties can create more opportunities.

Appreciation is in order for members of the search committee. This has been a big undertaking. Throughout the search process, committee members reported that they had a large pool of strong candidates. Sorting through them all required a major commitment of time and energy.

We especially appreciate their effort to bring the top three finalists to the campus for open sessions with the public. That one step reinforces the strong connection between the community and the college.

Interim Chancellor Dick Pratt also has earned a word of praise. Carwein left in August and Moo-Young starts June 1. That accounts for a full school year Pratt has been in charge at the Richland campus.

Schools don't run themselves. But this one still is running smoothly with its community connections in place.

Moo-Young's vision for the campus and the community includes growth. He wants the students to be successful. And he wants more of them.

WSU Tri-Cities has been around a while, but primarily as a post-graduate school for Hanford professionals. As far as a four-year university goes, the branch campus is barely out of its infancy.

We may well be coming into that (sometimes) awkward teenage stage, where we appear to be adultlike, but still have some maturing to do.

We expect that Moo-Young will be able to navigate our next important and formative years.

Welcome to the Tri-Cities, chancellor.