August 2018 Newsletter

An Exciting, Independent Future

Your Pinchot Alumni Association has made it our mission for the past two years to form an independent non-profit organization dedicated to serving our amazing community. In case you hadn’t heard, this past spring, we got the official word that our application for nonprofit status was approved!

As an independent non-profit here to serve our community of amazing professionals, we are dedicated to a shared dream creating positive change in the world. We are no longer formally tied to any school, though we remain in close contact with Presidio, especially the Seattle campus, and we are always happy to have any alumni (even current students) join our events, sign up for our newsletters, participate on social media, and generally keep in touch!

Our newly-realized filing status means we can leverage opportunities to stretch your tax-deductible donations further. Yes, that’s right. Donations to your alumni organization are now tax deductible.

Based on recurring requests, our next steps are to seed the initial phase of design and development for an online database/directory – something the community has expressed as a high priority. However, we will need additional donations and help from you to make this a reality! Please consider a donation to help us build out the tools and events that will serve us as professionals!

Your ongoing engagement and feedback fuel us to continually improve so we hope you’ll take a few moments to share your hopes and dreams with us in this survey. This is also your opportunity to let us know what areas of involvement speak to you.

In loving Memory

John Christopher Gardner


We’re heartbroken to share that John Gardner, former dean and provost of BGI/Pinchot, died on July 29th at his home on Bainbridge with his beloved wife, Julie, by his side.

John was born on January 28th, 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri. He and Julie Rae Abare married on August 7, 1976 at Queen of the Holy Rosary Church in Overland Park, Kansas. Together they raised three amazing children.

John graduated high school from Bishop Miege in Roeland Park, Kansas in 1975 then quickly earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture from Kansas State University. John began his career in 1979 as an agronomist at North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center (CREC). After completion of a PhD in Crop Physiology at the University of Nebraska, he returned as the Director of CREC. His research on crambe seed led to his co-founding and role as CEO of AgGrow Oils, a North Dakota LLC that integrated the production, processing and marketing of oilseeds.

John believed deeply in education, particularly the mission of land-grant universities, and was dedicated to his work at North Dakota State University, the University of Missouri (1999-2007), Bainbridge Graduate Institute (2011-2014) and Washington State University (2007-2011, 2014-2017). His research interests continued as Industry Liaison for the Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment. Before he retired in May 2017, he last served as Vice President for Development and CEO of the Washington State University Foundation.

John steadfastly served and loved his family, his community and the land. The restoration of the Putnam House, a rural cultural and community center in Carrington, was a labor of John and Julie’s love. John enjoyed listening to music, singing, and playing guitar at church and home. He embarked on long runs and walks, read countless books and newspapers, applauded the theater, drank black coffee every afternoon, appreciated a glass of good red wine, laughed often especially when watching SNL skits, and retraced the entire trail of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

In 2014, John was diagnosed with bile duct cancer and was fortunate to receive care from a dedicated healthcare team in Seattle. On the night before John’s surgery in 2014, John and Julie vowed to dance every night, which they did for the remainder of John’s life on earth. Peace is Flowing Like a River was their last dance.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made online to the John and Julie Gardner Food for Health Fellowship at Washington State University or to Bloedel Reserve for the Strolls for Well-Being program.

A memorial service for John Gardner will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 11, at Grace Episcopal Church, 8595 NE Day Road, on Bainbridge Island. All are welcome.  

If you want to write Julie or the family, you can use this address: 610 NE Vineyard Lane A-301, Bainbridge Island, Washington 98110.

John was not only our leader as dean and provost, he was an inspiring mentor and change agent, and an incredibly bright and impactful member of our community. His light, love, and laughter will be missed.

Highlights from the 2018 Pinchot Alumni Conference + Gathering

Think you missed this summer’s Pinchot Alumni Conference? We missed you more!

If you were unable to attend the 2018 Pinchot Alumni Conference + Gathering in Seattle last month, by now you know you don’t want to miss the next one!

With assorted guests and drop-ins for happy hour, opening and/or closing circle, we welcomed nearly 100 community members at The Collective Seattle to co-create life-affirming memories during the weekend event. The collective (pun intended) energy from the whole generated transformative experiences for all.

The weekend was ripe with opportunities. We discussed tangible strategies to create deep democracy in an effort to affect positive change in the world. Some moments inspired introspective awareness and self-inquiry about what we need individually, what we contribute and how we can maintain our capacity to be change agents. The overriding consensus? The weekend successfully supported hearts and minds. With a mindfully-crafted, relaxed schedule there was ample time for socializing and reconnecting.

The weekend featured several high-impact speakers and great conversations in smaller groups. Here’s what some community members had to say:

“Saturday was a delight for my mind and personal growth, Sunday was about deeply connecting with other alumni”

– Ram Hariharan (C8)

“It’s been years since I plugged into the BGI/Pinchot community. Too long. The alumni conference was fuel in my dwindling tank of hope. Seeing old classmates, meeting new people, talking about big problems and ways we can tackle them was an empowering reminder that I am not soldiering on through this crazy world alone. Can’t wait for the next one!”

– Caitlin Shrigley (C12)

More than once we heard, “why don’t I connect with this incredible network more often?” Based on anecdotal feedback, the prevailing sentiment was to hold these gatherings more often – not only in Seattle but wherever two or more community members can gather and recharge, and also virtually so that alums can participate from anywhere technology allows!

We were graciously hosted at The Collective by Alex Mondau (C9 & Co-founder of The Collective) and we can honestly say that this rivaled any experience at Islandwood. Thank you Alex! We hope to host many future Alumni gatherings here so make sure not to miss our next Seattle event!

Special thanks also to our lovely speakers: Simon Goland, Paul Horton, and Libba Pinchot. Thanks also to  Justice Calo Reign (C12), who led a reimagined, powerful closing circle. And additional thanks to Edouard Stenger (C13) for capturing our time together through his photography talents. And of course, thank you to all of the attendees who showed up, and to those of you who contributed recurring or one-time gifts that will support the foundation and future of our independent Alumni Association!

We look forward to seeing you at a future alumni gathering!

Got some news?!

Do you have news you’d like to share with the Pinchot Alumni community? Perhaps an event you’d like to host or highlight? Let us know! Email and we’ll share your event or announcement.