President Frisch and Vi Tasler

Message from the President – November 2017

Finishing is in our DNA at City University of Seattle. It has been from the beginning, and you need look no further than founding member Vi Tasler for evidence.

Tasler, a successful businesswoman, helped found our university nearly fifty years ago, and over her years of association served as interim president, chair of the Board of Governors, director of human resources, and spearheaded investment in and growth of our library system. Throughout her tenure she was focused on one ultimate goal: finding creative ways to meet the needs of students.

I recently met with Tasler, and she told me about the early days of the university. As a cofounder of Pacific Electrodynamics, she created an advisory committee of local business leaders to lobby area universities to create pathways for her employees and other working adults to finish their degrees.

“We were trying to arrange night classes for people who needed to complete their degrees, and we couldn’t get anyone to agree,” Tasler said. “They said if people needed to come back to school, they needed to do it from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday when classes were offered. So we started City College in 1973 as a way to offer for-credit classes for working adults at night. It wasn’t being done at the time. [We created City College] so students could get to the classes after work, rather than having to travel to the location of the instructors. The whole idea was opportunity and access.”

Watching the school grow and seeing her students succeed inspired her to keep pushing the university forward.

“My biggest thing every year was graduation,” Tasler said. “It was not only interesting, but daunting, to go from graduating nine students the first time, to hundreds after that. The students inspired me; the students having access to an education was something they couldn’t have had at that time in any other way. To have been part of that and to have worked with people to make that possible is very gratifying.”

Following in Vi Tasler’s legacy, CityU remains committed to finding innovative pathways and creative methods to help students finish. Our performance-based programs and challengeable courses in particular provide opportunities for today’s students to gain credit for their demonstrated expertise. By offering online, evening and weekend classes we continue to prioritize the needs of working professionals and provide ways for them to continue their educations without having to sacrifice their jobs.

Helping working adults succeed by helping them finish their degrees is not only what we do, it’s why we exist, and we do it very well. It is an honor to continue Vi and the other founders’ vision of opportunity and access. I hope you feel the same way.