May 21st, 2019
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Sirti Bestows Award of Honor
October 21, 2010. Billie Moreland, PhD, of Billie Moreland and Associates and Steve Simmons, PhD, E...

Triangle %u201CGraduates%u201D at Sweet Sixteen
The Idea (1994)
In June 1994, while on a layover in the San Francisco airport, Dr. Steve Simmons cam...

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06/15/2005 - EWU’s Jordan Leaves Mark on Triangle

When EWU’s outgoing President, Dr Stephen Jordan takes over the helm at Metropolitan State College July 1, keep watch --- within a year, a “Digital Denver” or a “Mile-High Metro-Megabyte” may pop up. That is because Jordan, from the start of his presidency in 1998, has been an aficionado, avid promoter, and activist supporter of Spokane’s Terabyte Triangle --- and for regional connectivity in general. Although the 230% increase in on-campus student enrollment at EWU during Jordan’s administration is now well known, few are aware that EWU’s broadband connectivity increased 16,600% during that same period! This was a direct result of Jordan’s initial interest in the Terabyte Triangle, and the EWU faculty involved in its development and operation.

On arrival at EWU, Jordan quickly cataloged its major problems --- and discovered that, along with a lackluster image and commuter-dominated student body --- EWU’s physical isolation was a serious problem. The isolation hurt faculty and student research as well as the flow of ideas into the campus. According to Steve Simmons, Triangle founder and EWU professor, “I was not very surprised that Steve Jordan attended each and every student game and cultural event, but I was really surprised that he came to absolutely all Terabyte Triangle public reports and regional connectivity rallies.” As a result, Simmons continues, “When, at a Cisco-sponsored conference in fall of 1999, I proposed uniting all the regions universities and colleges via gigabit Ethernet to form a ‘digital university’, Jordan was quick to respond.” After the WSU Spokane leader attending the event pooh-poohed the idea, Jordan spoke up with characteristic force, stating “That is exactly what my faculty has been asking for!”

Following the Cisco gathering, Jordan used his leadership skills and experience to promote the idea on the EWU campus, helping Simmons and EWU Chief Information Officer Patricia Kelley communicate the idea and its overall plan to the higher ups. As a result, plans for a regional gigabit Ethernet based “Inland Northwest Digital University (INDU),” including member universities from Cheney to Spokane to Pullman and Coeur d’Alene, was approved by EWU’s Trustees in December, 2001.

Building on this momentum within EWU, Jordan became a key participant, with Scott Morris of Avista Corp, in developing the founding vision for the Virtual Possibilities Network (VPnet). Since that time, VPnet has become a world leading gigabit metropolitan area network (MAN), utilizing over 200 miles of donated dark fiber to unite 15 universities, companies and organizations for collaboration, education, innovation, and incubation. VPnet’s hub is based in the Triangle, and, thanks to Jordan’s continuing efforts, generous donations to EWU by Avista Corp, and Columbia Fiber Solutions, and a partnership with the City of Cheney, fiber optic cable was finally brought to EWU in 2004, expanding connectivity far beyond the previous dependence on T1 lines. EWU had achieved a gigabit connection to the Triangle and the world beyond.

Jordan is also credited with crucial leadership in establishing EWU’s current cyber security program. Jordan worked with former Congressman George Nethercutt to obtain congressional funding in excess of $1.5 million to support the launch of the program, with state-of-the-art lab equipment, within EWU’s new School of Computing and Engineering Sciences. The program was a Jordan-designated “top campus priority."

Jordan is perhaps best known as an indefatigable public advocate of EWU’s programs and quality. This past academic year, EWU was title sponsor of Seattle’s Washington State Technology summit, where Jordan spoke up enthusiastically, chronicling EWU’s cyber security programs, new electrical engineering program, and new fiber-based gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

» News Archive

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