In Memoriam – Wings Spring 2024

In Memoriam – Wings Spring 2024

Ed Rousculp

Heritage lost a beloved fixture to the campus community in January when Professor Emeritus of Education Edwin Rousculp passed away.

Rousculp was a Vietnam-era veteran who served four years in the Air Force before he entered college at Wright State University in Ohio. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education and Teaching, and taught middle school in Carlton, Ohio, before he and his wife, Susan, moved to the Yakima Valley. They settled in Toppenish, and he went to work at the Yakama Nation Tribal School.

His tenure at Heritage began in 1983 when he started teaching English in the evenings as an adjunct instructor while still teaching at the Tribal School. He took a brief hiatus from the university when he moved to Pullman, Washington to pursue his graduate studies at Washington State University (WSU). In 1993, he returned to Heritage as a full-time faculty member in the College of Education. Later that year, he was appointed Chair of the Teacher Education Program. He continued to serve in that role until 2005 when he transitioned into the position of Director of the Center for Intercultural Learning and Teaching, where he remained until his retirement in 2022.

“Ed’s commitment to education, unwavering support for our students, and positive impact on colleagues resonate deeply within our hearts. He embodied kindness, patience, generosity, and gentleness, qualities that made him not only an exceptional colleague but a true friend to many,” said Dr. Andrew Sund, Heritage University president. “We are collectively mourning the loss of a remarkable individual. His dedication and passion for Heritage University’s mission have forged a legacy that will endure for years to come.”

Ted Strong

Former Heritage University board member and Yakama Nation tribal elder Taninsh Ted Strong died on January 30. He was 76.

Strong served on the Heritage board from 2003 to 2012 and was a member of the Executive Committee and the Tribal Relations Committee. In 2022, he was among the Heritage’s Honoring Our Elders award recipients.

In addition to his Heritage service, Strong was a leader among the Yakama Nation and an advocate for treaty rights, salmon recovery, water rights and environmental management. He served as the executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, was a chief judge for the Yakama Nation Tribal Courts, and was director of the Yakama Housing Authority. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility for Yakima Chief Hops.


Virginia Beavert

A renowned linguist, author and educator, Dr. Virginia Beavert Tuxámshish passed away in February at the age of 102.

Beavert dedicated her life to revitalizing and preserving indigenous languages, particularly Ichishkiin, also called Sahaptin, which is the traditional language of the Yakama people. She was one of the first instructors in Heritage University’s Ichishkiin language program and was instrumental in building the program into what it is today. In addition, she was the co-author of the Ichishkíin Sínwit Yakama / Yakima Sahaptin Dictionary and author of The Gift of Knowledge/Ttnúwit Átawish Nch’inch’imamí: Reflections on Sahaptin Ways.

In 2015, Beavert was recognized by Heritage as one of the first four recipients of the Honoring Our Elders award.

“Her wisdom, passion, and commitment were instrumental in fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for the rich linguistic diversity that is an integral part of Native American heritage,” said President Sund.