Student Affairs News

Longtime Upward Bound Director to Retire

Department: Upward Bound


After helping more than 700 low-income and first generation students graduate from high school and enroll in college during her 13-year career at Washington State University, Gail Casper is ready to devote more time to things like fishing and her family.

The director of two Upward Bound programs serving Okanogan County, Casper is retiring this month. A reception in her honor will take place Tuesday, June 13, at 3 p.m. in the Honors Lounge of WSU’s Honors Hall.

Lucila Loera, assistant vice president for Access, Equity and Achievement, said Casper’s strong leadership, ability to collaborate and form solid relationships with people in the communities will be greatly missed.

“Gail is respected by people across the campus for her professionalism, dedication, and deep understanding of the issues faced by low-income and first generation college students,” she said.

Upward Bound is one of a family of TRIO programs funded by the United States Department of Education to help students prepare for and succeed in post-secondary education.  Upward Bound works with students who are low income, or who would potentially be the first in their family to earn a four-year college degree.

WSU Upward Bound in Okanogan County enrolled the first student in April 2004 and serves 52 students each year from Omak and Okanogan high schools and 60 students from Tonasket and Oroville high schools.

Casper graduated from Gonzaga University in Education and Theology, Seattle Central Community College in Cabinetry, and Cornish in Fine Art and Design. Before Upward Bound, she taught high school, ran a remodeling business, was a grant-writer and delivered bagels!