A profile shot of a human face and a robot face nose to nose.

Facing the future

It’s no longer a sci-fi plot line; artificial intelligence is rapidly working its way into everyday life. Western’s AI experts explore how generative technology is opening up a new world of possibility as well as ethical concerns for our future.

From the President

  • Dear friends and colleagues,

With the rapid release of artificial intelligence tools in recent months, the ethical implications of products like ChatGPT, Google’s Bard and other communication tools are coming into question. Will artificial intelligence expand the opportunities for or improve the efficiency of the way we communicate? How can we harness this tool to improve our world when there are so few regulations to monitor its use or prevent abuse?

Artificial intelligence and humanity can fit hand-in-glove when there’s a balance of one helping the other improve. At Western, we’re extensively researching these tools to see how they can be best utilized in higher education to encourage our students to achieve a higher level of critical thinking and improve their communication skills.

President Edward Montgomery stands at the podium during commencement.Some of us have lived long enough to remember the ethical debate about permitting the use of hand-held calculators in classrooms in the late 1970s—the argument being that such an instrument would interrupt the learning of fundamentals or perhaps would promote cheating.

Today, calculators have become so commonplace that everyone takes their use for granted inside and outside of the classroom. The device became known as just a tool for students to use no different than a pencil or a microscope. It is seldom seen as a device for cheating. Fast forward 50 years: Will ChatGPT and other AI platforms be a 
new “calculator?”

Broncos are built to be curious and to want to share that thirst for knowledge with the world, and new technology can help them do that. Take first-year environmental sustainability student and Finch Greenhouse caretaker Jacob Soule. Now with 27 million likes and a million followers on TikTok, he’s imparting green-thumb knowledge to novice gardeners around the world.

Meanwhile, the financial expertise of Dr. Onur Arugaslan, professor of finance and co-director of the Sanford Center for Financial Planning and Wellness, is sought after as rising prices grip Americans and beyond and the importance of planning for retirement becomes even more critical. A Bankrate survey finds more than half of Americans say they are behind on retirement savings, making this a most worthwhile discussion.

Forget about inflation, it’s our graduates in the College of Aviation who are really soaring. Alumnus Steve Denomme has built a storied career as a captain for Delta Airlines. First beginning his time in the industry pulling planes in and out of the hangar at the college, he’s propelled himself through industry-rattling moments like 9/11, the recession, pandemic—even the blackout of 2003. Through it all, he persevered using his knowledge and experiences in our top-ranked aviation program.

As society continues to adapt to change, the students, alumni, faculty and staff at Western are on the cutting edge of technological advancements and ideas to make this world a better place. While new technology can induce anxiety and even fear of change, it is new ideas, new knowledge that can offer opportunities for advancement and growth. You need both to thrive, and at Western, we will remain strong for years to come.


Edward Montgomery, PhD
A photo of race horse Mage running in the Kentucky Derby. Photo is courtesy Coady Photography. There is also an inset photo of Brian Doxtator and Chase Chamberlin hoisting a trophy.

Unbridled success

Western alumni Chase Chamberlin, BBA ‘12, and Brian Doxtator, BBA ‘04, are celebrating a big Kentucky Derby win with Mage. They went from business Broncos to Kentucky Derby dynamos with their creation of Commonwealth, an innovative investment group that revolutionized ownership by allowing fans to purchase shares of a horse.


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  • Jacob Soule in Finch Greenhouse.

    Known by his social handle @theplantprodigy, Jacob Soule started sharing his obsession with house plants on TikTok in 2020, posting videos about his own plants and answering people’s questions about how to properly care for theirs. Today, Soule’s plant-powered TikTok is one of the most beloved on social media, with nearly 27 million likes and one million followers.

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University News

Pilot Steve Denomme stands in the aisle of an airplane.

Alumni Profile

I would not be where I am today without Western and its mentors. I spread that message whenever and wherever I can.

Delta pilot Steve Denomme, BS '00

  • Expert Insights: Planning for the future

    Think you need millions for retirement? Maybe not, says Dr. Onur Arugaslan, professor of finance. “Thanks to the ‘power of compounding’ as we call it in finance, even humble deposits grow to significant amounts over a long investment horizon," he says.

    Get advice about retirement planning and fiscal fitness

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    I've reached the age when I can finally admit I'm getting older. It was time to figure out the kind of legacy I wanted to leave, and supporting students striving to help sustain natural wilderness areas just made sense.

    David Sluyter, MA '69, EdD '80

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WMU's football team runs out onto the field behind new coach Lance Taylor.

Spring in their step

The Broncos are ready for battle, led onto the field at Waldo Stadium for the annual Spring Showcase by new coach Lance Taylor.