After roughly 45 years, S.J. “Bill” Monro’s prized Cougar has a new home. The longtime San Francisco restaurateur donated the stuffed animal to the Washington State University chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity.
His wife, Barbara, discovered the specimen among a number of stuffed Northwest animals on auction in San Francisco nearly a half-century ago. She purchased the five-foot long, 300-pound cat as a gift for her husband. It has occupied a prominent spot in the “Cougar Room” of the family home.
“It should be a good conversation piece for the Sigma Nus,” he says.
The Monros returned to Pullman in late April with other members of the Class of ’43, which celebrated its 60th anniversary along with the “Golden Grads” of the Class of ’53.
For years WSU maintained a live Cougar in a pen near the northeast corner of Martin Stadium. In the early ’70s, Monro and other alumni spearheaded a drive to enlarge the cage. When “Butch VI,” last of the live Cougar mascots died in 1978, students voted to discontinue keeping a live Cougar animal. Since that time, human mascots dressed in a Cougar uniform have carried on the Cougar tradition.
Monro spent 50 years in the hotel and restaurant business-all in the Bay Area. He owned the Raphael Hotel, Pam Pam East Restaurant, and Rosebud’s English Pub.
He and Barbara are pictured in the front row. Other Sigma Nu alumni include Doug Wilcox, front row right, and Bob Smawley, next to him. They are joined by several current members.