As anniversaries go, I suppose a mere decade is not so big a deal, even for a magazine. Many magazines, after all, have lived much longer. Atlantic Monthly’s 154 years aside, even here at Washington State University, Washington State Magazine is a relative youngster. Pow Wow, Washington State College’s first magazine for alumni, debuted in 1910 and ran until 1969, when it was replaced by HillTopics.
Along the way, Pow Wow, to which I last referred a few issues ago, reflected the life of a nascent college. Drawing on the dramatic events of the young twentieth century, dispatches from Washington State College’s few alumni and faculty documented the Mexican and Bolshevik revolutions, the Great War, and other unfolding dramas around the world.
Along the way, lending appropriate perspective, the June 1936 cover of Pow Wow pictured the Lowell Elm, referring to it already as “a stately campus sentinel.” President and Mrs. Bryan had brought a seedling with them from Elmwood, near Harvard, the former home of James Russell Lowell, in 1893. That same year the Lowell Elm was noted, another cover marked the twentieth anniversary of E.O. Holland’s presidency.
Though the Bryans and Holland endure through their legacy, the Lowell Elm remains a very physical presence. A few years ago, worries about its fate led to propagation of a clonal offspring, but it continues as a stately campus sentinel, unfazed by mere time.
Despite our mere decade, we look back on these past ten years with a bit of wonder at the number of stories we’ve been blessed to tell: of discovery, of people, of our history, of food and wine and cougars and microbes.
Over the past decade, many future Cougs have been born. A good many alumni have died. Nearly forty thousand students have received their undergraduate degrees. Another eight thousand received their graduate degrees. Our newest alumni readers were not yet teenagers when our first issue came off the press.
At the core of our mission is our attempt to explore and report on the roles WSU and its researchers, scholars, and alumni play in society, how we examine, weave, and mend the social fabric. This issue follows the lead of our first ten years, proffering advice on child-rearing from an ancient culture, re-examining Washington’s history and agriculture through eating, revealing nature through different ways of seeing, and surveying a 2,000-year-old philosophical conundrum.
Because of their periodicity, magazines can seem fleeting. WSM emerges every three months, supplanting the subjects of its previous issue in favor of the new and pressing. But if we’re doing this right, that flight is momentary, adding steadily to the layers of our collective story. We slowly become, as Pow Wow did, a magazine in its fundamental sense, a word that reaches back ultimately to the Arabic, makzan, makzin, a storehouse: of stories, of personalities, of ideas and insights and results.
Feeling pretty good about what we have stored so far in this past mere decade, we threw a party in October for those who have contributed to or been covered by WSM. To those of you who were able to join us, thank you again. And thank you also and especially to the WSU-related wineries for your contribution to the festivity. And thank you to Tukey Orchard for the apples and the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission for the delicious preview of our as-yet-unnamed WSU apple, code-named “WA5,” which added momentously to the good time had by all.
Tim Steury, Editor