“I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of … the history of the world of the past.” —Theodore Roosevelt, 1911
A hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of conservation came to fruition with the establishment of the National Park Service. Although President Woodrow Wilson established the NPS, Roosevelt had doubled the number of national parks and passed the Antiquities Act in 1906 when he was in the Oval Office. Roosevelt believed that we must have a deeper and longer-term view of our country’s natural and historical heritage.
In the spirit of Roosevelt’s aims, former chief historian for the NPS and WSU alumnus, Robert Sutton, tells the story of America to help us interpret our past and better understand who we are, as you’ll read in this issue.
At our University, new President Kirk H. Schulz brings his experience and knowledge to lead WSU into future success, with an eye on the land-grant legacy of accessibility and service. But it’s not just him; we all play a part in advancing and improving research and education. William Stimson ’99 PhD, in his essay on citizenship in the 1920s, reminds us that students have worked to better WSU since its early days.
Today, our researchers at WSU’s Cook Farm have a 30-plus-year plan to understand long-term impact and changes in agriculture. Along with colleagues around the country, they’ll help farmers and others better understand and cope with drought or other environmental changes.
On a personal level, we also often need time to overcome adversity. As a heroin epidemic sweeps the country, Matt Layton, from the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and other WSU researchers help addicts recover, knowing that it’s not a quick or easy process. They also build on scientific understanding of the drug and the neuroscience behind addiction.
Real solutions to problems usually require time and vision, one reason why “conservationist president” Roosevelt fought so hard to preserve the nation’s natural wonders and historic places. His concern emerged from experience on the ground that, like WSU’s efforts, kept his eyes ahead to the interests of posterity and shared benefit.