The Winners

When we asked for your memories of Washington State in 100 words or less, we had no idea we’d get such a flood of compelling stories. It wasn’t easy to choose winners from the dozens of entries, but the magazine staff and colleagues who evaluated the stories picked three that really spoke to us. They’ll get Cougar Gold or a WSU cap for their efforts.

Here are the winners:


Nothing is certain except death, taxes, and Pullman Transit. One winter morning, I was waiting alone at the bus stop near Cougar Crest Apartments. Heavy snowfall the night before. A thick mist in the air like limp gauze. I observed a tall figure plodding along. It was a moose. It walked up to me, now inches away, the two of us separated by a flimsy sheet of plexiglass. Its antlers like wings off a cracked archangel. Life before my eyes. A bus rumbled up Merman Drive and frightened the moose away. The bus screeched to a halt. Right on time.

Andy Orr ’08 MA English


Pullman’s western sky was a bright orange. The fire engines screamed. We Sigma Kappa sisters leaned out our second floor windows, desperate for news. In the 50s, doors were locked at 10:30 p.m. on weeknights. There were no cell phones. The neighboring Phi Delts were down where the action was. Finally a car slowed as it passed by and we sisters shouted pleas for information. The Pullman Lumber Company on Grand Avenue was ablaze. All we house-bound girls could do was watch the sky.

Jan Purcell Maguire ’55 Comm.


Wilmer Hall. Before this day, it existed for me in the pages of the ’58 Chinook in our hall closet at home. And of course it came to life in the stories my mother told: of formal dinners where one’s manners mattered, of courtyard serenades, of gentleman callers received in the parlor.

Wilmer Hall this day became real. Moving into a room at the top, we passed that parlor, the formal living room, a small booth where guests had been received. I couldn’t help but see it all through my mother’s eyes. Full circle, both in tears, we were home.

Lisa Lasswell ’86 Nursing


Thank you to all the Cougs who sent in such wonderful memories. Read all of the stories below.


Where were you when the mountain blew May 18, 1980? I was on a Lake Coeur d’Alene cruise with my AOII sorority sisters. It was a sunny day, but by mid-afternoon, the sun turned a hazy blue, the sky turned dark, then ash started to fall like a grey snowfall. Once back on campus, masks were issued to protect our lungs from the small glass ash particles. Students were given the option to leave school and take the grades they had or stay and take finals. I was part of a small population that stayed behind to finish the semester.

Debbra Carlson ’81 Busi.

I did not want to be a teacher. My father and older brother were teachers. So when my first semester grades were poor, I asked WSU Men’s Swim Coach, Doug Gibb, “What do I do now?” He said, “Take Ed 101 and Ed 102.” Remember, I didn’t want to be a teacher. But I did agree.

When my grades improved, I asked him again, “What do I do now?” His answer was similar, “Take Ed 201 and Ed 202.

After forty three years of public school and community college teaching, I realized that Coach Gibb saw something in me that I could not see in myself. Thank you, Coach Gibb!

William Streeter ’65 Ed.

As student YMCA president in 1953, I was faced with the continual need to raise money.   When we were offered the chance to do an album of “Songs of WSC”, I was thrilled.  The first decision was whether to produce the album on 78s or 45s.  In my great wisdom (and eternal chagrin), I said “obviously, we should produce them on 78s because everyone has a 78 record player…very few have ones which will play the new 45s.”  Three months later when they arrived, nearly everyone had bought a new fangled 45 player and we were stuck with hundreds of beautiful, but unsalable, 78 records.  I think a few boxes of them are still gathering dust in some closet on campus.

Bob Hanson ’53 Ed.

‘Wazzu stream of consciousness’:  genius professors, cramming for exams, awesomely competitive intramural program, supply shopping at the Bookie, amazing friendships, Crimson and Gray football Saturdays, Reaney Park Lentil Festival, gorgeous rolling wheatfields, the ominous Murrow building, trips to Moscow and Lewiston, Bryan Tower chimes, spectacular sunsets, Butch, “Hello Walk”, Rotunda cafeteria, super memorable first roommate, Pizza Pipeline, Greek Row, The Dunes weekends, Nuggets beating SuperSonics on graduation day, stellar Honors Program, beautiful Palouse Falls, Seattle to Vantage to Washtucna to Pullman drive, resourceful Holland Library, pinball and bowling at the C.U.B., Bledsoe to Bobo Snow Bowl, best 4.5 years ever!

Steve Goodman ’94 English

In the fall of 1997, WSU Football defied expectations with a 4-0 start. That led to an epic road trip I took with five other freshmen from Stephenson Hall. We squeezed into a compact truck with a canopy, left Pullman at 1 a.m., and drove through the night. Destination: Eugene, Oregon, where we saw the Cougars vanquish the Ducks. On the way back, a flat tire forced us to drive 30 mph with a spare for several hours in torrential rain. The Cougs went on to reach the Rose Bowl for the first time in 67 years. I flew there.

Will Martin ’01 Comm.

I was Head Resident of Stimson Hall 1964-66 while beginning work on my doctorate. My wife, Elaine, had played high school basketball in Sunray, Texas. She would challenge the residents to a game of HORSE on the courtyard. None could beat her. Not a man alive who could make a two-handed set shot from top of the key!

Bob Kinney ’70 EdD

Krispy Kreme has nothing on Daylight Donuts!  The trek to Daylight Donuts was a ritual that happened several nights a week while at WSU.  If you were anywhere on or near campus, the aroma of fresh donuts being made at midnight made it impossible to ignore.  We would convince ourselves that if we “jogged” down, the calories wouldn’t matter!  Then with bag of donuts in hand, we’d slowly make our way back up the hill savoring every last bite. I’m quite sure Daylight Donuts played a significant role in my “freshman 15” weight gain, but it was worth every pound!

Sammi Jo Thielen (Piha) ’82 Ed.

Palouse Tear Drops

I close my eyes and see my mother’s tears as I leave the warmth and safety of my home to start a new chapter in my life that August day. I arrive in the Palouse and so do new friends, including Kim, the love of my life. We marry to my mother’s tears of joy. After more than 30 years together we and our 5 children shed tears as she leaves us. I open my eyes to tears of joy when I look ahead to our daughter’s marriage August next year.

Gary Grotz ’78 Poli. Sci.

My roomates and I partied Saturday night, and awoke Sunday to the realization we might not make the Spokane Bloomsday run in May 1983.  We dearly wanted to take part, so hungover and sore, raced from Pullman to the starting line in downtown Spokane in unlawful time. While not in the best physical condition, we completed the run and gained a life story.

24 years later, after Navy, family, career and life progressions, I nostalgically returned to Bloomsday 2007.  I’ve participated every year since, and always tell the story of my first fateful run that spring in May 1983.

Rod Gross ’84

It was a sunny and warm day in September 1971 when my grandpa’s overloaded Ford Falcon Ranchero limped into the Coman Hall unloading zone. I was dropping my friend from Quincy off at her first-year dormitory. Two Comanites helped Barb unload her possessions.  I remember one as especially bright, bubbly, friendly and cute. Me, too shy to utter anything other than “Thanks”. Serendipitously we later went out on a blind date. Two years later we married and this year we celebrate our 45th. Not bad for a shy farm boy; I married the first person I met at WSU.

Bob Thayer ’75, ’76 MA Ag. Econ.

We were walking along Stadium Way, my then-three-year-old son and I, while my husband attended an Ag teachers conference. We toured the Connor Museum, looked at the football stadium, saw Stimson Hall, where Grandpa Wetzel lived in 1929 and “the Nunnery” where I’d lived. We talked about going to college when he grew up. He was silent a moment, then asked, “Where do the mommies and daddies live?” “They stay at home,” I said. “Well, I’m not going to college then!” he cried. I told him someday he’d feel differently – He transfers to WSU in the fall.

Kelly Dietz-Wetzel ’85 Comm.

Driving solo on my first day of independence.

Longview to Portland, then the magnificent gorge.

A return to Washington at the Tri-Cities. The final miles feature rolling hills, wheat fields and small towns. A billboard near the finish says Three Dog Night will perform. I smile.

Finally, the final crest of a long climb. A tall tower appears in the distance with a clock tinted red. The numerous buildings look out-of-place in the vast landscape.

Dependence is in the rear-view mirror. Independence lies ahead. I’m going to like this place.

Mike Quigley ’76 Comm.

On a beautiful Sunday in May, Duncan Dunn freshman hung out on the sun deck, sunbathing. After a few hours, many of us tired from the weekend festivities decided to go to our rooms for a nap before dining hall dinner. I was startled awake by noises outside my door. I looked at my clock radio and it stated 4:10 and was completely dark! Thinking “man I slept a long time”, I ventured out to hear that St. Helens had erupted and it was “snowing” ash. That night walking in ash to end of the world parties was surreal.

Teresa Shoemake Sarsted ’84 Ed.

A young, good-looking Senator had arrived in Pullman to speak to the students before the Presidential election.

The room was filled with excitement since it was John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  I got onto the stage with other students; standing behind him while he spoke.  After the speech JFK turned and came toward us.   He briefly shook our outstretched hands but on my open English literature book he scrawled “Kennedy” then was whisked off the stage by Secret Service agents.  After my momentary historic encounter with JFK, I voted for Richard Nixon and saved President Kennedy’s signature!

Kristin Mikalson Mangino ’61 Psych.

I don’t know how it is today, but in the mid-60s many of the concrete walkways on campus were kept clear of winter snow and ice by subterranean passages beneath them that held utilities and steam pipes. Four mischievous friends stole into these passages one night and wandered underground for blocks until emerging in the basement of an athletics building (was it Boehler Gym?) to discover a swimming pool. Skinny dipping in total darkness was memorable (and probably unwise).

John C. Phillips ’67 Agro.

It was my junior year and I had an early morning lab (which all labs seemed to be). It was late winter/early spring. I bundled up as I left to go to my lab class. It was cold and icy. After spending three hours in the lab class, we all walked out in our winter coats and boots. Low and behold, it was sunny and warm with everyone outside in shorts and tank tops. Don’t know who looked more surprised, us or them. Ah, the life in Pullman. It is a Coug thing.

Garry Curtiss ’76 Comm.

I was urgently shaken awake one Sunday morning by my roommate from Hawaii. “Wake up!  Wake up!” she yelled. “I am not sure what it is, but it looks like there’re a million white bugs out there!”  Coming from the tropics myself, I have never seen snow falling either. That magical morning, we both sat at the window for hours just watching in awe of the first snow coming down.  We marveled at how quickly the snow turned the campus into a winter wonderland, and until that morning, we have only both seen in our imagination.

Maureen Chan-Hefflin ’88 Comm.

My father, husband, and older son all lived in Waller Hall. A lovely old building, it used to have the most beautiful formal room on campus. There, on the evening of October 31, 1971, the men of Waller held what turned out to be their last fireside. It was poorly attended, no one sang, and everyone but Doug and I left early. As we sat alone in front of the dying fire, large snowflakes began to drift past the windows. He turned to me and said, “Do you think we should talk about getting married?” “Yes,” I answered softly.

Kathryn Evers Meyer ’82, ’87 MA, ’92 PhD History

It was finals week in Pullman of my Senior Year – circa May 1996. I was taking a final exam for Computer Science 395. A higher level course with challenging content? That’s what you take your senior year. What was the final exam? We met in a lab where the professor walked around to each of our workstations and we demonstrated to her how to navigate to a website. I chose Netscape and showed her my horoscope. True story. Back in the Pullman days of no internet, no Taco Bell and no Walmart. Those were the days.

Heather Scukanec ’96 Soc. Sci.

Duke Ellington and his orchestra came to campus on May 3, 1954.  As a WSC Daily Evergreen staff member, I volunteered or was assigned to interview him.  Clad in boxer shorts, he opened the door of his fourth floor CUB hotel room when I knocked.  He remained in his shorts throughout the generous interview.  He was of course in slacks by the time of that night’s concert, of which I have no recollection.  I remember only the boxer shorts.

Tom Heuterman ’56 English, ’73 PhD Amer. St.

The word spread like lightning.  St. Helens had erupted.  I sat on the roof of my apartment gazing westward.  A wall of darkness moved steadily toward us.  It grew quiet.  The birds and animals settled down.  Total silence.  It was noon.  Snowing.  It was May.  It was eighty degrees. The ashflakes were giant and gray.  Soon the dark was in totality.  It was thrilling.  This was history.

I spent that day and night and the next with friends and fellow students.  We drank, we laughed, we marveled at the sight.

We had survived St. Helens. The memory will survive me.

Kevin Arthur Penrod ’81 Comm.

It was a snowy winter night at the Holland Library studying, so I took a break and walked to the empty and quiet Cougar football field, covered with snow and felt relaxing silence.

Under the shine of the moon I looked up and thanked destiny, offering my thanks as I looked up at the bright moon above, for my experience, education, and my WSU friends, which I knew would have a lifelong impact.

And it has. Beyond measure.

Here in Seattle if you see a fellow Coug with a WSU sweatshirt or T shirt on, in passing, it’s always a healthy shout out with a return shout of:

“Go Cougs!”

Laure Jausoro ’79 Crim. Jus.

On Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, I was doing some research in the WSU Library. Early in the afternoon the staff kicked us out because Mt. St. Helens had erupted and ash was heading our way. When I went outside it seemed like evening, with an orange sky. Pretty soon the ash started falling and it got dark. Classes were cancelled on Monday and Pullman ran out of beer and chips since the only thing any of us could do was party. I had a group of friends come to my apartment for a “make your own taco” potluck meal.

Diane Nafis ’81 MA Home Econ.

Midway through my seventh semester, I was only two credits short of the 120 needed for graduation. So I went to my advisor, Dr. Walford Petersen, and offered to write a paper on that year’s debate topic for two credits under 499. He noted that the time to register had passed, but if I could get the registrar to agree, he would grant the credits. When I returned with the registrar’s agreement, He said, “well, it’s time for you to leave, you’ve learned to work the system, and there is nothing more we can teach you”.

Andy Riches ’70 Poli. Sci.

In the 80’s Pullman was paradise for Doc, Maestro, Billy Lee and Iz. These four grad students formed a lifelong bond. Eighteen mile runs through the surrounding campus on zero degree morns, pick-up hoop games a couple days a week, running the stadium steps, lifting free weights at the athletic center, flag football and taking top-of-the-line courses together. The words are a plenty to describe the impact the Palouse country had on all of us. Careers come and go, but iron clad relations stand the test of time. Once a Coug, always a Coug. Thanks WSU and go Cougars.

Billy Sammons ’86, ’91 Psych.

My Goldsworthy roommate suggested coming with him to “the classical listening lounge” as a way to help me study. I preferred rock-n-roll (late 1960s style), but I was desperate. Lounge visitors submitted requests to the person running the booth, meanwhile listening to earlier requests from other “loungers.” My roommate requested Ravel’s Bolero, which begins in a quiet, measured pace, then gradually rises to an insistent, pounding cadence. Afterwards, I always requested Bolero, fascinated with the effect on readers. By the end, feet were tapping or swinging to the beat. Fun to watch, but not very conducive to my study habits!

Rich Erickson ’69 Hum.

The long trudge home from my late shift at Rosauer’s supermarket (north end, Stadium Way) followed the railroad past the lentil elevators into town. One cold night, well below zero, light from a switch engine behind me lit the rails ahead of me. I stepped aside to let the beast go by, but it stopped. The engineer leaned out and asked if I wanted a ride. Sure! As I thawed out inside the warm, snug cab, we chatted amiably and shared his coffee. He let me off downtown, and I continued home, warmed by the engine and Pullman hospitality.

Rich Erickson ’69 Hum.

As three female seniors in 1963, two 2am nights were allowed. In May, prior to graduation we had one left. Knowing friends had gone to the Blue Bucket in Moscow, we set out to join them. Walking along the highway, a policeman approached and we shared our plans. He said “you young women are wards of the state and I’m responsible for you.  You can’t walk to Idaho. But, if I patrol eight miles east you would be at the border, so hop in.” He dropped us at the state line, and we found our friends at the Blue Bucket.

Loralee Mae Bloom (formerly Lori Johnson ’63 Busi.)

I was raised in a college town; my father, Jim Long was a PhD, and mother—one of two women—graduated in pharmacy in 1958. As a freshman at WSU in 1978 I too was college bound, heading for a career as a physical therapist. I was shocked when a man asked me if I was at Wazzu to get my M.R.S. degree; I said “What?” He repeated himself; again I said, “What!?!” Only after the third time did I understand, he was asking if I was going to college to find a husband.  I’ve never been so outraged!!

Doranne Long, PT, MS

Now called “The Silent Generation”, then we were simply freshmen in an English class. I had been receiving mostly B’s on submitted assignments. This day the professor was regaling us that our generation lacked any desire to vary from societal norms or have the passion to challenge conventional wisdom. His rant completed, I raised my hand.

“Dr. XXX, do you wear a jacket and tie to class because you like wearing them, or because all of the other professors wear them?”

The silence in the room was deafening!

Following his muted admission, I finished the course with an “A”!

Robert Grossman ’59 Arch. Eng.

Dr. Glenn Terrell, WSU President.

I arrived in Pullman to start my graduate work with my wife Beatriz and our three children. Money was tight and Beatriz wanted to work. She knocked on many doors and she went to see president Glenn Terrell. He received her and Beatriz said I want to work. Dr. Terrell then gave her some names to talk to. Within days Beatriz was working in the dining hall of one of the dorms. Remarkable help from a remarkable caring, compassionate person. That was the kind of person Dr. Terrell was!

Dr. Ricardo Menendez ’85 PhD Hort.

WSU Dec ’07

Surreptitiously watching out the window as I chat with a friend over breakfast at Regents. 8:55 and there he is! Hastily I say goodbye, toss the tray into the dishline, dart down the hallway, then saunter out the door to ’casually’ bump into him. Our paths to class diverge at the Stairs of Doom, but those few sweet moments are the highlights of my M-W-F days. Years later my husband confesses—he schemed to ’accidentally’ bump into me too!

Bethany (Aasen) Doak ’07 Hosp. Busi. Mgmt.

“There’s a fire at the back of the bus!” hollered a student on our field trip to the Snake River dams. There were 20 of us new graduate students, 10 each from WSU and UI, with lead professors of the Institute for Resource Management, and our celebrity benefactor, Robert Redford. On this trip, each student would have five minutes to individually share with “Bob” what we intended to do with our master’s degree. My turn had just started when we heard the alarm. Bob jumped to action, unlatching the emergency exit and helping everyone safely off the bus. No time to impress my teenage idol, but forever grateful for his financial support and the excellent graduate education I received at WSU.

The Institute for Resource Management was founded by Robert Redford and supported 20 graduate students at WSU and UI from 1982-84.

Stephanie Burchfield ’85 MS Env. St.

Graduated from WSU in 1970 in police science and administration. Shortly thereafter, I went to work as a policeman for the university. One day when classes were just getting out, my cop partner and I were driving our marked patrol car by Bohler Gym and the song “Tall Cool Woman” came on the radio. Well, we immediately began to play it over our PA system and so many students just stopped, waved and cheered that it became somewhat of a tradition. I’m not sure how many times we did it from then on, but it was always a hit.

Rene Adams ’70 Police Sci.

Palouse gastronomy provided a pleasant diversion when studies became too stifling. We imagined an initiation rite for incoming freshmen (never implemented) including an Old European Goulash for breakfast, an Atilano’s (Spokane) Atilano burrito for lunch, and a calzone from Sella’s for supper. Fond memories include sharing a Shotzy from Fazzari’s Finest (Clarkston) with Earth’s finest friends, fresh-caught grilled bass on a summer evening at Wawawai Park, National Lentil Festival stew, and a late-night home-cooked feast with a Syrian classmate during Ramadan. School of Food Science taste panels often intrigued; a cold scoop of Ferdinand’s ice cream made the perfect finish.

Paul Froese ’12 Ag. Biotech., ’14 MS Crop Sci.

Even though I played on my high school tennis team for three years, my parents never got to see me play a match because they worked. In the spring of 1967, however, that finally changed. I made the WSU freshman tennis team that year, and when my mom came over for Mother’s Weekend she finally got to see me play. It was the only time she ever got to do so. I can still picture her in my mind, proud and smiling, sitting courtside on the small set of bleachers. A happy memory that has meant more than any win.

John R. Hastings ’70 Math., ’73 MBA

Fall in the Palouse. Blue skies cluttered with white clouds. Crinkly orange and brown leaves underfoot. Apple Cup weekend. Our Cougar players and band on the bus to Seattle.

I walked to Arts Hall where I spent most of my time on campus. Loved the smell of Linseed oil that permeated the walls. Reaching the entrance several students came bursting out of the Communications center. “He’s been shot”. Numb. We watched the rest of the news come in on the tickertape. “He’s gone”. The day ended.

Lyndal Kennedy ’64 Fine Arts

My memories of WSU center on the aromas. In late summer the farmers burned off their wheat fields so the aroma greeting the returning students was smoke for the first two weeks. The Chemistry Building was a cornucopia of odors depending on the lab and that week’s product being produced. The Fine Arts Building smelled of turpentine. The Communications Building had the aroma of rubber cement for some reason. The Psychology Lab had the pleasant aroma of pine wood chips. The Anatomy Lab had the stench of fixative. But the library had the wonderful odor of paper.

Rick Davis ’73 PhD Comp. Sci.

Moving our oldest in for her WSU freshman year was emotional. Gina and I relived memories of when we first met here, fell in love, then got married before our senior year. Now our daughter was ready to start creating her own memories.

We got her moved in, told her we loved her, then drove away. On our way to Spokane, Gina started to sniffle and reached for a tissue.

“We’ve only been gone a half hour,” I said. “You miss her that much already?”

“Yeah,” Gina said. “But it’s not only that.” She sighed. “I just love that place.”

Jeff Robinson ’83 Elec. Eng.

It’s unusual to not run into a single soul on my walk across campus, but I seem to be one of the only ghosts left in a town now deserted. One of the unfortunate few with a late Friday final. I’m headed out to meet up with a couple friends for a late night shake at Flix. With the haze hanging low around the street lamps I feel a bit like Ingrid Bergman, sans fedora. In the silence I hear the echo of the noontime bustle on the Mall. The Bryan Hall clock chimes. I hurry along, eager for company.

Janelle McArdel ’08

i played the trombone in the cougar marching band, it was gameday and i woke up late. i shouldve been in uniform and atop campus playing tunes for the football game. madly dashing out the door- half dressed, juggling my insturment and remaining uniform- i ran, cutting through school buildings and upon reaching todd hall i was surprised by two old gentlemen who held doors open for me. each was dressed head to toe in green and yellow clothes and as i flew through the doors, one of the eugene duck fans friendly said, “cya out there!”

Liz Poteet ’09 Socio.

Winters in Pullman could be silent but one night campus roared after a snowstorm. Two hallmates from Kenya had never seen snow. So, we grabbed plastic trays from RO Dining Hall and went “traying” down golf course slopes.

One toboggan run too many found me with a split lip and a lot of red snow. The cold kept the pain away but the friendships made warmed our souls.

Returning to Stimson, we encountered a huge snowball fight. People yelling, music blaring and windows breaking filled the air. But all stopped as snow began again.

I still have that scar.

Michael Antee ’83 Env. Sci.

I was planning on minoring in Spanish and majoring in Wildlife Management. I studied abroad in Spain spring semester of my sophomore year and had enough credits to get my minor at that point. I went to talk to the department chair (a Spanish instructor), and one of my former Spanish professors was there also. After some discussion they talked me into majoring in Spanish right then and there (because I only needed 5 more classes!). So I ended up double majoring, which got me a lot of jokes about speaking Spanish to animals. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kristen Coles ’02 Spanish, Wildlife Mgmt.

In the spring term of 1967 when I was enrolled in biochemistry class, it was located in Fulmer Hall.  When there was time, several of us would get our lab experiments started and then go next door to Troy Hall to Ferdinand’s to enjoy an ice cream cone before returning to complete our task. A sweet memory indeed!

Janet (Henning) Budke ’67 Home Econ.

When I was a WSU freshman in 1964, one warm day a friend set me up with a blind date. I had no idea where we would go, but his white ’55 Chevy took us 16 miles from Pullman to a site on the bank of the Snake River at Wawawai to enjoy the sun.

By 1967 I held the position of Senior Man on the Board of Control [i.e., Student Council]. It was then I heard that the Corps of Engineers was “excessing” unused land it had acquired along the Snake and giving it to other entities for parks and river access. So I mustered some gumption and went to the top with an idea. I arranged to meet with Wallis Beasley, interim president of WSU, to suggest that WSU obtain recreational Snake River access at Wawawai from the Corps.

Since I shared that thought, WSU has started a crew rowing team and Whitman County has established a county park on excess Corp land at Wawawai. The crew team launches into the Snake at that park and currently my grandnephew Nate is a member of the crew team.

Roger Budke ’67 Civ. Eng.

Washington State University finished out my formal education before my entrance into adulthood. I have thrived in employment endeavors and have operated my own successful business for over 20 years. WSU gets part of the credit for my prosperity. My Dad told me early on that it was important to give back to that which helped you along the way. In this case, WSU. So I give to the Alumni Association and encourage others to do the same. For my Dad’s wisdom, and the bright future WSU prepared me for, I will be forever grateful.

Jan Marie Tronrud ’94 Hotel and Rest. Mgmt.

Scrabble board with WSU story

Bob Alton ’82 Socio.

Coug Memories Story – Broken Jaw at Martin Stadium

It was early in our first fall semester, and a few of us strolled up to Martin Stadium for a touch football game…sans the lights!

Not being able to see each other made our game even more fun and daring… until we heard CRUNCH, THUMP and then “OUCH!”

Taking care of our friend and his broken jaw (Ferdinand’s shakes helped!) led to three of us becoming roommates. As a result, we are Coug brothers for life. Thanks for the memories, WSU!

Jim Mooney ’82 Marketing

WSU equals epic road trips. One year, as an RA, I had to be back early from break. Two of my fellow RAs asked for a ride back, then another, and another. My ancient Fiat was stuffed to the brim with RAs, Christmas treasures, snacks and beer. Somehow the car moved and made it across the state under a winter sky of brilliant stars. We tumbled out at our destination—a clown car in Pullman—and the green cloud of body odors that exited with us was almost visible. Tears from laughter or gas? Either way—worth it.

Susan Cary Paganelli ’89 Ed.

I shamefully wanted to go home and dodge the 1982 Apple Cup but was in the band and had to stay.  We marched into roaring Martin Stadium.  The gold helmeted team threw footballs at us.  A coach restrained three Cougs, probably telling them to put their emotions on the field.  WSU dominated, for pride that year.  Toward the end, we lined up behind Purple’s bench.  Big guys cried – real tears.  Gold helmets slammed to the ground.  We won.  The student section emptied, one great flowing body.  Goalposts fell, and it snowed that night, punctuating the victory.  Always believe!

Anne Harkonen Buck ’85 Russian

The Blue Dog

Trudging across campus was arduous enough but on this day I had my two little daughters in tow.  I was a non-traditional student, at WSU for round two actually there to learn this time and not for the party.  My girls, Shawn and Mandy were 5 and 3.

A few weeks earlier my car had broken down outside of Ritzville and the girls and I had taken a Greyhound bus to Tacoma for a visit.  Sitting in front of the Bookie was a bus just like the one we had ridden.  Shawn got real excited and says, “Look, Mom!  It’s the blue dog!”  She was right, sorta.  The dog on the bus was definitely blue rather than gray!

Lynn Johnson ’95 Ed.

’Twas a dark but starry Valentines night on Observatory Hill in 1967. Not wanting to give a real personal gift to the guy I’d dated sporadically, I presented him with a jar of salted peanuts. He surprised me with a diamond engagement ring. “Too soon,” I said. He went home with the peanuts and the ring. Later that year I accepted, and we were married. Every year for fifty years I’ve given him a jar of peanuts. We celebrated our golden wedding anniversary at a WAZZU football game. Yes, he got his peanuts on Observatory Hill!

Suzanne Lonn ’68 English, Ed.

The Trip

It was a cold and windy night when I left my home in Tacoma to start my college years at WSU. The towns of Ellensburg, Vantage, Royal City, Othello, and the Colfax cutoff were just names that became a common experience for a lot of Cougs. As I drove into the night, I remember someone telling me that Pullman was not the end of the world, but you could see it from there. After many hours behind the wheel I started to believe it, then I crested the hill and saw the bright lights of the campus. I knew at that moment, I was home. Go Cougs!

Jon Gehle ’85 Marketing

I was a ski bum who accepted a job at the WSU Outdoor Recreation Center in order to obtain a tuition waiver for a graduate degree. Only upon arrival did I ponder what degree to pursue. I narrowed my choice down to a Master of Science degree in either Geology or Environmental Science. The fact that the Environmental Science Department was in the same building as Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe was the deciding factor in my choice to study Environmental Science. I enjoyed a Ferdinand’s milk shake literally every day of my graduate program. Graduate degrees don’t get any better!

Peter G. Williams ’98 MS Env. Sci.  

Summer school.  Did it because I had to, to graduate on time after changing my major. But it turned out to be a string of happy chances… Pullman as a quiet town, no lines or traffic.  A part-time job in the library basement (nothing could be cooler in summer – literally).  Living in a virtually empty Observatory Court, making what would be life-long friends.  And, in the deepest dark of one moonless night, standing outside my OB Court trailer watching a lentil harvester, with its huge lights, working a field across the Moscow highway. I felt suspended in time.

Julie Lewis Newnam ’76 Forest & Range Mgmt.

McDonald’s.  Sometimes you just gotta have it.  And when it’s been two months since you were home and could have some, and the nearest one is down the Lewiston grade (much more challenging and fun to drive its tight switchbacks before its later “improvement”), and you just got your very first car, you just have to pack up your dorm pals for the half-day trip down and back.  A Big Mac never, ever tasted so good!  (What, we were supposed to do homework that day instead??!!)

Julie Lewis Newnam ’76 Forest & Range Mgmt.

On a sunny day in June, after studying alone for two years in my living room, I set foot on the Pullman campus for the first time. I learned about “Cougar calves,” heard the fight song, and finally put faces to the names of my classmates. I got some strange looks from students when (dressed in my graduation regalia) I asked how to get to the bookstore.

Mary Senter ’09 BA Soc. Sci., ’13 MA Strat. Comm.

Back in the 1960’s, when I was studying landscape architecture, our design studio was located in Johnson Hall. There many late nights and early mornings spent there completing our design projects. At the time, I typically walked to classes from Sevdy’s Trailer Court where my wife and I resided with our young daughter. I found myself leaving Johnson Hall on many very early mornings to make the walk back home. I was often greeted with a blood curdling scream from Butch, our mountain lion school mascot, who lived immediately across the street. This generally resulted in a quick walk home.

Ron Tuttle ’67 Hort.

During WW II, mother resided on the quad at Stevens Hall. In 1967 she hoped I would reside there, as well. Unfortunately, it was full, and I lived nearby in Community Hall. When my mother died in August 2016, I took a sentimental journey back to WSU. Without her encouragement and self-sacrifice, I likely would not have sought and achieved a university education. She worked full-time to pay my out-of-state tuition. I slowly roamed over the quad hillside, recalling her stories of dorm days, classes, and dances—and, gratefully, my own.

Suzanne Desilet Cofer English Ed ’71 English Ed.

On a cold and snowy December morning in 1968, I arose to drive from my off-campus apartment to Arts Hall for an early-morning board shift at KWSU Radio.  But, it was 29-degrees-below-zero and even my VW bug wouldn’t start.  So, I bundled up and began my on-foot trek across campus to try to make it to work on time.  When I finally arrived, my eyelids were frozen shut!  I had to go into the men’s room to wash them with hot water before I could see to begin my work.

Dave Overstreet ’69 Comm.

The 1980’s brought change to my FCS teaching career and thus I needed to attend grad school for training. The explosion of Mt. St. Helens did not deter me from driving 1800 miles to Pullman for the graduate program. I lived with a kind family and occasionally did substituting. I found the northwest a wonderful experience. I almost settled there after teaching in Tacoma but a young man whisked me back to New Hampshire. Nearing my retirement (43 years) I still have the WSU bumper sticker on my classroom door. When a student asks, I gladly tell them my story.

Susan Allaire Trudel ’84 Ed.

Still today, one of my crystal clear WSU memories involved the CUB cafeteria.  I was in a red booth with silent friends sipping cherry cokes.  It was October 22, 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We were listening to the ceiling speakers broadcasting President Kennedy’s address about this military standoff and dangerous moment in the Cold War.  Suddenly our Pullman cozy, college careers were totally focused on current events, a possible nuclear war, and how our future lives could instantly change.  Serious stuff for a nineteen year old!  Thankfully, WSU campus classes then kept me focused and centered.

Kathleen Berry Guay ’65 History

It was yearbook photo day and a booth had been constructed in the Fine Arts Department lobby for snapping images. A group of us were eating Pringles nearby, when one friend got inspired. She dared me to tell the photographer my nickname was Pringle, so it would be meaningful to have my picture taken with the cylinder of chips. The photographer agreed and I displayed the can next to my face in the shot. Afterward, I confessed my story wasn’t true. “I know. I overheard you scheming” he said. The photo did make it into the yearbook.

Jennifer Budke ’97 Fine Arts

It was the summer of 1969; freshmen moving into the new Stephenson East!  6th floor!  Freshmen sharing majors, courses, anxieties, home sickness, romances, birthdays, “All My Children!”  We became teachers, medical professionals, a welfare worker, and even the governor’s wife!  It wasn’t just through those college years; friendships lasted through major life events.  2019, as we approach 50 years, we will meet in Pullman to celebrate our first meeting.  If every freshman could feel the need and kinship we felt for our fellow lost souls on our first WSU days, freshmen would know that true WSU friendships can last a lifetime.

Bev Sheeley ’73 Socio.

“I went for a walk on winters day” …

Into the rolling snowy white Palouse fields-

(not California dreaming)…

The camaraderie of a Art Department

where creativity was a universal language-

Embracing friendships spanning 50+ years

(Judy Hand Pitts/BA Fine Arts 1970);

Bob Lilly/BA Fine Arts 1969)

Creativity still abounds-

each in unique directions…

All beginning from the Fall of 1965-

Memories evoked and evolved in music

and the changing colors of the fields


Karen (Louise) Johnson Lynch ’70 Fine Arts

I was attending WSU in the early 60s. Women, at that time, were allowed to wear pants only on Saturday morning in their living facility. We had a cold spell and the temperatures dropped to over 10 below. There was a home football game and they reluctantly okayed women to wear pants to the game. We still had to stomp our feet on the stadium floorboards to keep our blood circulating in our feet. At the end of the game there was a steady stream of people headed up the steps to the CUB to get hot cocoa or coffee.

Carol Bearup ’67 Busi., Ed.

On Dec. 8, 1941, Dr. Maynard Lee Daggy, head of WSC’s Speech and Drama Department, interrupted his lecture, turned on the radio, and we heard President Roosevelt declare war on Japan – Dec. 7, “a date which will live in infamy.” Where was Pearl Harbor? Most of us didn’t know. As male students left campus to enlist, we welcomed the Army Air Corps trainees to WSC and waved as they marched down Thatuna. While the campus returned to a new normal, we listened to war correspondent Edward R. Murrow, formerly mentored by a proud Professor Daggy.

Marjorie White Sands ’44 Speech and English, and Ed.