Making much of good medicine

I write to compliment the superb feature “Good medicine” by Brian Charles Clark.

Thank you for choosing the topic, one that deserves attention, but receives little in my experience.What the staff is doing to truly include Native people and their culture in the work of the new medical school is admirable. And Brian’s writing was quite extraordinary.

Robbie Paul’s stories from her father will stay with me. “We need to learn to listen, and to listen to learn.” If future health-care practitioners from WSU can learn to listen quietly, they will have a much-needed positive impact in our state and beyond.

I am, once again, proud of the University for this initiative and for highlighting it in this magazine.

Cherry L. Tinker ’67 


Like we were never apart

On September 16, 2019, Cougs who lived in Neill Hall in 1979 reunited on campus. (Now an academic building, Neill Hall previously housed students.)

We know we are a special group of former WSU students because our group is FULL of special individuals. We talk about this whenever we get together. We marvel at the incredible college experiences we had while we lived in Neill Hall, and the fact that we have all remained close friends for 40 years.

Our group arrived as students to WSU and Neill Hall in different ways. Most of us came to WSU intentionally, but a few enrolled thinking they would be attending school in different parts of the country. One thought he was going to a school in the Washington DC area, and you can imagine his surprise when he arrived in Pullman, Washington from New Delhi, India. Another came from Saginaw, Michigan thinking Pullman was a suburb of Seattle. I can’t speak to all the reasons everyone decided to stay in Pullman, but stay they did, and for this I am forever grateful. Jerry from Saginaw transferred to a school in Michigan during his sophomore year. With many tears we said goodbye to him in the summer of 1980. But fate intervened… or maybe I should say Stacie from Longview, WA intervened. Stacie had also lived in Neill Hall. Jerry decided he would be a fool to leave her, so he returned to WSU in the fall of 1980, much to all our relief. Jerry and Stacie are happily married to this day with two beautiful daughters.

Most of us knew we were coming to school in Pullman, but many of us were freshmen and didn’t expect to be placed into Neill Hall.  Little did we know how lucky we were that 1979 was a year with a very large freshman class. To make room for so many new freshmen, we were placed into Neill Hall, which was a dorm for upperclassmen.  We were also lucky that Neill Hall had been designated as an international dorm.  If that had not been the case, we might not have met Pam from Alberta, Canada; Arjun from India; Gabriel from Chile; and so many other international students.

Some members of our group graduated from WSU, while others did not. Some married, and some did not. Some worked outside the home and others worked very hard inside the home raising children, etc. We studied different things, and today we work in very different professions. We have different political beliefs. We are spread across North America, and yet the geographic distance between us does not dim our personal closeness. Some of us vacation together and see each other often. Some of our children (now grown!) grew up together and remain close friends. Some of us only see each other once a year. Some of us only see other every few years. Here’s the great thing… it doesn’t matter. When we come together, it’s family. We fall together like we were never apart.

Seven couples from Neill Hall got married and five of those couples are still married today. Two of the couples were with our group in Pullman this past weekend.

I can’t tell you the secret to our group and why we remain close after all these years.  I’m guessing it has something to do with living in a small co-ed dorm on a campus in a small town where you had to make your own fun. Many of us didn’t know anyone when we arrived in Pullman, so friendships were made in Neill Hall. I’m guessing the Mount St. Helens eruption followed by the ash cloud that came straight to Pullman, also had something to do with it when a beautiful sunny day turned into night.  That was a rare experience we all share. Boy, do we have memories of entertaining ourselves while basically trapped in the dorm for a week. Perhaps our closeness is due to our “social director” Tom from Spokane, WA, who keeps us in touch on everyone’s birthday, and is the main coordinator for our annual gatherings.

Our annual parties are always special and when they end, I immediately start looking forward to the next year’s event. But this past weekend in Pullman was even more special because this town holds a special place in our hearts. It is of course where we met and had so many incredible experiences together. We were ecstatic to be back.  We were giddy running around campus seeing all the familiar sites. It was very special running around the halls of Neill Hall (thank you to the Mathematics Department for not kicking us out!). We saw t-shirts in Pullman saying, “we always find our way back home,” and how true that is for us, as we returned home last week. And yes, a few of those t-shirts were purchased as well.

Even though many things on campus and in town are different, the feeling at WSU is the same. Everyone we encountered seemed to embrace our crazy group, whether they were students on campus, Math Department staff, staff at our hotel, people we ran into at restaurants, or the Crimson and Gray bookstore. Everyone was friendly, smiling and so welcoming. This experience of campus and Pullman is why I think most Cougs have such fond memories of college and their time here.

As I said before, we are a diverse group with diverse backgrounds and lives since leaving WSU. We are from towns close to Pullman like La Crosse and Pomeroy, and other towns in Eastern Washington like Spokane, Wenatchee and Cashmere. We are from bigger towns on the west side of the state all the way from Monroe to Battleground. We are from Eugene, Oregon and San Diego, California. We are from Michigan and New Jersey. We are from Canada, India, Chile, and Cyprus. When we get together for our annual weekend party, some of us come from the Seattle/Tacoma area, eastern Washington and Idaho, and others fly in from Alberta, San Francisco, New Jersey, and Austin, Texas.

We are pharmacists, teachers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, construction workers, venture capitalists, co-op store managers, nursery owners, real estate appraisers, systems analysts, and stay-at-home moms. We work in public health, truck manufacturing, insurance, accounting, and the hotel/restaurant industry.

We have many titles in our lives, but the most important title that applies to every member of our group is FRIEND. That’s what we were to each other in 1979, and that’s what we are to each other forty years later. We will continue to be friends for as long as we are on this earth.

Thank you so much for reading through this (if you made it this far), and for listening to our story, or my telling of it.  If you met us in Pullman or on campus last weekend and thought you saw something special with our group, you were right.

Cathy Higgins ’83 Psych.


Remembering a remarkable mentor and man

Jack Carloye’s passing ought not go unremarked. I took Professor Carloye’s classes in the mid-1970s, when WSU offered an M.A. in philosophy. He was, most of all, a kind and gentle man; he was also a smart and effective professor. I can say for certain that he prepared his students for a life of thought and reason.

Richard J. McGowan, ’76 MA Phil.

Note: Jack Carloye, WSU philosophy professor from 1962–1992, passed away August 29, 2019, in Pullman. He was 92.


WSU Holiday Bowl team of 1981, including 32 players, four coaches, and the head trainer at a reunion in 2019
The WSU Holiday Bowl team of 1981, including 32 players, four coaches, and the head trainer, gathered on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene last August for a weekend of rekindled relationships, as they reminisced on an incredible season that sparked an era of football excellence at WSU.


We are looking…

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. We’re looking for memories and photos of that fateful time in 1980 and how it affected you. Please email your stories to or send a snail mail.



An erroneous version of the article “Power of language” was printed in the Winter 2019 issue. You can read the correct version online.