Special place in my heart

The audacity to dream” by Brian Charles Clark [Winter 2020] was an exceptional insight into the Na-ha-shnee program, which promotes the nursing profession and sciences to Native American students. I was fortunate to have an experience with this group while I was a TA for the Biology 315 cadaver lab program in Pullman (2009–2010). I co-led a day camp where we gave high school age students an overview of human anatomy, the cadavers, and even taught them how to suture on pigs’ feet! Though brief, it was one of my most cherished experiences at Washington State University. I am now an ICU nurse, and I work for a system in Oregon that includes a nearby reservation in its service area. I learned cultural competence from the Na-ha-shnee program, and Native American patients hold a special place in my heart. I am proud to be part of a university that strives to give unique opportunities to students from our Native American communities. Thank you to the author for bringing this program to light! It was wonderful to hear an update.

Tristan Groot (’09 Zool.)

Students and instructors gathered for the Na-ha-shnee Graduation 2019
Na-ha-shnee Graduation 2019 (Photo Cori Kogan)



A purr-during memory

The “Cougar Confidential” article [Fall 2020] mentioned sending memories of Butch. I have one that I think is special.

My husband and I were students then, working our way through school, so that summer we had stayed in Pullman. It must have been about 1961. We were playing tennis on the courts near Butch’s cage and we heard him crying. He was really hollering! So we went over to see what’s wrong with Butch! As soon as we got near his cage, he flopped over on his side and started purring! I had always wondered if big cats could purr. Now I know! We stayed and talked to him for a while.

I thought it was really neat to have a live cougar mascot, but we felt really sorry for him having to live in solitary confinement. I’m glad the students protested that and switched to “pretend” cougars!

Thanks for that article.

Connie (Smithhisler) Buchanan (’62 Biol.)

Butch I, the live Wasington State College mascot
Butch I, gifted in 1927 by Governor Roland Hartley, was named after Cougar quarterback Herbert “Butch” Meeker. (Courtesy WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections)