The Lewis Alumni Centre has become such a familiar feature on the Washington State University Pullman campus that many would never guess that, up until the late twentieth century, it was a cattle barn. In the early 1980s, the barn had fallen into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition. By 1984, the idea to turn the barn into an alumni center became a reality, and focus shifted to raising funds for the extensive renovations.
The tile engraving program granted donors the distinction of having their names memorialized on one of the tiles that make up much of the Alumni Centre’s flooring. When the Alumni Centre formally opened on March 31, 1989, Cougs had purchased more than 5,800 tiles. The program continued to appeal to donors long after the initial goal for renovations was met.
Celebrated Cougs such as broadcaster Keith Jackson, space shuttle commander John Fabian, “Voice of the Cougs” Glenn Johnson, former US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova Asif Chaudhry, and former WSU Regent Kate Webster all have their names etched on tiles.
Today, 7,333 engraved tiles grace the floors where cattle stalls once stood. The names on those tiles are physical reminders of the thousands of alumni who generously helped turn a dilapidated barn into a beautiful home away from home for all Cougs.
With only 267 blank tiles left, the chance to have your name engraved on a piece of WSU history is coming to a close. If you would like to include your name on the prestigious list of Cougs whose generosity helped build and sustain our proud Centre, please visit our website or call 800-258-6978. You can also call to add a Cougar head to an existing tile.
Don’t miss out on your chance to make a permanent historical impact on WSU and the WSUAA; once all of the tiles are engraved, this opportunity won’t be available again.