Washington State Magazine asked readers, alumni, faculty, and staff to share what or who or where made them happy at Washington State University. Here’s what they had to say.


Meeting my future husband in my very first class in 1956. It was English 108 in College Hall. Have now been married 63+ years, two kids, four grandsons, five great-grands. Go Cougs!

⁠— Sandra “Sandy” (Grant) Parkhill (’59 Home Ec.)


Walking in the fields with the changing seasons at the Pullman campus!

⁠— Karen (Johnson) Lynch (’70 Fine Arts)


The Conner Museum is my happy place. I grew up in Richland, and we didn’t have any bears, or buffalo, or peacocks, or cougars, and I thought it was so cool to see them up close. It was the first place I visited after COVID restrictions were lifted, and I still spend many lunchtimes there. There’s something about animals⁠—even taxidermied ones. They look like they could be pets, but they’ve lived incredible lives in the

wild. Many of them were part of the Chicago World’s Fair⁠—that adds an extra coolness factor.

⁠— Sarah Frame English (’94 Comm., ’95 Ed., ’96 MEd), sustainer program manager, Northwest Public Radio


I drove in from the Potlatch area for several years. I loved to watch the fields turning green in the late winter/early spring … and the lambs!

⁠— Adele Kirkpatrick McCormick (’72 Speech & Hearing Sci.)


Ferdinand’s ice cream in the middle of winter …

⁠— Helen Schaaf (’73 Ed.)


Any and all classes taught by Dr. Ashby, Dr. Bobb, and Dr. Bennett. Loved special events like Casino Royale. Beasley, Bohler, Martin, and Bailey … All sporting events. Socializing, I mean “studying,” on the very social second floor in Holland Library. Lifetime friends made.

⁠— Bill Grantham (’78 Soc. Stu.)


Sunny days were the best! Walking through campus and everyone greeting each other. Ice cream at Ferdinand’s. Going to football and basketball games. Spending time in the basement of the Fine Arts building doing pottery. Glenn Terrell stopping by to talk when we were outside during class. Living on Orton 9 freshman year. The first snowfall when my roomie from California was so excited! And, of course, Rathskeller’s in Moscow! All the friends!

⁠— Judy (Ruddy) Brown (’80 Fine Arts)


I had three happy places:

1. For studying, my very favorite was the fifth floor science library. I had so many great study sessions there with friends. It made the long, long hours go by faster than they really were.

2. For personal fitness, I loved the student weight room (though I can’t remember exactly where that was, now). Lots of iron pumping with buds.

3. For recreation, nothing beat being in Martin Stadium on game day. As a frat pledge, I often had to stay overnight in line to get tickets. That added to the allure.

All these were great, great memories.

⁠— Gregory Clark (’84 Chem.)


I LOVED Week of Welcome. I lived in Stevens Hall all four years and it was fun getting to school early and planning activities for all the new residents and seeing my friends after summer break. It was just a feeling of freedom and fun before classes began.

⁠— Anna (Swartz) Burch (’96 Comm.)


My favorite thing to do was to use the new Student Recreation Center when it first opened, then in the afternoon go take a bike ride to get a grabber from Ferdinand’s.

⁠— Eric Nordstrom (’01 Civ. Eng.)


Football, competing against other residence halls, serenading the sister hall of the hall I lived in (Stimson), the interfaith house (now gone), hall government. It’s an endless list really.

⁠— Kevin Renner (’12 History)


Fourth-generation Lady Coug graduate. Me (BS food science), my mom (BS psychology), grandma (BA and MA education) and my great-grandmother (PhD romantic literature).

⁠— Lauren Celmer (’16 Food Sci.)


A seat four rows back on the 50 (yard line) for my first home game.

⁠— Kevin Madden (’18 Soc. Sci.)


Roller hockey on Monday and Wednesday night. Courtside at Friel Court. Sella’s and CCDI. The best part is, my time as a Coug will never end. You don’t have to be on campus to be a Coug. It’s a lifetime of Crimson and Gray.

⁠— Mark Huddleston (’90 Busi.)


I experienced one of those perfect Pullman summer days while walking to campus in mid-July of 1990. That day, I would sign paperwork that officially made me a brand-new assistant professor of physics. The sky was painted in deep violet, an unfamiliar sight to an East Coaster like me. The still air had the sweet scent of nectar and grass. The sun’s rays from high above radiated heat, which was whisked away by the dry air that streamed by as I walked.

Turning onto Stadium Way, I noticed small groups of students sunbathing, while others threw a frisbee. The Physical Sciences building, my new home, pierced the sky. The stillness around me, the scenery, and the anticipation of how my life would unfold in this magical place lulled me into a trancelike state of bliss. At that moment, I knew that I would make Pullman and Washington State University my permanent home.

⁠— Mark G. Kuzyk, WSU Regents Professor of Physics


When I was an undergraduate at WSU, I was involved with our Hawai’i Club. I even got to cochair the twenty-fifth Mom’s Weekend (now Family Weekend) lu’au, now known as their ho’ike. Now, as an alumna and staff member at WSU, I get to be a co-advisor for the group and will always have fond memories of their annual events. It’s been fun getting to see the traditions continue and evolve over time! Go Cougs!

⁠— Hildegarde “Hilde” Velasco-Faga’autau (’12 Socio.)


Moments of great satisfaction: when it “clicks” in teaching and we make a collective breakthrough on a significant issue. Whether with freshmen or grad students, it never gets old, and you never know when it’s going to happen. Alternatively, conversations with colleagues or students over coffee in the CUB. Ideas flow, and we connect as people over a nice drink. And, working out in the Rec Center. It’s a place where I can forget all the intellectual stuff that occupies my mind and balance that by taking care of my personal fitness. There’s a lot of life energy flowing there and it’s good to be around a diverse crowd all working to be healthier, stronger people.

Place of tranquility: the WSU Veterans Memorial. It’s quiet, beautiful, and meaningful to me as it commemorates the WSU war dead from WWI to the present. I teach about the world wars and am leading a project to create a digital memorial of the WW2 war dead.

Moments of beauty: walking through the campus, there are moments of surprising beauty when I look at the light on the brickwork of the old buildings (Bryan Hall, Wilson-Short), or on the trees in early spring or when the leaves are changing color in the fall.

There is a moment of great emotion, although it’s not “happy.” It was on 9/11, and this was before people were getting all their news on their phones. The university set up big screens in the CUB, and I remember joining a group watching the news coverage. People were totally silent, except for a few who were quietly crying. We were all both united and isolated in our confusion and grief.

⁠— Ray Sun, associate professor of history, WSU


The first moment of well-being that came to mind is meeting up with my sweetie at the edge of Terrell Mall on a sunny afternoon. The next thing may be more interesting: The day after Barack Obama was elected, knowing WSU also had its first Black president, I felt like real social progress was occurring and the entire US was on track to become more just, whole, and peaceful. I wanted to high-five everybody on campus, especially President Elson Floyd. Third: Arriving late to work after a harried morning and finding a tiny flower that my sweetie had taped to my office door.

— Adrian Aumen, assistant director of communications, WSU College of Arts and Sciences


What made you happy at WSU?  Share it with us.