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History of University

vaccine vial
Winter 2020

The lost history of polio at Washington State

The message was so important that it was repeated twice above the fold.

The February 8, 1928, issue of The Evergreen exclaimed on both sides of the masthead, “All college entertainment features, athletic contests and social events have been cancelled until further notice is given as a precaution against the spread of infantile paralysis.”

Infantile paralysis is an old synonym for poliomyelitis, or polio, a viral disease that causes muscle pain, weakness, stiffness, and paralysis. At one time, it was among the most feared diseases in the United States.

In early 1928, a student at Washington State College died from the disease, and the college … » More …

Cougar snarling
Winter 2020

The Butch Brawl

The plan seemed simple enough: launch Kenyon “Ken” Bement into the air at just the right moment so the Cougs could reclaim their cougar.

University of Washington fans had stolen it more than a decade earlier. And Bement and his friends on the Yell Squad decided enough was enough. It was time to bring the stuffed cougar mascot back home to Pullman.

They spread the word through the student section of the stands at Husky Stadium during the rainy, muddy Apple Cup on November 12, 1932. And almost everything went according to plan.

“The basic idea is to pick up Ken—he’s the smallest of the cheerleaders—and, as the Huskies parade by at halftime with the stuffed cougar, he’s going to go up … » More …

Butchmen spelled out by crowd for WSU football game
Winter 2020

Butchmen memories

They got Butch where the cougar needed to be: on the field for football games.

Some forty years after Washington State University ended the tradition of a live cougar mascot and the Butchmen disbanded, alumni share memories of the spirit group.

 

Al Kirkpatrick 
“Our job was to get the cougar to the football games and then, after we would score a touchdown or field goal, we would take him around the track,” recalls retired Colfax dentist Al Kirkpatrick (’75 Zool.), a member of the Butchmen for three years.

One time, he and his fellow Butchmen simply couldn’t get the cougar out of his cage and into its trailer. “We were the ones … » More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Profiles of valor

The Fallen Cougars Project aims to honor the legacy of former students who served in the Second World War and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Some 200 servicemen with ties to Washington State College—now WSU—died in World War II. Learn about a little more about their lives, deaths, and service to America here.

 

Charles Noble Kirkham

Charles Noble Kirkham (x’45 Mech. Eng.) Charles Noble Kirkham (x’45 Mech. Eng.) was a pilot aboard the U.S.S. Shangri-La at the beginning of June 1945 when the aircraft carrier was preparing for the invasion of the Japanese island of Kyushu. During that series of airstrikes, Shangri-La’s airmen faced their strongest resistance to date—and suffered their heaviest casualties.

» More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Fallen Cougars: Meet the student researchers

Three graduate student researchers were hired over summer 2020 to record the lives, feats, and deaths of fallen Cougars from the Pacific Theater in World War II.

And, a recent graduate has volunteered to help with research through the end of the year.

Here are their own stories.

 

Samantha “Sam” Edgerton 
Her interest in World War II started in childhood. Three of Samantha “Sam” Edgerton’s grandparents had connections to conflict, and she wanted to know more.

Her maternal grandfather served in the North Africa and Sicily campaigns with the United States Army. Her paternal grandfather, a first-generation Mexican-American, worked as a barber for the United States Navy, joining in 1944. And her maternal grandmother worked at Camp Atterbury … » More …

Red cross volunteers joined in Pullman's celebration of Armistice Day in 1918, wearing masks.
Winter 2020

Stories from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

It’s just a small part of the transcript. But it’s stuck with Washington State University archivist Mark O’English.

He’s listened to dozens of hours of the tapes. And Helen McGreevy’s short discussion of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and her beloved George at Washington State College always gives him pause.

“There’s just something in her voice when she talks about him,” he says.

McGreevy was 77 in 1978 when she was interviewed for the Whitman County Historical Society’s oral history project.

She talks about her beau George like this: “One young man that I had gone with quite a bit, the young (Wieber) boy, had the flu and died … » More …