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David Wasson

WSU Olympians thumb
Summer 2016

WSU Olympic medalists

More than 50 of Washington State University’s top athletes have made it to the Olympics since 1920. Here’s a look at the eight who took home medals:

Paul Enquist ’77, rowing; Los Angeles 1984, gold; USA. Part of the two-man double sculls team that edged out Belgium to become the first U.S. team in two decades to win gold in an Olympic rowing event.

Mike Kinkade ’96, baseball; Sydney 2000, gold; USA. Played third base for Team USA which beat perennial powerhouse Cuba in a three-hit shutout for the gold medal.

Peter Koech ’86, 3,000-meter steeplechase; Seoul 1988, silver; Kenya. Kenya nearly swept this event, taking gold and … » More …

Simple Summer Living
Spring 2016

Simple summer living

No roads. No electricity. Just long summer days filled with fishing, huckleberry picking, and exploring the northern shores of remote Priest Lake in Idaho with family and friends.

It was 1948 and plans to develop a private retreat for Washington State College faculty and staff were taking shape at Beaver Creek, a primitive 54-acre resort accessible only by boat. The site, purchased by former WSC President Wilson Compton (1944–1951) and his wife Helen, already had eight small cabins. It was eventually subdivided into about 40 private lots selling for as little as $300 each.

“There’d be potlucks and children’s activities,” recalls Lois Castleberry, whose late … » More …

Just Mercy
Spring 2016

Just Mercy

Dozens of witnesses, including a police officer, saw Walter McMillian at a church fish fry when a young woman was killed in nearby Monroeville, Alabama in 1986.

Police later arrested the self-employed African-American tree trimmer anyway. A nearly all-white jury convicted him and a judge sent him to death row. That’s where Bryan Stevenson, a Harvard-educated lawyer, met McMillian.

Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, battled a hostile criminal justice system to uncover improperly concealed evidence that led to McMillian’s exoneration in 1993.

But the frightening way McMillian was so quickly condemned raises broader questions about America’s criminal justice system, which incarcerates more … » More …

Trout Culture cover
Spring 2016

Trout Culture: How Fly Fishing Forever Changed the Rocky Mountain West

Trout Culture coverJen Corrinne Brown ’12 PhD

University of Washington Press: 2015

With help from Hollywood and even popular beer labels, the Rocky Mountain region of the American West enjoys an iconic reputation for wild and natural fishing. It’s where rugged individualists reconnect with nature through timeless traditions.

Missing from the customary narrative are the generations of human intervention, environmental manipulation, and social transformation.

Brown, who earned a history doctorate from WSU in 2012, calls it … » More …

No white flags
Spring 2016

No white flags

Steve Gleason made a name for himself on the football field but his most enduring contribution may be tackling ALS.

The statue built in his honor outside the New Orleans Superdome depicts Steve Gleason ’00 on the gridiron doing what he does best: pushing himself harder and, in turn, inspiring others.

That personal drive didn’t stop when Gleason left the National Football League in 2008. Nor when he was diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 34 with ALS, the terminal neuromuscular disease that has since left him immobile and reliant on eye-controlled technology to communicate.

Gleason, who helped take WSU to the Rose Bowl … » More …

The Mott Squad
Spring 2016

The Mott Squad

Before broadcaster Robert Mott founded NPR, he helped bring Washington State’s communication education into the television era.

National Public Radio cofounder and former Washington State professor Robert Mott briefly appeared on a large projection screen before the video image froze and then disappeared. Again.

Mott waited patiently in his San Diego home as some of his former broadcast students, now in their 60s and 70s, double-checked the video chat settings from the Yakima conference room where they’d gathered. He wasn’t too worried.

Their bond, after all, had been forged in an era of technological innovation, though that was a half century earlier when many problems … » More …

A veterinarian to the corps
Spring 2016

A veterinarian to the corps

He was the old guy in airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, a U.S. Army veterinarian holding his own with soldiers half his age, preparing to leap from a plane.

JOHN L. POPPE ’86 DVM had parachuted recreationally back in his Pullman days but was taking command of a special airborne veterinary unit in 2001 and wanted to be jump ready.

“I was determined to do it,” recalls Poppe, now a brigadier general and chief of the U.S. Army’s multifaceted Veterinary Corps.

He was a 42-year-old lieutenant colonel back in jump school and his commitment to readiness was no academic exercise. Two years later, … » More …