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Larry Clark ’94

Fall 2016

The long view

“I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of … the history of the world of the past.” —Theodore Roosevelt, 1911

A hundred years ago, Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of conservation came to fruition with the establishment of the National Park Service. Although President Woodrow Wilson established the NPS, Roosevelt had doubled the number of national parks and passed the Antiquities Act in 1906 when he was in the Oval Office. Roosevelt believed that we must have a deeper and longer-term view of our country’s natural and historical heritage.

In the spirit of Roosevelt’s aims, … » More …

Fall 2016

What’s new?

Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center

Former WSU President Elson S. Floyd pulled together a group of campus leaders in late 2014 to sketch out a vision of a new kind of building on campus: a place for cultural education and events. Although Floyd died in 2015, the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center, under construction on the corner of Stadium and Main, will be a signature welcome to WSU with a “rolling hills” roof and open design.

Maria de Jesus Dixon, manager of operations for the Cultural Center, believes the center is unique among the nation’s universities and colleges. WSU’s multicultural student population has grown … » More …

Fall 2016

Peaches

It’s just not a summer without them

Among the fruits of summer, one stands alone for its juicy sweetness, sunset colors, and soft fuzzy skin. There’s a reason we refer to good things as “peachy.” Washington’s fame may be apples, but peaches sit proudly next to them, as well as our pears and Rainier cherries at roadside stands and farmers markets.

The volume of other tree fruit grown in the state dwarfs peaches and their siblings, the fuzzless nectarines. According to the USDA, Washington produced 13,800 tons of peaches in 2015, compared to 3.15 million tons of apples and 340,000 tons of pears.

One reason … » More …

Fall 2016

The 11th President

Kirk and Noel Schulz packed up their 25-foot, silver Airstream trailer in early June, and hit the road from Manhattan, Kansas. Kirk H. Schulz had just concluded seven successful years as president of Kansas State University. The journey to Washington State University—where he will take the reins as president, and Noel will join the engineering faculty—provided a time to reflect on careers of serving higher education, especially at land-grant universities like WSU.

They hung a Cougar flag on the Airstream when they camped at Rocky Mountain National Park and elsewhere along the way, getting ready to join the WSU community. However, this wasn’t the first … » More …

Fall 2016

The music of life

In Yakima’s Garfield Elementary School, Principal Alan Matsumoto ’75 is hearing music ring through the halls after school. With 100 percent of the students facing poverty, the afterschool Yakima Music en Acción (YAMA) gives them the opportunity to transcend their circumstances with instruments.

YAMA, based on a Venezuelan program called El Sistema, brings professional musicians to the school to teach Garfield students how to play violins, cellos, and other instruments in ensemble groups.

The program launched four years ago with just seven students. Matsumoto says he first heard about El Sistema from Stephanie Hsu, who had recently graduated from training and now leads YAMA. … » More …

Iphone image
Fall 2016

Get out the tweet

Social media’s effect on political participation and civility

In the nonstop flow of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, it’s hard to avoid comments and news about politics, especially in a presidential election year. Many worry the geyser of political rhetoric and uncivil comments might discourage some from participating.

That’s not always the case, says Porismita Borah, an assistant professor in the Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University since 2012. As a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin and at WSU, she researches emerging technology and how it affects politics. She coauthored a study in 2008 that found young people became … » More …

Putting feeling into the digital world thumb
Summer 2016

Putting feeling into the digital world

A new touchstone for virtual reality

On its own, the gleaming silver skeletal hand looks like a disembodied limb from The Terminator. Strap it on a human and it becomes a glove to grasp things within virtual, computer-generated worlds.

Hakan Gurocak, the mechanical engineering professor at Washington State University Vancouver who designed the glove with his former graduate student Randy Bullion, says the haptic interface can be used in conjunction with virtual reality headsets and position sensors to add a new sense of touch to the experience of being in a digital environment.

More than just immersive computer games or movies, virtual reality and … » More …

Asparagus and morels. Photo Bruce Andre
Summer 2016

Morels

Mysterious. Elusive. Delicious.

The smell of rain-soaked earth permeated the logged-over clearing in the woods in mid-May as my friend Mike and I peered closely at the ground and walked slowly. We were hunting mushrooms.

Mike’s more adept eyes spotted a cluster of light brown, honeycombed caps. He sliced the morel mushrooms with his knife. After a while we filled a small bucket, which we took back to Mike’s mom. She battered and fried them and, as a teenager in northeast Washington years ago, I had my first taste of the rich flavor of the wild Northwest mushroom.

Mike and I had likely picked Morchella … » More …

Paccar Environmental Technology Building
Summer 2016

Within the urban fabric

The architectural responsibility of making more than just buildings

When the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, planned to expand their convention center in the late 2000s, they wanted a structure that would reflect the city’s environmental values while tripling the meeting space of the downtown facility. The Vancouver Convention Centre West, designed by LMN Architects and completed in 2009, exceeded their vision: The gentle slope of the 6-acre green “living roof” provides bird habitat; the building is heated and cooled by seawater; and fish and shellfish inhabit the base of the building.

The Vancouver project fits exactly with the philosophy of the Seattle-based architects … » More …

Mel Eklund '55 thumb image
Summer 2016

Deadliest toxin microbiologist

A researcher’s lifelong investigation of the botulinum bacteria

Millions of juvenile salmon died mysteriously in hatcheries across the Northwest from 1979 to 1982. Bankruptcy loomed for seafood companies as fish wobbled around the hatchery tanks and then expired.

Eventually, they brought in Mel Eklund ’55, a microbiologist and pathogen expert with the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle. His wife, Helen, had seen a news report about the dying salmon and when she told him, Eklund got to work.

He analyzed the fish samples in his lab and discovered what he suspected: The salmon were poisoned with botulism, one of the most powerful toxins … » More …