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WSM staff

Fall 2002

Guardian angel comes to the rescue

When his home and family life was in turmoil, Kathy Cochran came to her nephew’s rescue. At the time Robert Cochran was 15, living in Kansas, and the court was about to place him in a foster home again. Kathy gave the court another option. She agreed to take him in, and the judge awarded her custody.

“Aunt Kathy … has been my best friend, my mom, and my guardian angel all at the same time,” Robert wrote in a letter nominating her for Washington State University 2002 Mom of the Year. She was selected from 24 candidates and recognized at the April 13 Mom’s … » More …

Fall 2002

Alex Kuo wins American Book Award

Alex Kuo’s Lipstick and Other Stories has won him the honor of the American Book Award. Kuo is Washington State University’s first writer-in-residence and chair of the Comparative American Cultures Program (CAC) and an English department faculty member. “The Peking Cowboy,” a story from the collection, appeared in the Spring 2002 Washington State Magazine.

Kuo teaches Asian American and Native American literatures in the CAC, cultures of the American West in American Studies, and creative writing in English. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fiction Fellowship and grants from the United Nations and the Idaho Commission for the Arts for background … » More …

Summer 2002

Frances Penrose Owen dies March 9 at 102

Former Washington State University regent Frances Penrose Owen died March 9, 2002 in Seattle. She was 102.

Governor Albert Rosellini appointed WSU’s first woman regent to the board in 1957. She served for 18 years and was twice elected president. In 1979, WSU’s new science and engineering library was named in her honor.

Eleven years later, when Mrs. Owen was presented with the Medal of Merit, the state’s highest award, WSU president emeritus Glenn Terrell said, “Frances is a rare combination of strength, gentleness, intelligence, and forcefulness.”

Mrs. Owen’s life was filled with service. She was elected to the Seattle School Board in 1945 and … » More …

Summer 2002

Alumni Association honors past presidents

Three former presidents of the Washington State University Alumni Association have received WSU’s Alumni Achievement Award. Jim Miller, Vancouver, and Denny Jones, Redmond, were recognized in mid-November at the association’s reception for past presidents in Bellevue. John B. “Jack” Sutherland, Tacoma, was unable to attend. He received the award in December.

Miller (’65 Police Sci.,) was cited “for exemplary leadership as a district director and president (1995-96) of the Alumni Association, and for effective advocacy in supporting University programs in student enrichment, academic outreach, and intercollegiate athletics.”

Miller came to WSU from Tacoma. After earning his degree, he stayed on to complete his teaching credentials … » More …

Summer 2002

School superintendent recognized on state, national levels

R. Stephen Rasmussen capped two-plus decades as a school administrator by being named Washington Superintendent of the Year for 2001 and one of four finalists for National Superintendent of the Year.

Rasmussen, 51, has been superintendent of the 7,900-student Franklin Pierce School District since 1992. The district south of Tacoma serves a growing community with increasing ethnic and linguistic diversity.

When he was hired, the district faced a $600,000 deficit. In 1998, the district became the first in the state to pass a four-year school levy. The same year, voters approved a $25.6 million bond for construction.

The superintendent gladly shares his recognition. “It is … » More …

Summer 2002

Washington sets a record for home sales

Thanks to affordable mortgage rates that offset economic uncertainty and job cutbacks, Washington’s resale housing market set a sales record in 2001, according to statistics released by the Washington Center for Real Estate Research (WCRER) at Washington State University.

“About 125,000 homes were sold last year, 5,000 more than in 1999, the previous record,” says Glenn Crellin, WCRER director. The median price for an existing home in Washington was $178,200 during the quarter, 0.5 percent higher than in 2000. King County had the highest median price ($260,000), Pacific County the lowest ($77,000).

The recession notwithstanding, slower increases in prices, low mortgage rates, and continued increases … » More …

Summer 2002

What does Pim-1 really do?

Although science has made much progress in understanding why cancer occurs—smoking, diet, environmental pollutants, viruses—the mechanisms of cancer are still elusive. Nancy Magnuson, of the School of Molecular Biosciences, has been studying an enigmatic gene called Pim-1 since 1988.

The questions I would most like to know the answers to are, “What is the normal function of the proto-oncogene called Pim-1, and how does Pim-1’s function contribute to the production of cancer?”

Although Pim-1 has long been known to be involved in cancer production, it has never been demonstrated how this occurs. Importantly, Pim-1 is only found in certain types of cells, and these are … » More …

Summer 2002

Future teachers of color

The gap between minority teachers—about 6 percent—and minority school children—about 24 percent—is widening in Washington. As part of a move to remedy this situation, 176 high school and community college students attended the College of Education’s Future Teachers of Color conference at Washington State University in mid-February.

The conference has become very popular statewide, says Johnny Jones, the college’s director of recruitment and retention and coordinator of the program. The program has a waiting list of 120 students.

Since the FTOC program was created at WSU in 1994, undergraduate enrollment in the college has increased from five to more than 100. Fifteen FTOC graduates are … » More …

Summer 2002

Olympic torchbearer

About 7 p.m. January 24, John Tarnai accepted the Olympic Torch and braved chilly winds along an eighth-mile leg of the Olympic Torch Relay in downtown Spokane. He said he was “honored and humbled” by the people who lined both sides of the street cheering and waving American flags. “A part of me said, ‘don’t trip.’ ”

More than 11,500 Torchbearers were selected to carry the Olympic flame from Atlanta to Salt Lake City, site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. The journey began December 4, 2001 and concluded with the February 8 lighting of the cauldron in Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium. The torch passed through … » More …

Spring 2002

New graduates entering a different world

Washington State University’s newest graduates are entering “a world vastly different and more dangerous than it was before September 11,” a world that cries out for their leadership in government, in science, in business, in education, in the military.

This was the message U.S. Congressman and WSU alumnus George R. Nethercutt, Jr. delivered as commencement speaker December 15 at the University’s first fall graduation exercise.

“Your generation is now called on to face a fearsome worldwide threat of terrorism similar to that serious threat which faced your grandparents, as they were stunned by Pearl Harbor and World War II.”

Nethercutt (’67 English), a Spokane native, … » More …