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WSM Spring 2004

Spring 2004

Poor farm kid makes good

Sherman Alexie likes to remind people that attending Washington State University presented him with a real challenge. As a Spokane Indian, a liberal, and a writer, he did not fit the prevalent mold of students attending WSU in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Regardless, on October 10, 2003, WSU president V. Lane Rawlins presented Alexie with the University’s highest alumni honor, the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Since leaving WSU in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies, Alexie has published nine books of fiction and poetry and has written and directed two award-winning movies. Widely popular, his short stories appear in the nation’s … » More …

Spring 2004

Late history professor, chairman was popular with students, faculty peers

Raymond Muse became a teacher at the urging of his father, a farmer in the Ozarks, who didn’t want to see his son spend the rest of his life “looking at the hind end of a team of mules.”

During more than three decades at Washington State University, the history professor earned “favorite teacher” status from thousands of students. Faculty peers praised his leadership. His tenure as chairman was the longest in the department (1956-79).

Muse died October 28, 2003 in San Diego after a long illness. He was 88.

His teaching career began at age 18 in a rural one-room school, not far from … » More …

Spring 2004

Cougar finds a home in faternity house

After roughly 45 years, S.J. “Bill” Monro’s prized Cougar has a new home. The longtime San Francisco restaurateur donated the stuffed animal to the Washington State University chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity.

His wife, Barbara, discovered the specimen among a number of stuffed Northwest animals on auction in San Francisco nearly a half-century ago. She purchased the five-foot long, 300-pound cat as a gift for her husband. It has occupied a prominent spot in the “Cougar Room” of the family home.

“It should be a good conversation piece for the Sigma Nus,” he says.

The Monros returned to Pullman in late April with other members … » More …

Spring 2004

Cougar cruise spreads good will on 1,700-mile voyage

To many, Washington State University is a landlocked university. But Tom and Barbara Wilson beg to differ. The Seattle sailors covered 1,700 nautical miles last summer aboard their 53-foot boat powered by twin 700-horsepower Caterpillar engines. The Wilsons started their “Cougar Country Cruise” in Shelton and ended it at Clarkston, before returning home to Seattle. En route they visited WSU Vancouver and WSU Tri-Cities via the Columbia River. And came within 25 miles of the Pullman campus at Wawawai Landing on the Snake River.

Tom Wilson’s goal as 2003-04 commodore of the 300-member Cougar Yacht Club is to put on a CYC event in all … » More …

Spring 2004

Scientists and researchers honored by WSU

Washington State University created the Alumni Achievement Award in 1969 to honor alumni who have provided significant service and contribution to their profession, community, and/or WSU. In recent months, three individuals have been recognized.

Richard H. Pehl

While completing his doctorate in 1963 at the University of California, Berkeley, Richard H. Pehl was the last graduate student to use the famous 60-inch Cyclotron. His research group was undertaking the initial effort to develop radiation detectors fabricated from semiconductors. He was the graduate student responsible for that effort. This work established a base for his career.

Pehl (’58 Chem. Engr., ’59 Nuclear Engr.) was honored by … » More …

Spring 2004

WSU alumni president has a grasp on things

After graduating from Washington State University in 1989, Lorie Dankers headed for the other Washington–the one on the East Coast-with no job in sight. Her first Saturday there she attended a WSU alumni event. Mingling with other Cougars provided “wonderful contacts – names of people and companies to call.” She quickly found work. As a producer for Newslink, a Washington, D.C.-based television news bureau, she attended press conferences and congressional hearings and covered White House events, marches, and protests. There were tougher assignments to tackle as well-the U.S. decision to invade Panama, Mayor Marion Barry’s arrest on drug charges, and the Supreme Court’s addressing of … » More …

Spring 2004

Happy in Hollywood, actor Larkin Campbell loves what he's doing

It’s a dark drama, set in a desert. The lead character, Zack, runs into some bad guys, and he’s in real trouble. The name of the movie, an independent production, is short and catchy: Nowhere.

But the actor playing Zack, Larkin Campbell, hopes the movie goes somewhere. He not only played the lead, he also produced the flick.

“We’ve sent it out, but it hasn’t been accepted in any of the festivals yet,” he says. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Among other projects he’s working on is Squatch, an adventure film about two guys chasing the mythical Bigfoot.

Last year he was a co-star … » More …

Spring 2004

In search of the perfect stringed instrument

Bill McCaw was always interested in music. But he waited until he was about 50 before he began thinking about playing the guitar. When a search of music stores failed to turn up a guitar that could accommodate his broad fingers, he decided to make his own instrument. Since then he’s made 17 acoustic guitars, and now is taking on a new challenge-building a cello.

“You’re not going to make a perfect instrument the first time,” he says. “You just go ahead, and when you string it up, you’ll be enthralled with the sound.”

Some guitar makers work with an apprentice to master the craft. … » More …