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WSM Spring 2011

Spring 2011


A haiku contest with a WSU theme

Winners of the 2011 contest!

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners of the first Washington State Magazine HaiCoug contest, featuring haiku poems with a WSU theme. After reviewing almost 100 entries, we chose first, second, and third place HaiCougs based on how they evoked the WSU experience, followed the haiku structure, and presented a clever or thought provoking twist.

First place goes to Susan Picatti ’74 from Seattle. She wins a gift package from the Bookie.

Two day old Evie
In Dad’s arms; Cougs beat Huskies
The perfect first game.

The second place winner, Susy (Roark) … » More …

Spring 2011

Video: Finding the right note

“The heartbeat is the basis of rhythm.”

For 40 years, Washington State University alumnus John Elwood has followed that beat to create music and instruments.

Making something from nothing, to share with others, is his delight, he said. He carves wood into a variety of instruments. He also makes “canjos”—a take-off of a banjo made from string, a solid wood neck and a can. The can from Cougar Gold—a cheese made at the WSU Pullman creamery—is a local favorite.


To learn more about Elwood, his music and the canjo, watch the video:

» More …

Spring 2011

Video: Canjo – John Elwood plays the Cougar fight song, “Shortnin’ Bread,” and his dulcimer

John Elwood, a maker of fine musical instruments and a 2001 graduate of Washington State University, crafts banjos from WSU cheese cans (like the iconic Cougar Gold).

Watch John play his “canjo” below and read more about his work.


Cougar fight song played on the canjo:


“Shortnin’ bread” played on the canjo (listen for the lyrical twist):


In addition to canjos, John plays folk music and creates whimsical and beautiful instruments like the goblin dulcimer in the … » More …

Spring 2011

True to his school long after graduating

Robert Williams ’79, a banking executive, is the current president of the WSU Alumni Association. He started volunteering with the University in the 1980s by joining the advisory board for the College of Business and later found his way to the Alumni Association. He is also on the Board of Trustees for the WSU Foundation. Recently, Williams met with WSM’s Hannelore Sudermann to talk about his time as a student and what he enjoys about volunteering with the Alumni Association.

Why did you choose WSU? In high school, I was a four year track and field letterman. … » More …

Spring 2011

George Nethercutt Jr. ’67—Knowing our nation

George Nethercutt Jr. ’67 may not be in Congress anymore, but he still yearns to shorten the distance between Washington, D.C., and his home state of Washington.

The effort has kept the Spokane native busy since he left the House of Representatives in 2005, when he transformed a project from his office into the George Nethercutt Foundation, a nonprofit organization to promote civic literacy and foster leadership qualities.

“We as Americans just don’t know the story of our country. And it troubles me. As a citizen, it bothers me,” says Nethercutt as we meet one afternoon last fall in Seattle, where he’s visiting on … » More …

Spring 2011

Kim Fay ’88—Communion: A Culinary Journey through Vietnam

Any prospective reader of Kim Fay’s book about Vietnamese food should be forewarned. Her descriptions are awfully good. In the city of Hue, following her first exposure to com hen, or clam rice, which was served to her Vietnamese-hot, well beyond the four-star scale, she returned the next morning for a lower heat version.

“It had not rained in the night,” she writes, “and so this com hen was topped with thin slivers of star fruit. Their tartness sparked against the dry crunch of the wonton sticks. The clams were light, and just a bit gritty from the alluvial bed of the Perfume River. The … » More …