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WSU history

Fall 2011

A Leonard legacy

Elmer O. Leonard started as a student at Washington State College in 1915. When the call came in 1918, he headed to Europe and the Great War as a soldier. Like a number of other young men, he was killed in combat and never returned to Pullman and the college.

His nephew and namesake Elmer F. Leonard was born a year later. He followed in his uncle’s footsteps to Pullman, enrolling at WSC in 1939, joining the Army and serving in World War II from 1942 to 1946, and eventually graduating from WSC in 1949.

Ever since the first two Elmer Leonards, WSU has been … » More …

Fall 2011

Research gone wild: Engineering power in the Pacific Northwest, part II

In 1946, the Washington State Legislature established Washington State College’s Institute of Technology. In a 1986 oral history, Eugene Greenfield, who directed the Institute’s Division of Industrial Research starting in 1958, explained that the purpose of the institute was to “find technological means for inducing a larger industrial output in the State of Washington.’’

“At the end of [World War II], industry was flopped right straight on its back,’’ said Greenfield. “There was nothing doing, and it looked as though it would be many years before industry would be picking up.’’

The legislature would provide $500,000 a year to fund a division “whose sole purpose … » More …

Summer 2011

Somewhere in France

The latest posting on our Coordinates website is from Margrit von Braun ’89 PhD, who writes from Nigeria. Margrit and her husband, Ian von Lindern, founded TerraGraphics, an environmental engineering company, in the 1980s. They have since developed an expertise in remediation of sites contaminated with heavy metals and are currently working to clean up lead contamination resulting from gold mining in Nigeria’s Zamfara State.

Over 400 children have died from the contamination. With no other income as lucrative as gold mining, the residents of Zamfara brought ore into family compounds, where women, many of whom are not allowed to leave the compound, processed … » More …

Summer 2011

Current events—engineering power in the Pacific Northwest

When electricity first came to Washington in September of 1885, just a few electric lights illuminated downtown Spokane. By the following March, Seattle had them, too. From those early days, Washington State College had a role in helping spread and improve delivery of electricity throughout the state, with many graduates active in the power industry.

The chief engineer for Washington Water Power (WWP) at Long Lake Dam, completed in 1915, and Little Falls Dam, completed in 1911, was a WSC graduate, as was the superintendent of construction. Nineteen students and graduates worked on the Long Lake job. On the Skagit River Project for the City … » More …

Spring 2011

Nature Boy reads on

We received a wonderful letter recently from Clarence Schuchman ’38 about tuition costs and music.

Referring to published comments by President Floyd about rising tuition costs, Mr. Schuchman recalls visiting Bursar Kruegel’s office and “plunking down thirty-two dollars and some odd cents” for his second semester tuition, then finding a job—washing windows of the bursar’s office—for which he would receive fourteen and a half cents an hour.

Mr. Schuchman’s letter is just one of the many journeys into the past that frequent my days here.

The past indeed seems “a foreign country,” as novelist L.P. Hartley observed. “They do things differently there.” The Washington … » More …

Spring 2011

An art history

Worth D. Griffin stepped off the train in Pullman in the fall of 1924 to find Washington State College’s art department barely four years old and with just one other full-time faculty member. Prior to that, the only art instruction offered was painting lessons for students with the pocket money.

But Griffin had come to help teach design and creative composition and build a program. The Indiana native had studied commercial and fine art in Indianapolis and at the Art Institute in Chicago. In addition to working as a magazine illustrator, he trained among American realists, artists focused on rendering unidealized scenes of daily life. … » More …

Mike Utley's Memories of WSU: A Perfect Choice

Jim Walden first saw Mike Utley not on a football field but on a basketball court.

Walden, the WSU Head Football Coach, was putting together his 1985 recruiting class, and his assistant coach Gary Gagnon asked him to take a look at a recruit who was playing for the Kennedy High School basketball team in Seattle.

“He was doing everything 100 miles an hour, full-bore, running up and down the court,” Walden recalls. “I distinctly remember thinking he is not going to lead the league in scoring, but he will lead the league in banging, knocking, and grabbing guys. I really like the way he … » More …

Winter 2010

Betty and Peggy Lee in 1936

One day in 1936 Betty Lee and her twin sister Peggy, about four years old, posed for their mother in the Washington State College shirts given to them by Carl Morrow, then Dean of Men at WSU.

Their parents, Don and Julia Lee, moved to Pullman in the 1930s and opened a restaurant, and later ran a small grocery on Maiden Lane. Morrow was a regular customer at their restaurant, which served “American” food, says Betty Lee. On occasion, he brought the family gifts, conferring on the girls the shirts, dolls, and balls.

Betty Lee graduated from WSU in 1954 with a degree in general … » More …

Gallery: Photos and letters from Xerpha's trunk

A gallery of selected images, items, and memorabilia from Xerpha Gaines’ trunk.

Return to article: The Love Letters

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From The Love Letters by Hannelore Sudermann:

…Summer 2008 the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of
Edward and Xerpha Gaines returned to eastern Washington. They talked and
laughed, piecing together their own memories of Edward and Xerpha, and
mentioning the bundle of letters that gave them the details of their
grandparent’s romance.

At the end of the reunion, they delivered … » More …

Summer 2010

WSU Big Ideas, Discoveries, Creations, Conceptions, People (a suggestive list)

The Uniqueness of Pacific Northwest Flora and Fauna
C.V. Piper

Largely self-taught as a naturalist, Piper believed he needed to classify the flora and fauna of the PNW so other scientists could better understand the uniqueness of area. Published Flora of the Palouse Region (1901), Flora of the State of Washington (1906), Insect Pests of the Garden, Farm, and Orchard (1895), and many other books, including works on hay, soybeans, and other crops.

Allopolyploid formation as a mode of speciation
Marion Ownbey

Ownbey’s work on Tragopogon (goat’s beard, salsify, or oyster plant) on the Palouse was a first, seminal demonstration of the … » More …