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Resources and Offices

Spring 2015

A Nagasaki letter

Minutes before the B-29 bomber Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the crew of the accompanying B-29 released a canister holding testing equipment. A letter was Scotch-taped inside. The canister fell on the outskirts of the city and its contents withstood the second and, to date, last nuclear attack in a war.

The letter, addressed to “R. Sagane, Imperial University, Tokyo,” was an appeal from three Manhattan Project physicists to fellow physicist and former colleague Ryokichi Sagane. They asked Sagane to confirm the power and devastation of the nuclear attack to the Imperial Japanese government, and to urge Japan’s surrender.

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The TUB
Spring 2015

Down “The Drain” in the TUB

In the 1950s Patty Ernst and Marian Baldy Kenedy would pass time between classes at the TUB. The former women’s gymnasium, built in 1901, became the Temporary Union Building while a new student union was being built. A structure of many uses, it had also served as an ROTC armory, a bookstore, a bowling alley, and temporary housing for a surplus of students just after World War II.

Playing on the bath-like name, the building even had “The Drain,” a basement café and hangout filled with booths and a jukebox. Friday and Saturday night dances there were very popular, with more than half the student … » More …

WSU Soccer Field
Spring 2015

A new field of dreams

In November under the lights of their newly renovated field, the WSU women’s soccer team competed in their fourth straight NCAA tournament, a first for the Cougars. They played tough against Seattle University in the polar chill, losing by one goal in double overtime.

The debuts of both the rebuilt Lower Soccer Field and head coach Steve Nugent came back in August with a 3-0 win versus Texas Christian University. Nugent and the team went 10–4–4 for the season, led by a group of seniors that boasts 48 victories, the most in school history during a four-year span.

Among them was goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who … » More …

Mapmaker Mystery photoillustration
Winter 2014

Mapmaker mystery

The Palouse, in its way, is a perfect place. A land of soft, rolling hills framed by rivers, mountains, forests, and desert, this agricultural hinterland feels all four seasons fully, and in all likelihood grows enough food to feed its inhabitants and visitors with ease. It’s home to scholars and farmers, and its story begins in the ice ages and continues today with an unrelenting flow of research from two major universities.

Despite such beauty and bounty, the Palouse has not received the artistic consideration that has Yosemite or Hudson Valley. I’ve never seen anything like that, at least until a day last winter when … » More …

Spokane fountain
Winter 2014

Art in public places

In the late sixties, Harold Balazs ’51 helped build a public arts tradition in our region. Along with several members of the Washington Arts Commission, including artist Jacob Lawrence, he created Washington’s Art in Public Places program. Starting in 1974, the program began directing one-half of one percent of all state building budgets toward purchasing contemporary art. The pieces would be owned by the state but could reside at the site of the project.

Having traveled in Spain and Italy, Balazs had realized that the United States could easily support more arts and culture. “Countries in Europe do so much more than one percent,” he … » More …

Interfaith House
Winter 2014

A place for faith and support

For many, the Interfaith House was a home away from home, whether it was through the services offered by the Common Ministry, a place for meetings for student groups, or just as a hangout in the coffee shop.

The building on the northern edge of campus at 720 NE Thatuna has served the University and its students from the time it was built in 1925.

But time and circumstance bring change. Last spring the Presbyterian Synod put the building up for sale, and sold the Interfaith House to Washington State University for $1.2 million. Citing its location and connection to campus, the Board of Regents … » More …

Narcissa Whitman's hair
Winter 2014

Hair and history

On the first day of class this semester, Kristine Leier, a senior majoring in history and anthropology, returned one of the more macabre items owned by the WSU Libraries: a lock of hair from the murdered missionary, Narcissa Whitman.

Hair is not something we at WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections still collect. And how it came to be here, and where it has been for the last half century, turned out to be an intriguing story.

Narcissa Whitman’s name is familiar to many in the Northwest. She and her husband, Marcus, established their mission to the Cayuse Indians near Walla Walla in 1836. … » More …