Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Alumni

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

Kleene keeps "influenza watch" at CDC

When Jennifer Kleene was awarded a national fellowship in the Emerging Infectious Disease program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last summer, it took a while for her to find out. She was in rural Armenia participating in a United Methodist relief effort that involved volunteer projects in sustainable agriculture.

Working at the CDC has been a lifelong goal for the 23-year-old Washington State University graduate. She completed a bachelor’s degree in microbiology in December 2000. Her father, Marvin Kleene, is associate professor of agricultural education at WSU.

“I was ecstatic,” she said of her acceptance at the CDC. She joined the Immunology … » More …

Spring 2002

Alumni president Ed Little: "I always wanted to work with children"

It’s been almost 30 years now, but Ed Little, president of the Washington State University Alumni Association, remembers it like yesterday.

A sophomore and a member of the Cougar Yell Team, he was in Eugene, Oregon, for WSU’s 1974 football game with Oregon in Autzen Stadium. Before the Cougars secured their 21-16 victory, Little received an urgent message on the sideline.

His father, Gerald, had been seriously injured in an industrial accident. Little was needed in Seattle. Athletic director Sam Jankovich immediately had his wife, Patty, drive Little to the Eugene airport. When they arrived, a ticket was waiting for the next flight north. The … » 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 …

Spring 2002

Coe earns Gibson Award for volunteer service

Longtime Seattle veterinarian Stan Coe received the 2001 Weldon B. Gibson Distinguished Volunteer Award last fall at the Washington State University Foundation Recognition Dinner Gala in Pullman.

The annual award, established in 1981, recognizes sustained exemplary service and achievement on behalf of the WSU Foundation and the University.

“Stan has always been willing to go the extra mile in supporting anything required to promote WSU,” said James C. Kraft, Seattle veterinarian and 1996 recipient of the award. “Stan is an inspirational person, and his leadership in volunteerism is a great example for others.”

Coe was president of the Washington State University Alumni Association in 1984-85 … » More …

Spring 2002

It's in the blood

“There I was [in May 1980], focused on completing my last month at WSU, and Mount St. Helens erupts,” recalls Kathi Goertzen ’80. “I spent the next few weeks basically living at the KWSU studio, not only reporting the news aspects, but also interviewing local farmers about the ash that had covered Eastern Washington and what affect that would have on their crops. I guess you could say that was my first ‘breaking news’ story, and after that, I had it in my blood.”

Her degree in broadcast communications in hand, Goertzen joined KOMO-TV in Seattle as the assistant to Art McDonald (’55, Speech Communication). … » More …

Spring 2002

Play-by-play announcer calls 500th football game

Alumnus Bob Curtis (’47 Speech Comm.) broadcast his 500th consecutive University of Idaho football game as “Voice of the Vandals” last October, when the UI entertained Louisiana-Lafayette in Martin Stadium. He also has been play-by-play announcer for Idaho basketball for more than 30 years.

Curtis got his start in sports broadcasting in his senior year at Washington State University, when he was employed to announce games in the Spokane region. Initially, he called a number of WSU and UI games before joining Idaho permanently.

His string of Vandal football broadcasts dates back to the fall of 1958. He has been named “Idaho Sportscaster of the … » More …

Spring 2002

Treatments for congestive heart failure focus of study

For this alum, age is no obstacle

“I asked what would happen if I die before the research is over. They said, ‘We’ll try to find out where you are and sue you.’ ”—Dr. Gordon Maurice

With some amusement, Dr. Gordon L. Maurice (’40, Chem) describes the call he received last year from the Canadian National Heart Institute. Canadian health officials wanted him—at age 83—to be a primary investigator in a four-year international study on congestive heart failure treatments.

No matter that he retired from his cardiology practice 17 years ago and works in clinical research only three days a week. The Canadians knew Maurice … » More …

Spring 2002

Shanthi delivers 350-pound calf

The wait is over.

Shanthi, a 25-year old Asian elephant (Washington State Magazine, Nov. 2001), delivered a 325-pound male calf November 25, 2001 at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Janine Brown (’80 M.S., ’84 Ph.D. Animal Sci.) coordinated the artificial insemination of Shanthi 21 months earlier. A former graduate student of Jerry Reeves, professor of animal science at Washington State University, she is the senior endocrinologist at the Smithsonian Institution National Zoological Park.

Shanthi was given to the zoo in 1976 by the people of Sri Lanka, where she was orphaned as a baby. She delivered her first calf, Kumari, at the zoo in … » More …