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Memorials

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Fallen Cougars Project: Preserving a nearly⁠ lost legacy

The obituary for her father’s old friend in her hometown newspaper noted he had—like her dad— attended Washington State College for a year and a half before joining the United States Army to fight in World War II.

Kathy Aiken carried the clipping with her when she attended a talk about the Fallen Cougars Project at the Pullman Depot Heritage Center last Veterans Day. After the presentation, she showed it to the speaker, Samantha “Sam” Edgerton (’17, ’19 MA History), a doctoral student, and Raymond “Ray” Sun, the WSU associate history professor who started the project.

“Samantha and Ray looked at it, and said, ‘We … » More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Profiles of valor

The Fallen Cougars Project aims to honor the legacy of former students who served in the Second World War and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Some 200 servicemen with ties to Washington State College—now WSU—died in World War II. Learn about a little more about their lives, deaths, and service to America here.

 

Charles Noble Kirkham
Charles Noble Kirkham (x’45 Mech. Eng.) was a pilot aboard the U.S.S. Shangri-La at the beginning of June 1945 when the aircraft carrier was preparing for the invasion of the Japanese island of Kyushu. During that series of airstrikes, Shangri-La’s airmen faced their strongest resistance to date—and suffered their heaviest casualties.

On his last flight, Kirkham’s wingman’s plane was damaged and crash-landed into the Pacific Ocean. Kirkham circled above his wingman, providing … » More …

silhouette of soldiers raising flag on Iwo Jima
Winter 2020

Fallen Cougars: Meet the student researchers

Three graduate student researchers were hired over summer 2020 to record the lives, feats, and deaths of fallen Cougars from the Pacific Theater in World War II.

And, a recent graduate has volunteered to help with research through the end of the year.

Here are their own stories.

 

Samantha “Sam” Edgerton 
Her interest in World War II started in childhood. Three of Samantha “Sam” Edgerton’s grandparents had connections to conflict, and she wanted to know more.

Her maternal grandfather served in the North Africa and Sicily campaigns with the United States Army. Her paternal grandfather, a first-generation Mexican-American, worked as a barber for the United States Navy, joining in 1944. And her maternal grandmother worked at Camp Atterbury … » More …

Spring 2007

Spillman memorial rededicated

A memorial marker for William Jasper Spillman, a crop research pioneer and one of Washington State College’s first professors, was returned to campus last fall.

Spillman was the sixth faculty member to be hired at WSC, and the researcher responsible for developing new wheat varieties for the region. During his time here, he independently rediscovered Mendel’s law of genetics. He left WSC in 1901 to become a founder of agricultural economics, the first president of the American Agricultural Economics Association, and editor of Farm Journal. In the 1930s, before he died, he asked that his family return to the Palouse that he loved and spread … » More …