Fresh from an early morning TV appearance, Jennifer Merschdorf ’96 grabs a seat in the lobby of her Seattle hotel and pulls out a phone to check in with the office in New York. Next on her schedule is our interview, then lunch with her mother, and then time to meet up with a few old college friends. This day is a balance. Some work, some family, and some fun. It’s all at the threshold of an intense few days of the national conference for Young Survival Coalition, a not-for-profit organization for young women facing breast cancer.
Fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss (’02 MA) enters the sleek atrium of the Chicago Hyatt with aplomb—passing through a lobby packed with weird characters. A human-sized rabbit taps away on a laptop, a steampunk Victorian-era archaeologist hunts for her friends, a green-haired space alien stands in line for a latte.
These are Rothfuss’s people. Or as he calls them, “Geeks of all creeds and nations.”
Rothfuss also looks weird. He hails from another time or place—maybe 1970s America, since Simon and Garfunkel peer out from his black t-shirt, or maybe the Middle Ages where his unruly beard would suit him in any village. Or maybe sometime … » More …
About three years ago, Monte Regier returned to Seattle from a year working on the hospital ship Anastasis off the coast of Liberia. Suffering from culture shock, remembering friends who go to bed hungry every night, he sat with his friend Martin Barrett over a glass of wine and mused on what a dollar would buy.
And then came the Idea.
“You know, Monte,” said Barrett, “I think this glass of wine could feed a kid for a day.”
One can imagine Regier’s skeptical smile.
“Give me 90 days,” said Barrett.
So Barrett started researching this idea of selling wine to feed kids and convinced … » More …
In 1972, as Scott Carson was preparing to graduate from Washington State University, a counselor told him he was still six credits shy of his degree. The Vietnam veteran was astonished. “He said I had to complete these physical education credits.”
Carson had already attended several semesters of community college, was married, had served his country, and had only budgeted for two years in Pullman to finish his business degree. That a handful of phys. ed. credits stood in the way of his degree seemed absurd.
But the counselor was unwavering. Carson took it to the department head, who insisted that it was a … » More …
Philanthropist Paul G. Allen helped kick off the WSU Foundation’s billion-dollar campaign in December with a $26 million gift for the School for Global Animal Health. The donation, the largest single gift in WSU history, will support both programs and construction. Photo Robert Hubner
At his home on the banks of the Columbia River just north of Wenatchee is one of Mike Utley’s achievements.
A Ford F-350 pickup.
Black with blue flames jutting from front to back, the truck gives off as imposing a presence as the 6-foot-6 Utley must have given opponents during his playing days as an offensive lineman with Washington State University and the Detroit Lions.
“Success comes not in time but in goals achieved,” he says. “I earned this truck.”
On November 17, 1991, Mike Utley was carried off a football field on a stretcher and taken by ambulance to a hospital.
Someone recently told Phyllis Campbell ’73 that she had the perfect resume to run for governor.
In her office high above 5th Avenue in Seattle, Campbell tells me this with a mixture of amusement and certitude. Running for political office is the last thing she’s interested in.
“You can print that,” she says. “I’ll never run for political office.
“I value people who do,” she adds, “but that’s not my calling.”
Politics, after all, is so short-term.
Campbell shows me, with obvious pleasure, the medal that represents the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award with which she was recently honored. Campbell’s relationship to Washington State University, which … » More …
“We knew it would help students who were struggling.” —Jim Ruck
Last spring alumnus Jim Ruck of Everett made Washington State University an offer it couldn’t refuse. The chemistry graduate visited his old department and asked for a “wish list” of things the department could use. He made similar requests of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN), Intercollegiate Athletics, and the WSU Libraries.
“In each case they found something they needed,” he says. “Given some choices, you look at what appeals to you and what would have the best value in your mind.”
Jim and his wife, Lee (née Neff), have made donations to … » More …
Intermittent spurts of water play on native basalt slabs and columns in the new Firstenburg Family Fountain at Washington State University Vancouver. Local residents Ed and Mary Firstenburg, owners of First Independent Bank, donated $500,000 to create the fountain and plaza as a focal point for the 351-acre campus. The Firstenburg family was recognized at an August 16 dedication. Ed is a graduate of the University of Washington and fondly remembers students gathering on the campus plaza in Seattle during his college days. WSU Vancouver executive officer and dean Hal Dengerink said the fountain is “a permanent legacy for the Firstenburg family and for WSU … » More …