Washington State University
- For the state of Washington in the United States, see Washington
Washington State University (WSU) is a public research university in Pullman, Washington, United States. It is the state's land-grant university. The main campus is in Pullman, located on the eastern border of the state in the Palouse region, with branch campuses in Vancouver, Spokane, and the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick).
- 1 History
- 2 Organization
- 3 Campus
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Spirit & Traditions
- 6 Notable WSU People
- 7 External links
Founded on March 28, 1890 as the State Land-Grant College, the school changed names to the State College of Washington in 1905, and, subsequently, in 1959, to Washington State University. As a land grant institution, the university has been entrusted by the state of Washington with 190,000 acres (769 km²) of land for agricultural and scientific research throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Washington State University is chartered by the State of Washington. A Board of Regents governs the university and provides direction to the President. There are ten regents, each appointed by the state governor. One of the regents is a student who is nominated by the student body, appointed by the governor, and serves one year. Currently the regents are Kenneth Alhadeff, Elizabeth Cowles, Francois Forgette, Peter Goldmark, Laura Jennings, Joe King, Justin Leighton (student), Chris Marr, Connie Niva, and V. Rafael Stone.
The WSU Foundation is an independent, private corporation with its own Board of Trustees and President that serves as a fundraiser for the university. Currently the President is Len Jessup and the Board Co-Chairs are Mark & Pat Suwyn.
The WSU Alumni Association is also an independent body with a Board of Directors and President. The directors are leaders of regional alumni groups, called districts. The Association's mission is "Encouraging excellence to enhance the quality and global recognition of WSU, Supporting Scholarships to help students attain a WSU education, and Making Connections to connect back to WSU through services and programs for alumni and friends." The Association hosts many socials and networking events for alumni in addition to sponsoring many on campus activities. WSU University Relations also provides support for the Association through the office of Alumni Relations. Currently the Executive Director of Alumni Relations is Tim Pavish and Board President is Larry Arcia.
There are nine faculty colleges on the Pullman campus: Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences; Business & Economics; Education; Engineering & Architecture; Liberal Arts; Nursing; Pharmacy; Sciences; and Veterinary Medicine. In addition, the Honors College serves as an advanced undergraduate study program, and the Graduate School serves as a central organizing administration for those gaining graduate degrees.
The Faculty Senate serves as the sounding board for faculty members. All major academic decisions must be approved by the Senate. The senate is composed of representatives from each academic department.
Currently there is a WSU presidential committee analyzing possibilities to create new synergies through a re-alignment; moving departments, creating new schools, etc.
Two student body organizations represent the students, the Associated Students of Washington State University (ASWSU) and the Graduate & Professional Students Assoscation (GPSA). ASWSU's organizational framework is similar to that of most American governments, complete with an appointed & confirmed judiciary, elected representatives (from districts) to a senate, and an annually elected president & vice-president team. The President also has a paid staff, ranging in size from 6-12 members, depending on the year. As of 2005, the ASWSU president has the distinction of being the highest paid student body president at a public university at $22,000 per year. GPSA is similarly structured, however, with the smaller graduate & professional student population and their relative busy-ness in academic pursuits, GPSA is less active and less influential.
Besides ASWSU, several other student organizations have powerful functions. The Residence Hall Association is a government body for students in the residence halls. Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, and Greek President's Council is the government bodies for university-recognized Greek social houses. The Greek system has traditionally been the most powerful voting block in determining ASWSU elections. The Board of Directors of the Student Book Corporation oversees the campus non-profit bookstore with over US $17 million in annual revenue that redisperses the net income to students. The Compton Union Board oversees the management of the student union building and its services. The University Recreation Board oversees the management of University Recreation. The ASWSU Student Entertainment Board brings in many high-profile speakers and musicians to campus. The Student Alumni Connection hosts several major campus events. The Student Services & Activities Fees Committee disperses over $6 million annually, from a student-imposed fee, to student events and programs.
Recently, the student body has completed several major projects on campus. In addition to passing a $15 transportation fee to support Pullman Transit, the student body has also voted to re-model the Compton Union Building. The building will close down in the summer of 2006 and open sometime in 2008.
In the past, students also had elite, selective organizations. From the 1910s-1970s, the Crimson Circle was an all-male organization that selected the upcoming star jocks, brains, and leaders of the campus and then promoted them to key student leadership positions, while also serving as a social organization. The Mortar Board served these functions for women on campus as well, albeit to a lesser degrees. The Mortar Board continues today, but as an academic honors and community service group that is today, open to both genders. During the 1960s-1970s, there was a secretive organization of fraternity men that promoted members to the ASWSU Presidency and other key positions.
WSU Extension has offices in every county in Washington state, providing training and assistance in agricultural practices, natural resource management, human and life skills, diversity understanding & outreach, the state 4-H program, and many other program areas. WSU Extension faculty and staff have also provided assistance for programs in undeveloped and developing countries. Many faculty members have appointments to do research, teach, and provide extension services.
The WSU Libraries is a centralized administration of seven significant libraries on the Pullman campus (Architecture, Brain Education, Fischer Agricultural Sciences, Health Sciences, Holland, Manuscripts Archives & Special Collections, Owen Science & Engineering), five minor libraries on the Pullman campus (GLBA, Heritage House, Human Relations & Diversity, Music, Women's Resource Center), and five significant libraries off the Pullman campus (Betty M. Anderson, WSU Energy Program, WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Vancouver). WSU Libraries also participates in a consortium with 33 other libraries in an inter-library loan system.
The WSU Museum of Art has several permanent collections, including the Holland Collection; Orton Collection; Goya and Daumier Collections; Chaplin Woodcuts; Consortium Collections; Meyer Shapiro Print Collection; and Elwood Collection; and works by Northwest artists including worth D. Griffin, Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Margaret Tomkins and former faculty members from WSU and the University of Washington; among others. Several other collections and museums also exist on the Pullman campus, including the Connor Museum of Natural History, Culver Collection (petrified pre-historic animals), Jacklin Collection of Silicified Wood & Minerals, McCaw Flourescent Mineral Display, and Museum of Anthropology.
The Pullman Campus is 620 acres (2.5 km²), seven miles from the Washington-Idaho border and Moscow, ID, and located in the Palouse region. The Palouse is defined by unique rolling hills that were created by wind-blown soil, which supports one of the world's most productive agriculture regions in the world (crops are wheat, peas & lentils). Evenings are often highlighted by a spectacular blue-pink sunset, which the first Board of Regents decided to use as the college's colors (later changed to the more masculine crimson & gray). Perched on a hill, the campus overlooks Main Street Pullman. WSU alumni are known for having "Cougar Calves," well-toned legs gained from years of walking the hills of Pullman.
Most campus buildings are red-bricked and can be characterized as utilitarian, a fitting style for the land-grant university work ethic and standards of fiduciary prudence. The heart of campus is Glenn Terrell Mall, named after the WSU President during the tumultuous 1970s (his secretary was known to scheduled meetings 10 minutes later to make up for the time President Terrell would spend talking to students on the way). The library, student union, and main classroom buildings surround the Mall. The football stadium, Martin Stadium, also figures prominently into the campus. The stadium, the smallest in the Pac-10, is situated in the core of the campus with the south grandstands built into the Hill (the IT Building is actually part of the south grandstands), and the library and the biotech building overlooking the west & east ends, respectively.
The exception to the utilitarian style is Thompson Hall, Bryan Hall, and Stevens Hall, among a few others, the oldest & smallest buildings on campus. Thompson Hall was the old administration building, now home to foreign languages, modeled exactly after a French castle. Thompson duplicates incompletion of the French castle with one of its two tourets not having a pitched roof, due to a strange construction tax law in France. Bryan Hall is the landmark building on campus with the huge four-sided clock & carrillon that lights up neon-red in the evening. Stevens Hall is an all-women's dormatory pitched with many gables. Stevens Hall and Thompson Hall are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also notable are the Lewis Alumni Centre and the Webster Physical Science Building. Lewis is an old dairy barn that was renovated in 1989 to be the most luxurious building on campus, with hand-made rugs, palm trees, Italian marble, and fantastic artwork. Rooms in Lewis include the Board of Regents' Boardroom, Lighty Library, Athletics Hall of Fame, Alumni Presidents' Room, and a Great Hall for large social events. Webster is the tallest building on campus with twelve above ground floors of offices and a great roof view of the region. In fact, if you combine Pullman's elevation and Webster's height, Webster is the highest point of learning in all of Washington.
Residential & Commuter Campus
The Pullman campus is a residential and commuter campus, depending on the point of view one takes. Most freshmen live in residence halls, but some live in fraternity and sorority houses. After first year, many students move to apartments, several owned by WSU. Most apartments are less than a half-mile off campus. Apartment renters have the benefit of the free Pullman Transit, noted as moving more people/mile of transit than any other bus system in the U.S. This is a good thing because parking, as on most campuses, is atrocious.
===Residence Halls=== Most of the residence halls are coed, with the notable exception being the hill halls. All residence halls are part of RHA (Residence Hall Association). Each hall has its own government which organizes events, manages the halls budget, and acts as a forum for student involvement. These halls range in size from the very small Stevens Hall (<70 residents), to the massive Rodgers Hall (>700). The highlight of the year for the residence halls is often Homecoming week when the residence halls, off-campus students, and greeks compete in various events. These events, such as the famous chariot race, determine the winner of Homecoming week. In the past decade, the winner of homecoming week was most often a residence hall team.
College Hill & Greek Row
About 17 percent of students are in the Greek system, so Greek Row figures prominently on the campus. Greek row is situated on College Hill (really, the same hill that the university is on), just downhill from Bryan Hall and The Hill Halls (the historic single-gender dormatories), and among the homes of faculty, Greek live-outs, and apartment buildings. Greek Row and College Hill is a diverse community of students, faculty members, and families (including the President's House). Bars, a used bookstore, hair salons, and restaurants line Colorado Street, the main street on College Hill. College Hill can get quite rowdy during the fall football season with many students roaming the streets in the evening in search of a bar or party.
Recreation & Outdoors
Recreation and the outdoors figure largely into campus life. The Student Recreation Center is the largest student recreation center in the country, complete with an indoor track, four basketball courts, two volleyball courts, roller hockey rink, four raquetball courts, swimming pool, 50-some person jacuzzi, free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment, several exercise intruction rooms, massage therapist, and outdoor sand volleyball courts and a low to high ropes course. The campus also has several more basketball courts, dance rooms, a climbing wall, and Outdoor Recreation Center to check out equipment or go on outdoor excursions. A seven mile paved trail links Pullman, WA with Moscow, ID and a bike trail wraps around the entirety of the Pullman campus (about eight miles long). The intramural program is one of the largest in the country; the intramural champion shirt is the most prized shirt on campus. Club sports are also very popular on campus. The campus also boasts a 9-hole golf course, which is undergoing plans to become an NCAA-certified, 18-hole course.
Within fifteen miles, many students hike or bike Kamiak Butte, Steptoe Butte, and Moscow Mountain on the weekends, or cliff jump and boat on the Snake River. Others go a little farther to white-river raft, downhill ski, and hike in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
The weather is beautiful but hot in the summer, with air conditioning required for optimal comfort, windy and occasionally rainy in the fall, cold, foggy and snowy in the winter and rainy again in spring. On any given day, all four seasons can be experienced, sometimes simultaneously. Early fall on the Palouse is wonderful; warm days change to cool, crisp days & evenings.
Washington State University is a member of the Pac-10 athletic conference. Varsity athletics include men's baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, and track & field, as well as women's basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, soccer, swimming, softball, volleyball, tennis, and track & field. In the past WSU had varsity programs of boxing, wrestling, and gymnastics. In 1937, Roy Petragallo and Ed McKinnon won the NCAA boxing championship, WSU's first national championship.
University Recreation also supports 26 club sports, including bowling, men's crew, cricket, cycling, equestrian show team, fencing, polo, men's & women's ice hockey, judo, men's lacrosse, logger sports, rodeo, men's rugby, sailing, ski team, men's soccer, women's fast-pitch softball, tae kwon do, triathlon, ultimate frisbee, men's & women's volleyball, and water polo.
Most Popular Sports
The most-attended sporting events are football games. Over the past four years, the Cougar football teams have been distinguished by three ten win seasons, three top ten poll rankings, and bowl game appearances (a Sun Bowl win in 2001, a Rose Bowl loss the following season, and a Holiday Bowl win in 2003). They also won the Pac-10 co-championship in 2002. Much to the dismay of Washington State fans, those three seasons were marred by three losses to their archrival, the University of Washington Huskies. In 2004, the Cougars stumbled to a disappointing 5-6 record, but did manage to defeat a 1-10 UW squad to end the season. The Cougars are coached by Bill Doba.
Men's basketball is the second-most popular sport. The 1990s saw a major decline in support as the team floundered, however, there are signs of a resurgence under the coaching of Dick Bennett. The 2004-2005 season saw a huge increase in fan support as the team finished within a couple wins of a .500 record (along with a stunning upset win at eventual Elite Eight team Arizona).
Women's volleyball has a cult following. Residents of Stimson Hall, an all-male residence hall, attend every game in crimson shirts that spell "Superfans" on the front and "In Your Head" on the back, as the "Super Fans." The Super Fans have the front rows of the stands and are notoriously roudy, jeering at opponents, especially the good players. It is rumored the WSU head coach sends advanced notice to the Super Fans as to who the key players are in the upcoming matches.
Baseball was also popular during the Buck Baliey and Bobo Brayton eras when WSU was the powerhouse of the Pac 10. Another popular program is track & field, which has given WSU one of its two National Championships.
Washington State's fiercest rival is the University of Washington (and vice versa). The highlight event of the year between the two schools is the Apple Cup, the annual football contest traditionally held the third Saturday of November. WSU has just a 27-63-6 record against the UW in the series, but does currenty hold the trophy.
As the two main public universities in the state, the Huskies and Cougars have a natural geographic rivalry--complete with a fierce bitterness that dates from over 100 years ago. UW stole WSU's stuffed-animal version of the cougar several times from 1917 to 1927. One year, UW strutted the prized possession around Husky Stadium, right in front of the Cougar Section at the Apple Cup. The WSU students couldn't stand this mockery and the brawl ensued, destroying the cat in the process. The WSU Intercollegiate Knights were then formed to care for the mascot more carefully.
WSU also has rivalries with the other Pac-10 Northwest schools, the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. The rivalry with Oregon is relatively minor, but WSU shares a near friendship with OSU, both respecting each other for their underdog status and as fellow land-grant universities.
The rivalry with the University of Idaho Vandals, a land-grant school only eight miles away, is about bragging rights, and less about competition as WSU wins nearly every one of the contests. For the Battle of the Palouse, the annual football game held at Martin Stadium in Pullman, the student bodies get into the action. Starting in the 1910s, the student body of the losing school would walk the seven miles between the towns. This now is done in a shared spirit between the WSU Student Alumni Connection & UI Student Alumni Relations Board, as they relay the game football from Moscow to Pullman before the start of the game. The student body presidents usually make a bet that the president at the losing school must shave his/her head. The editors of the student newspapers also get in on the action, making unique bets, such as marriage (WSU can afford to make more outlandish bets, UI less so).
Spirit & Traditions
Wazzu is a nickname for Washington State University. The term is an attempt to pronounce the University's acronym, WSU, as a single word. It is sometimes misspelled as "Wazoo".
In 2002, new University President V. Lane Rawlins attempted to purge "Wazzu" from usage, a move which carried some weight as the University owns the trademark. Following a firestorm of protest and disgust from students and alumni of WSU, Rawlins reluctantly gave up the effort, though as of 2004 the word "Wazzu" is noticeably absent from Cougar uniforms and printed WSU publications. The term was thought to have strong connotations with WSU's reputation as a "party school", a reputation that Dr. Rawlins has been working to change during his term as University President.
The first school colors were pink and blue, by the first WSU President when he was so in awe of the blue and pink sunset. Research has not uncovered the exact date when the official colors changed, although Crimson and Gray are thought to have been the colors by 1916, when the then-WSC "Indians" won the first annual Rose Bowl.
The first mascot was a terrier named "Squirt". It is believed the terrier was selected because someone brought their pet dog to campus.
The mascot became the Indians during the decade (1910-1919) called the "Carlisled Connection". Three football coaches arrive from the famous Carlisle Indian College in Pennsylvania: Frank Shivley, William "Lone Star" Dietz and Gus Welch.
Following the first football game between WSC and California in 1919 (WSC beat the Cal Bears 14-0), an Oakland cartoonist portrayed the Washington State team as fierce Northwest cougars chasing the defeated Golden Bears. A few days later, on October 28, WSC students officially designated "Cougars" as their team mascot.
"Coug'n It" or "we coug'd it today" refers to the way in which WSU seems to find ways to lose games in bizarre, boneheaded fashion. This often occurs when the Cougars are ahead in the game, but then find a way to lose in the final minutes.
Butch, the Cougar Nickname
In 1927 during the Homecoming football game against the University of Idaho, Governor Roland Hartley presented a cougar cub to the WSU students. Butch was originally to be called "Governor Hartley," in honor of its donor. The governor gracefully declined and suggested the name "Butch," in honor of Herbert "Butch" Meeker of Spokane, who was WSU's gridiron football star at the time.
Governor Clarence D. Martin presented Butch II to the student body in 1938. Butch III and IV were twin cubs presented by Governor Arthur B. Langlie in January 1942. Governor Langlie also presented Butch V in 1955. Butch VI, the last live mascot on campus, died in the summer of 1978. Governor Albert Rosellini had presented him to WSU in 1964 from the Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo.
Today, the mascot is a student who donns a cougar mascot suit. The student mascot is a John Doe; their identity only revealed after their last big event, usually the last home basketball game of the season.
Herbert "Butch" Meeker
Not too many mascots are named after students, so this is worth talking about. Butch, was a stand-out football player in high school in Spokane, but he wasn't getting much attention from college football recruiters. So his high school coach gave a call into the University of Washington. UW declined to offer Butch a spot on the team, citing his small size. However, WSC did.
Butch became the star of the team and an All-American. In his senior year of 1927, the 5-foot-5, 145-pound halfback led the football team to a successful 6-1 season. Most importantly, he scored the winning touchdown against UW. Butch was also Student Body Vice President and a member of Crimson Circle, the prestigious senior men's honorary.
In the late 1800's the bell was mounted on the ground in the center of campus to start and dismiss class. Later, it was placed on top of Old College Hall when automatic bells were used, and then on Bryan Hall. The bell was first rung in victory after WSC beat the Washington Huskies by the women's basketball team in 1902. Later, the members of the Intercollegiate Knights rang the bell following a football win. It was subsequently moved to the present College Hall, and now rests on the west side of the Alumni Centre where it is rung by the Student Alumni Connection after each football win.
Football Touchdown Traditions
After each cougar touchdown, a cannon operated by the ROTC fires a blank off the Compton Union Building and the cheerleaders do a pushup for each point in the cumulative score.
The Palouse Walk tradition started when the sports editor of the Argonaut, the U of I student newspaper, challenged the Evergreen's editor Lloyd Salt. The challenge was that the person would have to walk the eight miles to the winner's campus if their team lost. The Cougars won and McGowan walked the eight miles to WSU. The Idaho Walk lasted through until the 1974 football season. The Cougars only walked three times in that 36-year span.
Intercollegiate Knights was a selective organization of men in the junior class that existed from the early 1920s to the 1960s. Two stuffed cougars served as mascots between 1919 and 1927. They were the target of several attempted cat-nappings so the "Cougar Guard" was formed to protect them. The group eventually became the Cougar Guard Chapter of Intercollegiate Knights.
A gift from the Class of 1910, the Senior Bench is adjacent to yet another WSU tradition, "Hello Walk." Only WSU seniors were allowed to sit on the bench. Any other students observed occupying it were subject to discipline by the Student Vigilante Committee.
In 1922, freshman had to go through a right of passage to be accepted by the rest of the campus. According to the May 20, 1922 Daily Evergreen, freshmen had to accomplish three tasks to "bask favorably in the public eye." They had to paint their class numerals on a 100-foot tall chimney known as the "totem pole," though the Sophomore Class would try to thwart their efforts. The second trial involved meeting the Sophomore Class for midnight combat. The losers were thrown into Silver Lake, a man-made lake located where the Field house stands today. And finally, an official, "lawfully regulated" contest of some sort between the same two classes was held. The freshmen were then obliged to wear their green caps the Monday following registration, rain or shine. On Campus Day, held in May, the freshmen rid themselves of the hats by way of incinerating them in "frosh-fire."
The WSU Creamery has also garnered a reputation for fine dairy products, most notably the Cougar Gold Cheese sold at the Creamery store as well as available for online purchases. The cheese is regionally famous and fetches the price of $18 for a 30 oz can. Marketed as, "a white, sharp cheddar with a taste that resembles Swiss or Gouda. Aged for at least one year." The cheese also comes in vaerious flavors, including, American and Smokey Chedder, Viking, Dill Garlic, Sweet Basil, Hot Pepper and Crimson Fire. []
Presence on ESPN College GameDay
The popular ESPN College GameDay program has as of 2005 never broadcasted from WSU, thanks to the school's rural location and (currently) its low standing within the Pac 10. An unofficial, but well organized effort to place the WSU flag in view of the GameDay cameras for every broadcast has been acknowledged by the GameDay crew, but the show still has no plans to broadcast from Pullman. 
Notable WSU People
Official WSU Sites
- History of WSU
- WSU Heritage page, hosted by WSU Student Alumni Connection
- WSU Virtual Tour
- WSU Office of Institutional Research
- WSU information & statistics page