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College of Arts and Sciences History

Origins of Leap Year

Playing leap frog.With 2020 being a Leap Year—a once-every-four-years manifestation created to deal with our imprecise notion of a year being 365 days—WSU experts looked back on the development of the modern calendar.

Ancient civilizations depended on the cosmos above to guide their decisions, said Michael Allen, a senior instructor in physics and astronomy.

“We know from things like Stonehenge that ancient peoples were aware of the motion in the sky and » More …

Student Leaders of the Month

two portrait imagesMariela Frias-Gomez, comparative ethinic studies and women’s studies, and Hezekiah Willard, history, were recently honored by the Office of Student Involvement as “Student Leaders of the Month.”

The award recognizes distinguished student leaders who impact the WSU community and encourage others to learn and engage. » More …

Quite a crew

WSU rowers in action under a colorful sunset.Cougar Crew, one of WSU’s most successful club sports, is gearing up to commemorate its fiftieth anniversary. Organizers hope to see 1,000 alumni, family, friends, and other supporters at their gala on March 21, 2020. The dinner and auction are part of the team’s annual Cougar Crew Days, which features a reunion, boat race, and opportunities to support the long, proud, and scrappy tradition of Cougar Crew.

“It was totally grassroots,” says former WSU rower Dave Arnold (’88 History). “It was grit and perseverance and scrappiness. People sacrificed to do it.”

They helped build their own boathouse. And when a windstorm blew it down, they helped build it back up. They also built their own dock, hit white caps » More …

Buckin’ hunger

“Let ’Er Buck” sculpture by Austin Barton.In September, competitors in northeast Oregon’s 109th Pendleton Round-Up took part in one of the world’s most famous and colorful rodeos. Set in a wide valley pressed up against the Blue Mountain foothills, the small city of Pendleton has hosted the Round-Up since 1910, a rodeo voted best in the United States for four years running.

Much of the thanks goes to the 1,100 volunteers, including a group of highly engaged Cougar alumni, whose teamwork and hospitality make » More …

Dr. Universe: How do places get their names?

Dr. Universe: a cat in a lab coatOne way a place might get a name is from the person who explored it. The Americas are named after an Italian explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. But Amerigo wasn’t the first person to explore these continents, and people living there when he arrived.

For the most part, people name things because they are claiming possession of a place. Because of that, sometimes the original names of places are lost or erased.

That’s what I found out from my friend Theresa Jordan, a history professor who teaches a geography course at » More …

History project to share stories of fallen WWII Cougars

Archie Buckley and Harry Cole.A legendary quarterback, class president, and triple-sport letterman turned husband, father and high school coach. A first-generation college student and son of a modest farming family. A business major, fraternity brother, and newlywed turned Wildcat fighter pilot. An international scholar who left the Philippines to attend college 7,000 miles away … and never returned.

The touching tales of these four young men’s lives, their connections to Washington State University and » More …

Tri‑Cities student earns national award

Savanna Navarro Kresse.WSU Tri-Cities student Savanna Navarro Kresse was honored in November with a national award for her work in increasing student democratic engagement on campus and in the regional Tri‑Cities community.

Kresse earned an “Honor Role” award through the ALL IN Challenge Awards program, where she was invited to be honored in Washington, D.C. She was selected as one of 10 students for the category, which specifically recognizes student leadership in helping » More …

Student regents: Where are they now?

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.It’s been 20 years since the state legislature created the student position on the Board of Regents, WSU’s governing body.

It’s a big deal; the 10-member board, appointed by the governor, sets policy and provides guidance for University administration. the student regent holds the same voting rights and responsibilities as other regents—with only one exception: personnel issues.

“Having a student voice on the Board of Regents is invaluable,” says Governor Jay » More …

Triple threat: school, sports, and service

Pole vaulting.Senior Troy Gingerich is the only NCAA student-athlete at WSU who is also an active member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program.

Raymond Sun, associate professor of history, remembers his first encounter Gingerich: “He was a quiet guy until we started to have class discussions. What he had to say showed he had » More …