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Restoring a musical relic

College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Thomas LeClair is trying to fix a 91-year-old theatre organ he found languishing in the basement of Webster Physical Sciences building on the Pullman campus.

thomas-leclair-sits-among-the-many-pipes-of-the-old-organ-in-the-basement-of-webster-hall
Thomas LeClair works on the old pipe organ.

A biology and music double-degree student, LeClair discovered the existence of the instrument while thumbing through old files in the WSU Libraries Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.

“I was looking up information about the organ I practice on in Bryan Hall, and came across a couple of papers about a different and much older organ in Webster,” LeClair said. “I was like, ‘What? That’s the physics building, they don’t have an organ.’ So, I went to the office in Webster and asked about it, and they told me that, yes, they do in fact have an old theatre organ in the basement.”

In 1927, early Pullman developer P.W. Struppler purchased the organ now in Webster to accompany silent movies at the Spanish Colonial style Cordova Theatre, which opened on Grand Avenue in 1928.

The old pipe organ was donated to WSU in 1961 and installed in the physical sciences building in 1975 at the behest of then-chairman of physics Edward Donaldson for studying musical acoustics.

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WSU Insider

Kennedy Center honors WSU theatre faculty for teaching excellence

Mary Trotter, left, and Benjamin Gonzales
Trotter and Gonzalez

Washington State University theatre faculty Benjamin Gonzales and Mary Trotter received separate awards for outstanding and innovative teaching at this years’ Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region VII, held Feb. 19-23 in Spokane.

Outstanding and Innovative Teaching and Service

Gonzales, a clinical associate professor and WSU faculty member since 2003, received the Horace Robinson/Jack Watson Award.  It is presented, each year, to a Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region VII faculty member who has shown dedication and support for their students above and beyond the normal duties expected of university faculty.

Trotter, a clinical assistant professor at WSU since 2011, was awarded with the Region VII Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE)/KCACTF Prize for Innovative Teaching. This prize is awarded for innovative teaching that supports student success in the area of theatre arts.

KCACTF Region VII includes Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, northern California and northern Nevada and is attended by more than one thousand faculty and students each year.

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WSU Insider

English professor Buddy Levy back on History Channel

Buddy Levy
Buddy Levy

Narrative historian and WSU English professor Buddy Levy is making a return to the History Channel.

Levy, the author of a 2005 biography about early American adventurer Davy Crockett, is among the experts interviewed for the cable network’s latest documentary series “The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen.” He appears in episodes 3 and 4, which air March 21 and 28.

“When we first talked it was clear they were looking to understand more than just who the people were,” Levy said. “They wanted to know about the frontier and what it was like to set out into the unknown.”

The new series by executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio explores the formative period of history featuring what it describes as the first 75 volatile years of the United States—from the Revolution through the California Gold Rush. It was a time when historical figures such as Crockett, Daniel Boone, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, John Fremont and Andrew Jackson spearheaded the fledgling nation’s expansion west into uncharted land.

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Pullman Radio

WSU receives $1 million from Keck Foundation to develop self-replicating materials

Kerry Hipps
Kerry Hipps

Washington State University scientists have been awarded $1 million from the W.M. Keck Foundation to develop molecular machines that self-replicate, producing pounds of 100-percent pure material.

The two principal investigators for the Keck grant, James Brozik, the Donald and Marianna Matteson Distinguished Professor of chemistry at WSU, and Kerry Hipps, Regents Professor of chemistry, have decades of experience in molecular spectroscopy, single-molecule research and material science. Their team will include two postdoctoral fellows and two graduate students who will work full time on the interdisciplinary project for the next three years.

“This cutting-edge research is a prime example of the innovative work being done by our faculty in chemistry, as well as in units all across the WSU system, and contributes to our goal to be among the top 25 public research universities in the nation by 2030,” said Larry Hufford, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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Chemeurope
Phys.org

Early warning system for deadly amphibian pathogen

Caren Goldberg
Caren Goldberg

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a new technology that detects telltale bits of genetic material that living creatures shed into their environment. It enables wildlife scientists to confirm the presence of a wide variety of aquatic organisms without the hassle of finding them.

Colleen Kamoroff, a former WSU natural resources graduate student, and her advisor Caren Goldberg, an assistant professor in the WSU School of the Environment, used eDNA to detect the deadly fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd one month before it impacted populations of mountain yellowed-legged frogs in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park in California.

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Technology Networks
Science Daily