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Randy Morgan retires from teaching after 38 years |

Categories: 1970s | Professional or career event

Randy Morgan ’77 Music writes:

I have been teaching at Enterprise High School since my graduation from WSU in 1977, I have taught instrumental music, grades 5-12, and High School choir. I have also taught Math, from 7th grade math through Pre-Calculus. I have coached Jr Hi football and basketball, and have coached High School football (10 years as head coach), and High school softball.

I retired from teaching from Enterprise in 2015 after teaching for 38 years.

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In memoriam of Prof. Walter Hale Gardner |

Categories: Award or honor

Walter Hale Gardner February 24, 1917 – June 11, 2015

Professor of Soil Physics at WSU from 1950 to 1983 

Walter was born in Beaver, Utah, on February 24th, 1917, to Willard Gardner and Rebecca Viola Hale. He was fourth in a family of seven children raised in Logan, Utah in a home just off the Utah State University campus. As a youth, Walter excelled at sports, particularly football and tennis, and he was a gifted mathematician (at a glance, young Walt would accurately calculate lumber loads and board feet at the mill). He also was an accomplished glass blower, providing scientific lab equipment for the science faculty at the university to make extra money. Just after college, he used that experience as a designer at a scientific instrumentation company in Chicago. He was active in his high school paper, serving as managing editor. He often said that he would have been delighted to pursue journalism as a career had his passion for science not eclipsed his interest in writing.
Walter held a deep respect for his father, a renowned scientist known as the Father of Modern Soil Physics (Walter’s children often called him the Son of Soil Physics), and their interests in the physical properties of soil ran parallel courses. Walter received his scientific schooling at Cornell University and then later at Utah State University where he was awarded the first Ph.D. granted at that institution.
Walter served in the Army Air Corp as a navigator on B17 Bombers. He served under his uncle, General Grandison Gardner, and was promised that he wouldn’t enjoy great promotional opportunities because of the family tie, but that he would “never lack for interesting things to do.” That proved to be the truth, and Walter had significant input as an instrumentation designer (the man could build anything!) for the state of the art Climatic Hangar on Eglin Field, and on the project to develop the U2 Missile based on the German Buzz Bomb near the end of the war. Walter retired as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve.
After the war, Walter met and married Barbara Brown who was a student at Utah State. The two made their family home at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Walter was a Professor of Soil Physics who was dedicated to the success of his many graduate students, and Barbara was a homemaker and devoted mother of five.
Walter and his family traveled extensively. They lived a year in Renkum, Holland, while Walter was on a Guggenheim Fellowship at Wageningen Agricultural College and another in Vienna, Austria, where he worked with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Notwithstanding the travel, Walter very purposely designed his family life around the significant health needs of his sweet wife. He was attentive and sacrificing, giving up many opportunities for wealth and fame in the field of science in order to sustain an ordered and manageable family life.

Walter graciously let professional opportunities pass and doted on his wife until her death, after which he said his one lasting resentment was that he didn’t have one more day to care for her. He was as attentive to his family’s needs as he was to his companion’s, and his family fondly remembers his complete devotion to his wife, his faith, and his science. He was as comfortable at a chalkboard staring thoughtfully at the longest mathematical equation anyone has ever seen, as he was doing the dishes, or playing on the living room floor with his children. He was a peaceful and dignified man who cherished a quiet testimony of Jesus Christ.
Walter was a calm and thoughtful father. He was conscious of his health and remained active well into his nineties. Growing from his love of tennis, Walter took up racquetball at the age of fifty and eventually won a number of gold medals in the Senior Olympics. His guilty pleasure was to lure unsuspecting young racquetballers into a game with an old man and then “skinnin’ ‘em” on the court– which amused his wife very much.
Among Walter’s best remembered professional accomplishments were his authorship of a textbook and a movie that have changed the way scientists and industrialists understand the non-intuitive way water moves through soil. The book, and particularly the movie, continue to be popular among people who deal in soils and the supporting science remains valid. Walter was influential in the field of science and held many association positions including president of the Science Society of America. So mathematical and analytical was his mind that he once remarked after listening to a piece of music, “It’s like listening to math.”
Walter retired from Washington State University to St. George, Utah, where he lived until shortly after Barbara’s death. He then moved to Provo, Utah, to be near family where he died on June 11, 2015, of complications of old age– a malady he didn’t particularly believe in. He is survived by his children, Jeanne Minert (Roger), Marolyn Mortensen (Dale), Janet Roach (Todd), Laurie Boyce (Oscar),Willard Boyd (Diana; and brother, Willard Gardner.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 26, 2015 at the Sundberg-Olpin Mortuary, 495 South State Street, Orem, Utah. The family will be pleased to greet visitors immediately following the funeral. A graveside service will be held Saturday, June 27, 2015 at 10:00 am in the Washington City Cemetery in Washington, Utah. Nothing would please Walter more than donations to the HHT Foundation to support efforts to cure the disease that took his sweetheart’s life.


Volunteer of the year |

Categories: 1950s

Lee Ruck 54 Home Ec and jim Ruck 54 were awarded Volunteer of the Year at CAHNRS Honors


Ed Schlect to Join Avista Corp as Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer |

Categories: 1980s | Award or honor | Engineering and Architecture

Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA) today announced a change in its officer team, approved by the Board of Directors. Vice President, Controller and Principal Accounting Officer Christy Burmeister-Smith has announced plans to retire on Oct. 1, 2015, after serving the company and its customers for 35 years.

Ed Schlect, former executive vice president of corporate development at Ecova, will join the Avista Corp. officer team on Sept. 8, 2015, as vice president and chief strategy officer. In his role, Schlect will be evaluating growth opportunities and innovative services while applying his knowledge and expertise around data intelligence.

Schlect is a long-time industry executive and respected professional with 30 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to his role at Avista, Schlect was one of the founding members of Ecova and served in a variety of senior leadership roles; most recently as an executive vice president of corporate development. He graduated from Washington State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Schlect is a licensed professional engineer, certified energy manager and green building engineer with an emphasis on project management and construction contracting.


Dr. Thomas F. Meyer Named AVMA President-Elect |

Categories: 1970s | College of Arts and Sciences | Professional or career event

Dr. Thomas F. Meyer has been named president-elect of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Meyer, who was elected to the post by the AVMA House of Delegates (HOD) at its summer session on July 10, succeeds Dr. Joseph H. Kinnarney, who has officially assumed his role as AVMA president.

As president-elect, Meyer will assist the president in supervising all the business affairs of the AVMA. He also will serve on the AVMA Board of Governors, which acts as the executive committee of the association, and will be the presiding officer at all sessions of the HOD. Meyer will become AVMA president in 2016, upon expiration of the current president’s term of office.

“Over time, veterinary professionals have created better solutions to meet the changing needs of society. We need to continue our good work in developing new technologies to detect, prevent and treat diseases in animals and people. It is also important that we increase awareness of the other ways veterinary professionals play a critical role in our society. For instance, the public may be less familiar with the role veterinarians play in inspecting food for harmful bacteria, monitoring lakes and rivers to keep water safe to drink, discovering ways to restore and protect endangered species, and delivering public health programs around the world,” said Meyer.

“As the profession continues to evolve, I am committed to preserving the trust that the public has placed in us, as veterinary professionals, to care for their health and the health of their animals,” he added. “As president-elect, I look forward to helping the AVMA advance its mission of advocating for its members and advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.”

Meyer and his wife are co-owners of a mixed-animal practice in Vancouver, Wash., which is certified by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Shortly after graduating from Washington State University (WSU) College of Veterinary Medicine, he established Mountain View Veterinary Hospital, which employs five associate veterinarians.

He has served organized veterinary medicine in many capacities, including leadership positions at the local, state and national levels. Meyer served on the AVMA Board of Directors from 2008-2014, and as its chair from 2013-2014. He is a past chair of the AVMA House Advisory Committee and also previously represented private practice-predominately equine on this committee. He served in the AVMA House of Delegates as a delegate or alternate delegate for 20 years and is a past president of the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association, where he was honored as its Veterinarian of the Year in 2004. He also was chair of the Washington-Oregon-Idaho Steering Committee and was the equine representative on the AVMA Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee. Meyer’s interest in leadership development led him to be an advocate for the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Experience, an experiential leadership program for students and faculty from across North America that teaches life skills in better communication and collaboration with one another.

“Through his many years of experience as a mixed-animal practitioner, Dr. Meyer has a strong understanding of veterinary medicine from many perspectives,” said AVMA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron DeHaven. “He has demonstrated his commitment to advancing the profession and providing quality, veterinary care to improve animal and human health. Dr. Meyer is a compassionate individual whose management, decision making and communication skills will be a tremendous asset to the AVMA as we work to address important issues in veterinary medicine now and into the future.”

Meyer has been an active member of the Washington Veterinary Medical Association, the AAHA, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He is a past recipient of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Veterinary Alumni Award for Excellence in Practice (2010). Meyer received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree from WSU, where he previously completed a master’s degree in zoology, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Central Washington State College.

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