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WSU Highlights by Decade

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Over the decades, Washington State University has developed a rich history. Founded in 1890 as the state's land-grant institution, WSU has grown from a single campus in Pullman to an internationally respected, multi-campus system.

Historical highlights include:

  • Instruction beginning in 1895 in what will become the College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • The story of football player Butch Meeker, for whom the WSU Cougar mascot is named, noted in 1926.
  • Naming, in 1957, of Frances Penrose Owen as the first woman on the WSU Board of Regents.
  • Eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980, covering the campus in one-half inch of volcanic ash.
  • Selection in 1986 of WSU biochemist Clarence A. "Bud" Ryan for membership in prestigious National Academy of Sciences, the first WSU professor so honored.
  • Grand opening of Honors Hall in 2001, the new home of the nationally-acclaimed WSU Honors College, celebrating the college‚Äôs 40th anniversary.
  • WSU is ranked among the nation's top 50 public research universities.
  •  Elson S. Floyd taking office in 2007 as WSU's tenth president.
  • $25 million grant for School of Global Animal Health from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, largest in WSU history.

There's much more! Take a "stroll" through the decades by visiting WSU's history page. Or explore the history of WSU through the eras of its presidents.

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