Washington State Magazine

Winter 2008

Winter 2008

In This Issue...


On the waterfront: Tacoma's past may be a key to its future Twenty years ago, the City Club of Tacoma approached the city with a plan to unify the waterfront and build a walking path from the Tacoma Dome to Point Defiance. The painstakingly researched report urged that the entire waterfront be redesigned as a people place. Lara Hermann '95 was thrilled when a city hall worker handed her the document. "It was like a present just lands in your lap," she says. by Hannelore Sudermann; Photos by Ingrid Barrentine { WEB EXCLUSIVE–COORDINATES: Tacoma's Waterfront. An interactive map and photo gallery. View photographer Ingrid Barrentine's images along the Tacoma waterfront. }

Fine Specimens Washington State University is home to three superb research collections, all begun soon after the young agricultural college opened its doors. What makes them research collections, says Ownbey Herbarium director Larry Hufford, is "sheer numbers." The Conner Zoology Museum has about 69,000 specimens, the Herbarium about 375,000, and the James Entomology Collection more than 1.25 million. These numbers make WSU's collections among the best in the nation. by Cherie Winner { WEB EXCLUSIVES: Videos and stories }

Rethinking the fundamentals Feeding the world may require us to use old knowledge in new ways. Although the prices of fuel and commodities have dropped since early summer, the volatility of their relationship will surely dog us for the foreseeable future. While stock prices may temporarily overshadow food prices in the public consciousness, some farmers and researchers are looking at different ways of doing business, perhaps moving the land-grant university back to its founding purpose. by Tim Steury

L'Américain en Provence A story about an expatriate—and about his wine. Provence is a world away from Bellevue, where Denis Gayte '97 grew up. And French winemaking is another world away from the public relations career he abandoned. So there he was, with his French heritage and a newly minted "young French winemaker" degree—but still referred to (and always affectionately) as l'Américain. by Andrea Vogt


{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Afghanistan success story - a gallery }



:: SPORTS: Unstoppable Rueben Mayes

:: LAST WORDS: Murrow's door


:: IN SEASON: A Season for Seeds

{ WEB EXCLUSIVESVideo: "This is W.S.C." - A movie introducing Washington State College in 1952, narrated by Edward R. Murrow. }


Cover illustration: Marbled murrelets take flight, by Darlene McElroy.

Last Words
The Murrow Door on display at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.


The Murrow Door on display at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

Murrow's door

by | © Washington State University

First came the doorknob.

The workers in the office of Washington State University's school of communication didn't know what to expect when the first of two shipments arrived from New York last spring. But they opened the box, took out the old doorknob and passed it around, wondering what sort of door it belonged to, wondering whose hands had touched it.

A few weeks earlier Darby Baldwin, an assistant in the dean's office, had called two CBS retirees on the East Coast because the husband had written a thoughtful opinion piece about his time working with Edward R. Murrow. It turned out that Joe Wershba was a close colleague of WSU's most famous journalism alumnus. His wife Shirley also worked as a news writer and producer at CBS during the time Murrow took on Senator Joe McCarthy and for years after. "We were all worshippers of Edward R. Murrow," says Shirley Wershba, calling from their home in New York.

When Murrow was at CBS, the big black metal door to his office was rarely closed, unless he was writing an end piece for one of his shows or dictating something important. "He was very accessible," says Shirley. "We worshipped him as if he was a man on the mountain, but he was always available to us.

In 1965, after Murrow left CBS and shortly before he died, the network moved to the west side of Manhattan. The Wershbas and some of their coworkers realized that Murrow's office would be dismantled. "His name was still on the door," she says. "We couldn't let them throw it out."

It was decided the Wershbas would take the door since they had a big garage in which to store it. For a brief time, the couple considered using it. "But it just wouldn't fit in my house," says Shirley. "So we started thinking that it would belong someplace where it would be cherished."

The Wershbas had once traveled to Pullman with Diane Sawyer and several other well-known CBS journalists. They felt comfortable with campus and the work being done to preserve Murrow's legacy. That's why when Darby called, they decided they had a solution to a problem that had been lingering with them for more than 40 years. "I wasn't sure what to think," says Baldwin of their offer of the door. When she turned to her co-workers and asked if the school was interested, she was met with a resounding "Yes."

The door was unearthed from the garage where it had been stored flat with a curtain over the top to keep it clean. Faculty and staff from the Murrow school arranged for a shipper to arrive at the Wershbas' home, crate up the big black metal door, and take it away.

It finally arrived last spring during the Murrow symposium, and just as WSU's Murrow School was about to be transformed into the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. Casey Murrow, Ed Murrow's only child, was on hand to help unwrap it.

The Murrow Door is on display in the main hallway of the new addition at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

Categories: Communication | Tags: Edward R. Murrow

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