The school's name has changed several times throughout its history, from Washington Agricultural College and School of Science to State College of Washington, and finally Washington State University in 1959. The most influential figure in WSU’s history was Enoch A. Bryan, Washington State’s president in the 1890s. Bryan brought stability and respectability to Washington State.
Today, Washington State offers more than 200 fields of study and is known for being committed to research. WSU is also the state's largest land-grant university.
At the heart of Washington State’s 620 acre campus is the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall, known simply as The Mall. Surrounded by the library, student union, and classroom buildings, The Mall is the perfect place to hang out between classes. Most of WSU’s buildings have brick exterior, and vary on style. Some buildings have a Classical and Georgian style, while others are more modern. WSU is also known for its hilly terrain, thus giving the students what are referred to as “Cougar Calves”.
The Pullman campus of Washington State University is 620 acres and is located in the Palouse region, seven miles from the Washington-Idaho border and Moscow, Idaho, home of the University of Idaho.
The Palouse is defined by unique rolling hills that were created by wind-blown soil, which supports one of the world's most productive agriculture regions. The main crops are wheat, peas, barley and lentils. Evenings are often highlighted by a spectacular blue-pink sunset, which the first Board of Regents decided to use as the college's colors (later changed to the current crimson and gray). Perched atop College Hill (one of the four main hills in Pullman), the campus overlooks downtown Pullman. WSU alumni are known for having ‘Cougar Calves’- well-toned legs gained from years of walking the hills of Pullman.
During the football season the students in the marching band all meet in front of Adams Mall for a small pep-rally. Athletes and students show up for about 30 minutes of cheering and singing the school fight song. It is really neat because everyone dresses up in Crimson and Grey and creates posters with clever cheers on them. After this, everyone who is 21 goes to the bar and continues the Cougar Spirit.
The University also holds many events during Homecoming where the entire Greek community and residence hall system compete against each other. From painting on windows to chariot races and more, each event is worth points and at the end of the week there is a winner who has bragging rights for the next year. The majority of the student body gets involved and participates making the week very fun. The annual Homecoming Football Game follows usually on Friday or Saturday. Students go all out and use Homecoming week as a fundraiser to raise money for different charities as well as even make t-shirts every year. This is the biggest week-long event with the majority of students participating.
The Greek community has many unofficial traditions but the most prominent is the one that happens at the end of rush. Rush is where students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority go to school a week early and visit every house. At the end of this time the Potential New Members (PNMs) all meet at "The Church" at the start of the morning. The Church rings its bells and at that time the PNMs run to the house they decided to rush. The anticipation is high and is very exciting when students run to a house. The entire house waits and cheers as new members run to their house.
Paul Allen (attended), co-founder of Microsoft, owner of Vulcan Enterprises
Drew Bledsoe (1993 B.A. Educ.), Former NFL quarterback
The Game (attended), rapper
Ryan Leaf (1998), former NFL quarterback
Gary Larson (1972 B.A. Comm), "Far Side" cartoonist
Edward R. Murrow (1930 B.A. Speech), WWII radio correspondent and Father of Television News Broadcasting
Mark Rypien (attended), former NFL quarterback, Super Bowl XXVI MVP with the Washington Redskins.
Washington State’s athletic programs are D-I and participate in the Pacific-10 Conference. The school’s most popular Cougar teams are football and men’s basketball. Both teams have had much recent success, with the football team making bowl game appearances, and the men’s basketball team made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008.
The biggest rivalry for WSU is the University of Washington. Both teams take part in the Apple Cup, which is the annual football game between the two schools. Another big natural geographic rival for WSU is the University of Idaho located only eight miles from WSU. There is an annual football game played between both teams called the “Battle of the Palouse”.
Washington State University also has 27 club sports teams and intramural teams that many students participate in.
University of Washington stole WSU's stuffed cougar a number of times between 1917 and 1927. One year at the Apple Cup, UW paraded the prized possession around Husky Stadium in front of the Cougar Section, inciting a brawl between the rival fans and destroying the cougar.
The school’s first school colors were pink and blue, said to be chosen to represent the blue and pink sunsets of the Palouse.
Following a 1919 football game, a cartoonist portrayed the Washington State team as cougars chasing the Golden Bears (the mascot of the opposing team). A few days later, Washington State students officially designated "Cougars" as the team mascot.
Although it is common at Washington State for students to live off-campus after freshmen year, the university does offer housing for upperclassmen as well. WSU also operates a number of apartment buildings and offers numerous living options:
At Washington State University, a large number of students decide to live in the residence halls from their freshmen year until graduation. WSU offers co-ed dorms, freshman dorms, upper-classmen dorms, Honors dorms, and others that concentrate on certain topics such as athletics or academic achievement. Many of the dorms are for one sex only.
The major female dorm is Regents Hall just across from the Football Stadium. Located in the center of the residence hall is a dining hall referred to as Northside Dining Hall and is known as the best place to eat. This dorm offers single and double rooms and is one of the largest residence halls on campus. Many girls decide to continually live here because of its safety and convenience.
The other most popular dorms are those that usually house freshmen and tend to be the wildest. Stephenson Complex is comprised of three identical buildings standing over 10 stories high. Stephenson East, Stephenson North, Stephenson South are all connected by the Stephenson center where there is an espresso bar, convenience store and computer lab with a dining hall downstairs. This is mainly a freshman co-ed hall (alternating floors). In addition, Streit Perham Hall is mainly a freshman hall located near the Recreation Center and the rooms are single or double occupancy. Streit Perham and Stephenson have a reputation of housing rambunctious freshmen who can sometimes get so out of control that the cops have to crackdown.