On Jan. 13, 1892, 30 young men and women entered a small brick building in Pullman to enroll in the new college that would become Washington State University. Many were from rural farms and were grateful for the opportunity to learn but college would offer much more than an education. They became citizens of a singular society with its own rules, traditions and sense of belonging. In “Instilling Spirit: Students and Citizenship at Washington State, 1892-1942,” author William L. Stimson traces the roots of Cougar spirit.Stimson tapped personal letters, scrapbooks, oral histories, diaries and newspaper stories to show how the first 50 years at WSU reflect how colleges and universities nationwide evolved as places that cultivated free-flowing societies and civic-minded people. Pullman’s isolation fostered relationships between students and professors and through upheavals in student body politics, the growth of the Greek system and mascot antics, students came to influence faculty and administrators.
Stimson is a journalism professor at Eastern Washington University and a WSU graduate. The 176-page book is $22.95 and available through WSU Press.