Washington State University Vancouver set to fete 25th

'Spirit of adventure' marked early days of campus

By Susan Parrish, Columbian Education Reporter

Published:

 

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o What: Washington State University Vancouver's 25th anniversary celebration. Butch T. Cougar balloon animals, Cougar Gold cheese tasting, help artist Erin Dengerink complete a sidewalk chalk mural, guided campus tours, live music, art show, hands-on activities.

o Where: The Quad at WSU Vancouver, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.

o When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

o Cost: Admission and parking are free.

o Information at the school's website.

1989: Founded as one of the four campuses in the WSU system.

1990: Opens in Bauer Hall in Clark College for upperclassmen and graduate students.

1996: The 351-acre Salmon Creek campus opens.

2006: The first freshmen are admitted.

o Students: 3,062 in 2013-2014.

o Faculty: More than 150 full-time, Ph.D. faculty.

o 13 buildings, 14 computer labs, 200-seat lecture hall.

View WSU Vancouver timeline.

o What: Washington State University Vancouver’s 25th anniversary celebration. Butch T. Cougar balloon animals, Cougar Gold cheese tasting, help artist Erin Dengerink complete a sidewalk chalk mural, guided campus tours, live music, art show, hands-on activities.

o Where: The Quad at WSU Vancouver, 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave.

o When: 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

o Cost: Admission and parking are free.

o Information at the school’s website.

Washington State University Vancouver celebrates its 25th anniversary Saturday with tours, music, art and more.

The campus has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Bauer Hall at Clark College, where the library was a converted space with industrial metal shelving holding a row or two of required textbooks.

1989: Founded as one of the four campuses in the WSU system.

1990: Opens in Bauer Hall in Clark College for upperclassmen and graduate students.

1996: The 351-acre Salmon Creek campus opens.

2006: The first freshmen are admitted.

Twenty-five years ago, Renee Hoeksel started the nursing program at WSU Vancouver with 12 nursing students and a satchel of supplies she schlepped across the Clark College campus from a closet in Bauer Hall to her lab classroom.

As the branch campus grew, Hoeksel filled two large satchels with blood pressure cuffs, percussion hammers, tongue depressors, disposable gloves and gowns. Even though nursing students were required to bring their own stethoscope to class “someone always forgot theirs, so I always brought some,” said Hoeksel, now 67.

o Students: 3,062 in 2013-2014.

o Faculty: More than 150 full-time, Ph.D. faculty.

o 13 buildings, 14 computer labs, 200-seat lecture hall.

By the time the nursing program outgrew two satchels, Clark College had remodeled and offered a shelf for nursing supplies in the classroom building. No more schlepping. But it wasn’t the end of adventures for the pioneering faculty at the new branch campus.

“Everybody had a spirit of adventure,” Hoeksel said. “But everybody knew what they were getting into. It had tremendous risks and benefits.”

View WSU Vancouver timeline.

“The first years were fun because we were creating everything from scratch,” said Carol Siegel, professor of English and American studies, who started that same year with Hoeksel.

At the first commencement, Siegel was charged with awarding diplomas to the students in humanities and social sciences. Sam Smith, the university president, handed Siegel an index card with all the students’ names on it. She didn’t need the card.

“I knew all the students by name,” Siegel said. “I knew them well.”

“There was this sense of possibility,” said Jerry Goodstein, professor of management.

Hoeksel, Siegel and Goodstein are the only three original faculty members who are still teaching at WSU Vancouver. All three were hired in 1990.

“We were making things up as we went along,” Goodstein said. “Making things up on the fly and patching things up when necessary. There was a tremendous spirit of working together across academic lines all down the hallway. We operated very much as an interdisciplinary team. It was a very rich experience.”

The first students were juniors, seniors and graduate students, and Goodstein has remained in contact with many of them.

“Many students had been waiting to return to school,” Goodstein said. “They were very passionate and really interested in being back in the classroom. They had a strong sense of purpose.”

That first year, Hoeksel had 12 registered nurses returning to earn their bachelor’s degree.

“It was very challenging that first year,” Hoeksel said. “A new program in a new place in temporary quarters. People had to be very motivated.”

Now Clark College’s nursing program is housed in the Clark College Building at the WSU Vancouver campus. WSU Vancouver has about 200 nursing students.

“That closet in Bauer Hall was the beginning of what continues to be an outstanding partnership between WSU Vancouver and Clark,” Hoeksel said. “It was absolutely tremendous fun. And it still is.”

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