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Don Adams leads pioneering air pollution research

Don Adams, founder of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, developed and patented an analyzer that measures atmospheric gases.  Adams led pioneering research in the measurements of air pollution and its effects from lumber mills and smelters after being asked to put aside his research in extracting alumina from clay to investigate complaints about lumber mill odor. In the 1960’s, he was able to demonstrate for the first time that sulfur emissions were causing downwind die-offs of pine trees.

Adams was born in Spokane and grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attending then-WSC and earning a bachelors in analytical chemistry in 1941 and a masters in chemistry in 1942.  Don Adams passed away in August, 2006.



Ralph Yount receives the President’s Eminent Faculty Award

Ralph Yount, a distinguished chemist and Regents Professor Emeritus, receives first WSU Eminent Faculty Award, granted for distinguished lifetime service at WSU. His research was funded through National Institutes of Health without interruption for 40 years, one of the longest continually funded projects at NIH.


Dr. Irwin “Ernie” Rose receives 35th Regents’ Distinguished Alumni Award

Nobel Prize winner in chemistry Dr. Irwin “Ernie” Rose received the 35th Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award. A graduate of Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School, he attended WSU in the mid-1940s and was influenced by Herb Eastlick, a prominent WSU zoology teacher.


WSU professors Rod Croteau and Linda Randall elected to National Academy Of Sciences

WSU biochemists Rod Croteau and Linda Randall were elected to the National Academy of Sciences. They joined four other WSU researchers in the academy: C.A. “Bud” Ryan, a biochemist; Jim Cook, a USDA plant pathologist at WSU; John Hirth, a materials scientist; and Dieter H. von Wettstein, a plant geneticist.


Film actor Dolph Lundgren attends WSU for one year

Dolph Lundgren, best known for his action roles in Rocky IV (as Ivan Drago) and The Expendables, spent the 1976-1977 school year at WSU as an exchange student, working on a chemical engineering degree. He was also a member of the Cougar Marching Band. Contrary to some reports, he did not actually graduate from WSU. Instead, he finished his coursework at Sweden’s Royal Academy and the University of Sydney in Australia.


Hans "Dolph" Lundgren, page 302, 1977 Chinook
Hans “Dolph” Lundgren, page 302, 1977 Chinook

“Father of the atomic submarine” graduates with a degree in chemistry

Phillip Abelson graduates in chemistry and two years later earns his master’s degree in physics from WSC. He is later recognized as the “father of the atomic submarine”, the co-discoverer of neptunium (element 93), and later serves as editor of Science magazine and president of the Carnegie Institution. He is also the first recipient of the WSU Regent’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He is the son of Olaf and Elle Abelson, who first attended WSC in 1905 and built a home where Fulmer Hall now stands.  The Philip M. Abelson Hall was named in his and his wife’s honor in 2002.



WSU researchers receive grant to purchase a low-grade nuclear reactor

In September 1953, Dean S. Town Stephenson and a dozen science colleagues began planning to acquire a low-grade nuclear reactor for research.  They received a $300,000 grant to construct a building to hold a swimming pool type reactor. In 1957 the Atomic Energy Commission gave $105,000 to purchase the equipment. In 1961, the WSU nuclear research program completes its first chain reaction.



WSC reorganizes into 5 colleges and 4 schools

In June 1917, President Holland announces that the institution will reorganize into 5 colleges (Agriculture, Mechanical Arts and Engineering, Science and Arts, Veterinary Science, and Home Economics) and 4 schools (Mines, Education, Pharmacy, and Music and Applied Design), with deans as administrative heads. The College of Home Economics is to be one of the first of its kind in the nation. However, World War I interrupts these plans, delaying implementation of the new structure to the 1919-1920 school year.