List of Washington State University people

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The Washington State University Alumni Association defines an alumnus as anyone who was a student at WSU and is no longer attending. This page lists accomplished alumni and faculty members of WSU.

Notable alumni[edit]


Animal husbandry[edit]

  • Leo Bustad, 1941 B.S. Ag., ’48 M.S. Ag., ’49 D.V.M., Dean of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine from 1973–83, Pioneer in the international human-companion animal bond movement. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1984.
  • Helen Elaine Freeman, American conservationist and endangered species advocate, who specialized in saving snow leopards.
  • John Gorham, 1946 B.S. Vet. Sci., '46 D.V.M., '47 M.S. Vet. Sci., Researcher in slow virus diseases, fur animal diseases, & animal models of human genetic diseases. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1993.
  • Jack Gorski, 1956 M.S. Ani. Sci., 1958 Ph.D. Ani. Sci., discovered the estrogen receptor. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999.
  • Charles Schroeder, 1929 D.V.M., Director of the San Diego Zoo for 19 years. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1979.

The arts, literature and media[edit]

  • Sherman Alexie, 1994 B.A. Am. St., author & film maker. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2003.
  • Jon Jon Augustavo, Film and Music video director & cinematographer
  • Rudy Autio, American sculptor, best known for his figurative ceramic vessels.
  • Kieffer A. Bryant, 1962 B.A., Former San Diego radio show host and philanthropist, alumni member of the fraternity Phi Kappa Theta. Currently lives in Bellevue with his new wife Eva and hosts a radio show on Seattle's 1250 AM Radio Disney.
  • Bob Condotta, Seattle Times writer.
  • Greg Copeland, Daytime anchor at NWCN & weekend morning anchor at KING-TV, both in Seattle.[1]
  • Mary Turner DeGarmo, '26 B.A. Educ., pioneer in working with music & Braille, developed the first and only detailed, comprehensive teaching text on transcribing musical compositions into Braille for blind musicians, a volume used worldwide. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1988.
  • Stephany Fisher, 1991 anchor at WGCL-TV in Atlanta.
  • Limuel B. Forgey III, 1994 B.M. Performance. Nationally acclaimed and award winning baritone singer.
  • Deborah Gardner, Peace Corps volunteer murdered in Tonga in 1976. Subject of American Taboo, by Philip Weiss
  • Monica Gayle, 1982 anchor at WJBK-TV in Detroit.
  • Art Gilmore, 1931 Voice actor and announcer. (Deceased)
  • Kathi Goertzen, 1980 B.A. Comm., KOMO-TV (Seattle) News Anchor. (Deceased)
  • Wes Henricksen, 2003 B.A. Bus. Adm., author of "Making Law Review".
  • E. Garry Hill, editor, Track & Field News
  • Keith Jackson, 1954 B.A. Sp. Comm., ABC-TV sports commentator. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1978.
  • Eric Johnson, anchor at KOMO-TV in Seattle.
  • Edward Kienholz, American Pop Art installation artist.
  • Gary Larson, 1972 B.A. Comm., "Far Side" cartoonist. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990.
  • Dolph Lundgren, B.S. Chemistry, Swedish actor, director and karateka.
  • Kevin McCall, American singer, songwriter, and producer.
  • Scott MacDonald, American television actor.
  • Patrick F. McManus, American outdoor humor writer. Studied at Washington State College before it became Washington State University.
  • Edward R. Murrow, 1930 B.A. Speech, Father of Television News Broadcasting, WWII Radio Correspondent, Hear It Now radio program host, See It Now television program host. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1963.
  • Mary Nam, anchor, KOMO-TV in Seattle.
  • Barry Serafin, 1986 B.A. Hum., ABC news correspondent. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991.
  • Rod Simons, host of Game On on KMSP-TV in Minneapolis.
  • D.C. Simpson, creator of the webcomic Ozy and Millie and the political cartoon I Drew This.
  • Jayceon Terrell Taylor (Game), Rapper
  • Lisa Van Cise, meteorologist, KING-TV in Seattle [2]
  • Mark Wright, weekday morning anchor of KING-TV in Seattle[3]
  • Frances Yeend, American lyric Soprano opera singer.


  • Paul Allen, 1977 (1973–75), co-founder of Microsoft, owner of Vulcan Enterprises, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, and philanthropist. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999.
  • Scott E. Carson, B.A. Bus. Adm., President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airlines.
  • Bill Mundy, recognized as one of the leading authorities in real estate appraisal in the United States.
  • Robert Stevenson[disambiguation needed], 1929 B.A. Econ., CEO, president, and board chairman of Allis-Chalmers; trustee of Carroll College; board chairman of the Medical College of Wisconsin; director of Northwest Mutual Life Insurance Company, Marshall & Ilsey Bank, and Universal Oil Products Company. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1983.
  • Mark Suwyn, 1967 Ph.D. Inorganic Chem., CEO of NewPage Corp.; former chair and CEO of Louisiana-Pacific Corp., 1996–2004; former executive at International Paper and E.I. DuPont; members and former chair of the WSU Foundation Board of Trustees.
  • Julian Chang, 1998 B.A. Bus. Adm., Founder of
  • Justin Esch, Co-Founder of J&D Foods-makers of Baconsalt & Baconnaise.

Government, law and politics[edit]


  • James Blackwell, 1959 Ph.D. Soc., national study ranked him fifth among black sociologists, living & dead, who made the most significant contribution to the field. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002.
  • Gary J. Coleman, general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Timothy Leary, 1946 M.S. Psych.
  • Laurence Peter, 1963 Ed.D., co-author the international best seller, 'The Peter Principle: Why Things Go Wrong,' & author of three sequels, 'The Peter Prescription', 'The Peter Plan,' and "The Peter Pyramid." Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1980.
  • William Julius Wilson, 1966 Ph.D. Soc., wrote 'The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass and Public Policy' and 'The Declining Significance of Race'; one of nine people to receive the National Medal of Science for creativity, resolve & innovation. Received the WSU Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1988.


Science, space and technology[edit]

Sports and athletics[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

  • James Asay, Institute for Shock Physics researcher. Member, National Academy of Engineering.
  • LeRoy Ashby, Regents Professor of History, twice Washington Professor of the Year, author of "With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture Since 1830."
  • Brett Atwood, print and online journalist. Co-founder of Rolling Stone Radio and former managing editor at, RealNetworks and Billboard magazine.
  • Rolla Kent Beattie, botanist[7]
  • Buck Bailey, WSU baseball coach.
  • V.N. Bhatia, former WSU Honors Program director, Knight of Denmark, Dannebrog Order.
  • Anjan Bose, electrical engineering professor and former dean, developed training simulators and computational tools for reliable power-system operation. Member, National Academy of Engineering.
  • Walter Clore, horticulture researcher, Father of Washington Wine Industry.
  • R. James Cook, plant pathologist, cropping systems and biotechnology researcher, led first field test of a genetically modified organism in the Pacific Northwest. Member, National Academy of Sciences.
  • Rodney Croteau, leader in biosynthesis of cancer-fighting Taxol, expert on terpenoids. Member, National Academy of Sciences.
  • J. Thomas Dickinson, physicist, known for work in fracture, tribology and laser interactions with materials. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • William Henry Dietz ("Lone Star Dietz"), WSU football coach, won First Annual Rose Bowl, professional football coach.
  • Don A. Dillman, sociologist, Regents Professor, Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy, major contributions to modern survey methods. Past president, American Association of Public Opinion Research. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Elson S. Floyd, Professor, Higher Education Administration, and President, Washington State University
  • Roald H. Fryxell, WSU professor of geoarchaeology in the Department of Anthropology. The Fryxell crater on the Moon was named after him.
  • Norman S. Golding, food scientist, inventor of Cougar Gold cheese.
  • Yogendra Gupta, physicist, director of WSU Institute for Shock Physics. Fellow, American Physical Society. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • John Hirth, mechanical and materials engineer who characterized and modeled the behavior of materials at atomic and microstructural levels, including thin film formation useful to the semiconductor industry. Member, National Academy of Engineering.
  • Mark G. Kuzyk, physicist, discoverer of the Kuzyk limit and the Kuzyk quantum gap.
  • Kelvin Lynn, materials scientist, renowned for "positron annihilation" research. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • John M. Madsen, former dean and general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • George Marsaglia, March 12, 1924 – February 15, 2011, an American mathematician and computer scientist. established the lattice structure of linear congruential generators, developed some of the most commonly used methods for generating random numbers and using them to produce random samples from various distributions. Professor of Computer Science in the 1980s
  • Frances K. McSweeney, psychologist known for work on behavior and reinforcement, with findings on short-term changes in reinforcer effectiveness. Was WSU Meyer Distinguished Professor of Psychology. Fellow, Association for Behavior Analysis.
  • Margaret Saunders Ott, pianist and music educator
  • Charles Pezeshki (Dr. Chuck), WSU professor of mechanical and materials engineering 1998–present, is currently the Past Chair of the University Faculty Senate. As the founder and Director of the Industrial Design Clinic, he is viewed by most MME students as the best WSU professor - of all time.
  • V. Lane Rawlins, professor of economics and WSU President Emeritus
  • Clarence A. "Bud" Ryan Jr., isolated and synthesized systemin, first polypeptide hormone found in plants, and discovered that plants produce natural insecticides in response to pest attacks. Member, National Academy of Sciences.
  • Yacov Shamash, Chairman, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Washington State University (1985-1992), Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, Fellow of IEEE
  • Michael Skinner (biologist), molecular and reproduction biologist, discoveries in epigenetics including reduction in male fertility for four generations. Findings on "Discover" magazine's "100 top science stories of 2005."
  • Samuel H. Smith, WSU President Emeritus; former NATO post-doctoral fellow.
  • William Jasper Spillman, WSU professor of agriculture, wheat breeder, independently rediscovered Mendel's Law of Heredity, Father of Agricultural Economics.
  • Orville Vogel, WSU and USDA wheat breeder, developer of semi-dwarf wheat varieties that fueled the Green Revolution. Recipient, National Medal of Science.
  • Diter von Wettstein, plant geneticist, internationally recognized for genetically modifying barley for brewing processes and disease resistance. National Academy of Sciences foreign associate. Member, Royal Danish Academy of Sciences.
  • Allen I. White, WSU professor of pharmacy faculty 1940-1960, dean of the WSU College of Pharmacy from 1960-79. White pioneered off-campus training for the college.

Notable regents[edit]