Washington State University Extension

Celebrating 100 Years of Extension

In the News

Extension marks 100 years

By Karen Larsen

0529_ep_ExtensionEventAbout 20 to 30 community members, local government employees and others attended an open house at the Washington State University Extension office in Waterville May 22 to celebrate the 100th birthday of the national Cooperative Extension Service.

A red velvet “Cougar” cake, cupcakes and red punch were available as refreshments. The room was decorated with black and white photos featuring the activities of the Extension service and affiliated 4-H programs from times past.

Many of those who came enjoyed finding the young version of themselves or their friends and acquaintances in the photos. more

Extension Bulletins bear fruits of early research, outreach

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

The “Victory Gardens” Extension Bulletin from 1943 offered readers information useful to the war effort.

The “Victory Gardens” Extension Bulletin from 1943 offered readers information useful to the war effort.

PULLMAN, Wash. – For today’s information seekers, who can find answers in minutes with a few keystrokes, it’s hard to imagine a time when rural dwellers were cut off from knowledge for the most fundamental reasons. No electricity. No car. No phone. No nearby expert to explain why a cow gave birth to her calf prematurely.

Such was the information landscape for farmers and homemakers in Washington at the turn of the century. The state’s Extension Service – working closely with the fledgling State College of Washington – sought to fill the void by publishing documents rural citizens could hold in their hands and dog-ear over repeated readings for reference: Extension Bulletins.

As the nation approaches the centennial anniversary of the May 8, 1914, Smith-Lever Act – which created the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service – Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) is digitizing a century of Washington Extension’s written expertise in a new collection, “Extension Bulletin Archives” (
). more

Young 4-Her Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Young 4-Her Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Anniversary stories speak to enduring value of Extension

By Kate Wilhite, College of Agricultural, Human & Natural Resource Sciences

PULLMAN, Wash. – “If you eat, Extension has helped you. Whether you know it or not,” said Debbie Niehenke, a 4-H leader and farmer in Whitman County, Wash. Niehenke recently shared her thoughts about Washington State University Extension as part of an oral history project launched in honor of the service’s 100th birthday.

In 2014, WSU and fellow land-grant universities nationwide celebrate the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act. The legislation, signed by President Woodrow Wilson on May 8, 1914, created the Cooperative Extension Service, a national network of educators who extend university-based knowledge to the people.

In coming months, WSU Extension will embark on the next 100 years with celebrations and service projects hosted by county offices statewide. The agency will also reflect on the past through the creation of a living history, “The Voices of Extension,” on its website ( more

Creating a Picture of Extension

Commemorative PosterOne of the ways we are letting people know that WSU Extension is turning 100 years old is with a commemorative poster (shown below). The poster creates a colorful and lasting reminder of this milestone in our state’s history.

Illustrator Robin Moline’s artwork captures the diverse beauty and geography of Washington State from east to west, from the rural to the urban landscapes. The image also speaks to the many program areas Extension is involved in, including agriculture, gardening, communities and energy.

Traces of times gone by

The settings in Moline’s vibrant paintings have a nostalgic, yet surreal quality. She is inspired by the art of a time gone by. “The Regionalist artists of the ’20s likeGrant WoodMarvin Cone and Thomas Hart Bensoninspired my folk realism style,” Moline said. “Although my color palette has a little more modern or contemporary feel and I use more saturated, intense colors.” more

WSU extension celebrating 100 years of service to families in Whatcom County

By Drew Betz
Courtesy to the Bellingham Herald, May 24, 2014 

Washington State University Extension is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The Smith-Lever Act that authorized the nationwide cooperative extension partnership between the federal government, the land-grant colleges and county government to bring the benefits of education to the people was signed on May 8, 1914. We are proud to be part of that legacy in Whatcom County.

The historical association with home economics is as old as our system. The Department of Domestic Economy was established at WSU, then WSC, in 1903 and the state’s first extension home economist was hired in 1913. more

Extension is 100 years old…and counting

With additional funding and new faculty, WSU extension is not resting on its laurels.

Good Point: by Dr. Desmond Layne, Washington State University

During my 15 years at Clemson University in South Carolina prior to moving to Washington, I would regularly go running for exercise during the lunch hour. Often, I would run along the path through the Woodland Cemetery on campus, where there’s a historical marker for a very important South Carolinian, Asbury Francis Lever.

Lever was both a U.S. congressman and a ­Clemson College life trustee. While in the U.S. Congress from 1901 to 1919, he chaired the House Agriculture Committee and cosponsored the Smith-Lever Act of 1914. On May 8,  we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of this act that established the national Cooperative Extension Service at the state agricultural
colleges. more

Cooperative Extension: A Century of Innovation

By Frances I. Gould, Professor and Director Communications, LSU AgCenter, Douglas Steele, Director, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, William J. Woodrum, Centennial Consultant, Extension Committee on Organization and Policy

From the Journal of Extension, February 2014

As Cooperative Extension celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014, the Land-Grant System will be reflecting on the first century of accomplishments and preparing for a second century of education. This commentary is the first in a series of six throughout the year that will analyze the rich history of Cooperative Extension, examine its role in contemporary society, and help us collaboratively envision the future of this unique American educational endeavor. more

Civic Agenda: Education, research drive Whatcom County extension office

By Drew Betz
Courtesy to the Bellingham Herald, January 19, 2014

Washington State University Whatcom County Extension is a small but busy part of government in Whatcom County. The WSU Whatcom County Extension office has been providing high quality public education that improves the quality of life for local residents since 1917. Before updating you on our many accomplishments, I would like to share the history of the nationwide system. Many people know us as Cooperative Extension. Our name has changed a little and our programs have grown, but we are the same organization.

In 2014, we celebrate the centenary of Smith-Lever Act, which established the Cooperative Extension Service in 1914, a unique educational partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the nation’s land-grant universities and our county government partners that extends research-based knowledge through a state-by-state and county-by-county network of extension educators. For 100 years, the Smith-Lever Act has stimulated innovative research and vital educational programs for youth and adults through progressive information delivery systems that improved lives and shaped a nation. more

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