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April 5: Virtual reality entrepreneurship journey focus of Lanning Lecture

By Tina Hilding, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture

Sankar Uma Jayaram
Sankar Uma Jayaram

PULLMAN, Wash. – Two former Washington State University professors will describe their journey to becoming Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as part of the Lanning Distinguished Lecture.

Sankar and Uma Jayaram will speak on “Bringing VR Experiences to the World: A Journey from WSU to Silicon Valley” at 3:10 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in Goertzen 21. A reception will follow.

The technology the Jayarams developed was recently deployed for the first virtual reality experience of the Winter Olympics and was streamed to 10 rights holders worldwide.

Sankar Jayaram is the chief technology officer at Intel Sports, driving the digitization and personalization of sports for fans through immersive technologies. Through his influential work in virtual reality over the past 25 years, he has brought VR to a wide spectrum of domains – from live events in sports and concerts to VR for engineering applications and training.

Sankar saw the potential of VR well before the recent rise in interest in the field. He has brought to market highly innovative solutions and products combining virtual reality, immersive environments, powerful user controllable media experiences, and social networks.

The work done by his team in virtual assembly and virtual prototyping in the 1990s is seminal and continues to be widely referenced by groups around the world. He has published and lectured extensively in the field of virtual reality.

Along with Uma Jayaram, he co-founded several companies including VOKE (acquired by Intel in 2016), Integrated Engineering Solutions, a company providing customized engineering software solutions. and Translation Technologies, a company that provides feature-based translations between CAD systems. He was also a professor at WSU and co-founded the WSU Virtual Reality Laboratory in 1994.

Uma Jayaram is the managing director of engineering for Intel True VR, a live-event virtual reality platform that is part of Intel Sports.

Uma is globally recognized for her research in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and engineering applications and has published and lectured extensively. She was an associate professor and associate director of WSU’s Virtual Reality Lab.

One of the first women to receive an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Kharagpur, Uma is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, recognized for her contributions to virtual reality and engineering. She also received a lifetime achievement award from the International Society of Agile Manufacturing.

The Lanning Distinguished Lecture was established by the WSU Foundation to educate engineering students on such topics as ethics, integrity in business, relating to others, professional responsibility, communication, self-development and/or leadership. The lectureship is named for Frances Lanning Dillon, the late wife of civil engineering alumnus Jack Dillon, ’41.



  • Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, (509) 335-5095, [email protected]
March 26: National Academy of Engineering member to speak at Ensor Lecture
L.S. Fan

PULLMAN, Wash. – National Academy of Engineering member L.S. Fan will speak on chemical looping technology for combustion, gasification, reforming, and chemical syntheses at the annual Ensor Lecture on Monday, March 26.

A reception will start at 3 p.m. followed by the lecture at 4 p.m. in the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center on the WSU Pullman campus.

Fan is Distinguished University Professor and C. John Easton Professor in Engineering in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. His expertise is in fluidization and multiphase flow, powder technology and energy, and environmental reaction engineering. He invented seven industrially viable clean fossil conversion processes as well as the electrical capacitance volume tomography for 3-D, real time multiphase flow imaging that is currently being used in academia and industry. He has authored or co-authored five books, 420 journal papers, and 55 patents.

Chemical looping technology is a manifestation of the interplay among a broad spectrum of science and engineering subjects in connection to metal oxide physics, chemistry and reaction engineering, and particle science and technology. With major advances made recently on the bottleneck areas in this technology development, commercialization is now realistically possible and can be projected to take place in the near future.

The Ensor Lectureship in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering was established in 2016 to encourage communication and collaboration on emerging ideas in any area related to chemical engineering, bioengineering, aerosol technology and nanotechnology. David Ensor (’63, chemical engineering) and his wife, Sara, established the lectureship as a reflection of their deep interest in higher education and their strongly held belief in the empowerment that education provides for one’s life.



  • Tina Hilding, communications director, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, 509-335-5095, [email protected]


March 31: WSU Edible Book Festival registration deadline

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

Edible Book FestivalPULLMAN, Wash. – Play with your food and your words during Washington State University Libraries’ third annual Edible Book Festival on Friday, April 6, part of WSU Mom’s Weekend activities.

Registration for entries closes March 31. To register and for more information, visit the library guide at http://libguides.libraries.wsu.edu/ediblebooks. Participants can register individually or as a group. Entry rules are simple: Submissions must be made from edible materials and somehow relate to a book.

Photo of entry title Olive - R - Twist
Entry titled Olive-R-Twist

Edible book festivals take place around the country and world to celebrate books, art, food and culture. They got their start with the first International Edible Book Festival on April 1, 2000. Since then, organizations and universities have served up their own versions of the popular event.

WSU’s festival begins with public viewing and judging at 2:30 p.m. in the Terrell Library atrium, with winners announced at 3:30 p.m. Awards will be given for people’s choice, best visual presentation and punniest/funniest. Light refreshments also will be available.

“We really hope that people will take inspiration from a favorite book or author and run with it,” said organizer and first-year experience librarian Erica England. “Last year’s festival drew more than 100 people who voted for their favorite entry, including many WSU moms with their students. We’d like to see this become a popular Cougar tradition as well as a celebration of literature.”

“Celebrity judges” for the event will be Noel Schulz, WSU’s First Lady and a professor in the WSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Jamie Callison, executive chef and catering manager with the WSU School of Hospitality Business Management; Sarah Frame English, a WSU alum, donor and librarian with the Libraries of Stevens County (Wash.); and Marie Dymkoski, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.



  • Erica England, WSU Libraries’ first-year experience librarian, 509-335-8950, [email protected]
  • Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries’ public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744, [email protected]
March 27: Common Reading participants invited to 80s Game Night & Crimson Key Gala

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

80s game night posterPULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University students, faculty and staff are invited play retro board games at the 80s Game Night & Crimson Key Gala from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Terrell Library Atrium.

The event is part of activities planned around the 2017-18 Common Reading Program book “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline.

The Crimson Key game was created in summer 2017 by staff and faculty. The goal was to help participants increase their engagement with the campus and learning activities, with clues and phases linked to book topics. Points were earned by solving clues, riddles and puzzles.

While nearly 1,700 students — freshmen through grad students — earned one or more points throughout fall and spring semesters, everyone attending the gala is eligible to win raffle prizes at the event. They include:

  • Tickets to the March 28 Pullman premiere of Steven Spielberg’s movie “Ready Player One,” courtesy of Village Centre Cinemas
  • CRIMZONE football passes for Dad’s Weekend 2018
  • Framed “Ready Player One” movie posters
  • Common Reading books and posters signed by Cline
  • Cougar gear
  • Cougar fleece blanket and throw
  • Gift cards to local business, including passes to regional gaming centers

Those attending the gala can play Clue, Game of Life, Trivial Pursuit, Twister and more ‘80s board games, as well as try out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets at three stations in the library. Refreshments will include famous ‘80s candies plus popcorn and soda.

“The gala gives WSU students one last opportunity to be immersed in the themes of perseverance, personal transformation and collaboration that Ernest Cline’s book raises,” said Erica England, first-year experience librarian with WSU Libraries. “This event is also a chance for attendees to see the technology side of libraries through the Oculus Rift headsets, which are available for checkout in the Dimensions Lab.

“Plus, I’m a huge fan of ‘80s everything, so what better way to celebrate the end of the Crimson Key game than to throw an ‘80s party?” England added.

The gala is sponsored by WSU Libraries in partnership with the Common Reading Program, Office of Undergraduate Education, Student Involvement and the Student Entertainment Board. For more information about this and other Common Reading Program events, visit https://commonreading.wsu.edu/.



  • Erica England, WSU Libraries’ first-year experience librarian, 509-335-8950, [email protected]
  • Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries’ public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744, [email protected]
March 27: RSVP for State of the University address
WSU President Kirk Schulz

PULLMAN, Wash. – Kirk H. Schulz, president of Washington State University, will deliver his second State of the University Address to faculty, staff, students and community members at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Bryan Hall Auditorium. Q&A and a public reception will follow.

The WSU community statewide is invited to attend President Kirk Schulz’s annual State of the University address and reception, Tuesday, March 27 from 3:10-5:10 p.m. in Bryan Hall auditorium. The address, which is one of WSU’s 2018 Showcase activities, will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person.

The past year has been marked by remarkable achievements across the University’s statewide enterprise. From record-breaking enrollment to major steps forward in advancing health care, from unparalleled success in the athletic arena to WSU’s growing presence in the Puget Sound area, there is much to celebrate.

President Schulz will highlight examples of notable progress from the past 12 months during his remarks and point out how those successes set the stage for the University to become one of the nation’s top 25 public research universities in the coming years.

The address will be available for group viewing at WSU Spokane, WSU Tri-Cities, WSU Everett, WSU Vancouver, and the WSU Downtown Seattle office.

Q&A with the president and a reception in the Bryan Hall foyer follows the address.

Those planning to attend in Pullman are asked to RSVP at https://universityevents.wsu.edu/stateoftheuniversity/.

WSU News merging with WSU Insider

The WSU News website and e-newsletter are being merged into WSU Insider.

Set for March 28, this is part of an overall effort to continue improving communications throughout the WSU system.

As part of the merger the WSU News e-newsletter will be discontinued effective March 27, and subscribers will receive the daily Insider email instead.

The Insider is the central hub for news and information of interest to faculty, staff and others within the WSU community. It was formally launched in January, includes WSU Announcements, and has seen daily online traffic growing rapidly.

Also as part of the merger, the Insider is being updated with new content categories and will include timely homepage listings from the revamped WSU events calendar. You will be able to access the Insider from both the original Web address insider.wsu.edu and from news.wsu.edu.

The external communications functions of the WSU News website, meanwhile, are being repurposed into a dedicated platform featuring all university news releases and other information designed to assist working journalists.

WSU Tri-Cities Woman of Distinction nomination deadline March 26

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – Individuals are encouraged to nominate distinguished female students, staff, faculty members, alumnae or community members who have made notable contributions to the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus through service, teaching or involvement.

The deadline to nominate for WSU Tri-Cities’ Women of Distinction program is midnight March 26. Individuals should submit their nominations at https://tricities.wsu.edu/women-of-distinction/.

“We have incredible female leaders and mentors here at WSU Tri-Cities and in the community that both move the university forward and make our region, state and nation a better place,” said Chris Meiers, WSU Tri-Cities vice chancellor of student affairs. “I’m excited to welcome nominations for our next class of talented and distinguished female individuals who continue to set an incredible example in our community.”

The selection committee welcomes nominations of women who meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • Exhibits leadership in her discipline or area of expertise
  • Serves as role models and/or mentors to other women
  • Advocates for positive social change that helps close the leadership gap and create a more equitable society
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the missions of WSU Tri-Cities
  • Demonstrates a commitment to social justice and inclusion
  • Has earned respect within their communities
  • Supports policies, practices, attitudes, and/or actions that are intended to produce equitable outcomes for all
  • Gives back to the community through their time, talent, and/or resources

The honorees will be recognized at a photo exhibition and opening reception at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 20, 2018, in the CIC Art Gallery.



  • Chris Meiers, WSU Tri-Cities vice chancellor of student affairs, 509-372-7381, [email protected]
  • Danielle Kleist, WSU Tri-Cities special assistant to the vice chancellor for student affairs, 509-372-7104, [email protected]
  • Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities public relations specialist, 509-372-7333, [email protected]
MEDIA ADVISORY: WSU President Schulz to give State of the University address March 27

PULLMAN, Wash. – Kirk H. Schulz, president of Washington State University, will deliver his second State of the University Address to faculty, staff, students and community members at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Bryan Hall Auditorium. Q&A and a public reception will follow.

The address will be available by videostream on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxbEAQW-IVY

Outside of Pullman, viewing locations will be at the WSU Spokane Academic Center, Room 20; WSU Tri-Cities East Auditorium; WSU Vancouver, Engineering and Computer Science Building, Room 105; WSU Everett, Room 101; WSU Downtown Seattle Conference Room 1.

More information about the 2018 State of the University address can be found here: https://president.wsu.edu/state-of-the-university/

Media Parking: Media with WSU Media Parking Permits and permanently marked media vehicles can park in any green, yellow, red, and blue lots, and metered parking zones.

Please note: Media vehicles are not allowed to park on Veterans Mall or Library Mall.

If media vehicles are unmarked and do not have a permit, they will be allowed to park at no charge in the Daggy Garage starting at 2pm. View the WSU Pullman parking map here https://transportation.wsu.edu/File/Parking-Map-8-28-17.pdf.

Equipment and streaming: Due to Bryan Hall Auditorium space limitations and ADA access requirements, media with tripods are only allowed in the lower-floor central auditorium reserved area. Please be set-up by 2:50 p.m.. Tripods will need to be able to set up over a row of chairs with a downward slope.

Individual streaming of the address is not advised due to wireless network connectivity limitations in Bryan Hall Auditorium. News outlets interested in streaming the address are encouraged to post and embed the WSU stream, found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxbEAQW-IVY

Media contact:
Matthew Haugen, WSU News, 509-335-0487, [email protected]

Weathercatch: Meteorological madness ushers spring, snow to follow?

By Nic Loyd, WSU meteorologist, and Linda Weiford, WSU News

Weathercatch Photo LogoHello, spring. Tuesday’s vernal equinox marked the start of astronomical spring, meaning that tulips, Canada geese and softball games are on the way.

Unlike other parts of the country, the day actually felt like spring, with partly sunny skies and temperatures in the 50s across the Inland Northwest.

Yellow Buttercups Weather conditions sure were erratic leading up spring’s first day — not only from day to day but within a single day. Partly sunny in the morning. Rain showers in the afternoon. Snow flurries at night. Patches of fog and freezing rain in between.

And who could forget the “false spring,” or three-day tease we experienced March 11–13, when temperatures topped out at 63 degrees in Pullman and Spokane and a remarkable 70 in Lewiston/Clarkston. We barely had time to pull out the gardening tools when grey clouds scuttled in and temperatures turned chilly again.

Through most of March, weather conditions have bounced around like Peter Cottontail. That said, it’s no surprise that a robust frontal system is edging out the sun and warmth we enjoyed the first day of spring. Expect wet and windy weather through Thursday, followed by a temperature drop and rain showers – maybe even some snow – on Friday and into the weekend.

Weathercatch is a bimonthly column that appears in The Spokesman-Review. Nic Loyd is a meteorologist with Washington State University’s AgWeatherNet. Linda Weiford is a WSU news writer and weather geek. Contact: [email protected]


March 27: Celebrate WSU authors at Crimson Reads

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

Crimson Reads 2018 bannerPULLMAN, Wash. – The published works of Washington State University authors will be recognized at the fifth annual “Crimson Reads: A Celebration of WSU Authors,” 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, in the Terrell Library atrium. Crimson Reads is part of WSU Showcase, the annual celebration of faculty, staff and student excellence.

“Crimson Reads publicly acknowledges and honors our faculty, students, staff, alumni and retired university community members who have authored, co-authored or edited a book, including e-books, within the past year,” said Chelsea Leachman, co-organizer and science and instruction librarian at Owen Science and Engineering Library. “The event is an opportunity to create a greater awareness of the diverse publishing activity and achievements of WSU authors.”

Robert Clark, editor, WSU Press

Robert Clark, editor-in-chief of WSU Press, will discuss the development of a publishing project in a presentation titled “Hustling Hanford: From Manuscript to Book” during the Crimson Reads reception, which is open to the public.

According to Clark, WSU Press is launching a new series on the Hanford nuclear site, beginning with a four-volume collection based on oral histories. The series will also include collected papers from a symposium held in Richland, Wash., last year, a photo book and more.

Clark has worked with faculty and staff at WSU Tri-Cities, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Park Service, the Hanford History Project and other stakeholders in the Hanford area on series development.

“My intent is to describe the acquisition editor’s job in developing a concept and working with a variety of authors to build the publishing project,” Clark said. “After planting the idea of a broadly focused collection of histories and contemporary studies, the job of WSU Press has been to move the project forward to manuscript stage and then into production. The adage about herding cats is apropos.”

A member of the Association of University Presses, WSU Press is known for its books on the American West, particularly the history, prehistory, environment, politics and culture of the greater Northwest region.

The press has published roughly 200 titles and earned recognition through such organizations as the American Library Association, the Pacific Northwest Historians Guild and the Washington State Library, as well as receiving Washington State Book Awards and Idaho Book Awards.

For more about Crimson Reads, visit http://libguides.libraries.wsu.edu/crimsonreads. Learn more about Showcase at https://showcase.wsu.edu/.



  • Chelsea Leachman, WSU Libraries’ science and instruction librarian, 509-335-8527, [email protected]
  • Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries’ public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744, [email protected]