PULLMAN, Wash. — Bob Smawley, a Pullman native who has spent almost his
entire professional career at Washington State University, received the WSU
Alumni Achievement Award today at the alumni association’s board of
directors luncheon in the Lewis Alumni Centre. He was recognized for
“unequalled loyalty, enthusiasm and dedication to WSU and the alumni
association,” and for his “timeless investment in future generations of
During a career that has spanned nearly half a century, the 1952 WSU general
studies graduate has served the university in many capacities. After spending
a year in Spokane as a salesman, he was hired by WSU as athletic ticket
manager and also coordinated the Cougar Club. Later he became manager of
university purchasing, director of general services, director of the Beasley
Performing Arts Coliseum, and director of university relations. Re retired as
assistant to the vice president for university affairs in 1993, but has continued
to work for the WSU Alumni Association.
“I never regretted my decision to come back to WSU,” he said. “Most of the
responsibilities I’ve had relate to providing service and assistance to WSU
students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.”
Smawley joined the alumni association board in 1967 and served as secretary
for 20 years. He co-chaired the alumni association centennial committee, and
was alumni association president during its centennial in 1989-90.
Recognized as a Pullman and WSU historian, Smawley developed and narrates
a host of slide presentations for various community and university
constituencies, including student, faculty, staff and alumni groups, as well as
class reunions and retirements.
Throughout his career at WSU, he has served as a mentor for many WSU
students, and is a past adviser to his fraternity, Sigma Nu. He has received
many awards at the university, including the Outstanding Service Award in
1993, and was named Staff Member of the Year in 1994.
He was a member of the WSU “fact-finding” team that toured five alumni
centers in the Midwest when the university was looking for ideas to
incorporate in the Lewis Alumni Centre before it was built in 1989. Since that
time, he has devoted countless hours to planting and maintaining the flowers
and shrubs that grace the center’s landscape. In 1998, the Lewis Alumni Centre
courtyard was named in his honor.
He and has been a member of more than two dozen WSU and community
committees over the years, including president of the Pullman Chamber of
Commerce in 1977-78.