PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University alumnus Dr. Robert Gary will present to WSU a bust of black pioneer William Owen Bush during a ceremony March 4 at Lewis Alumni Centre. A 4:30 p.m. program will highlight the 4-6 p.m. event.
“This presentation is a way to remember those that came before us and the gift of education that one black pioneer bestowed upon the Northwest,” said Felicia Gaskins, associate vice provost.
In 1889, William Bush was elected to the first state legislature after Washington became a state. However, his greatest accomplishment comes from his role in helping pass legislation establishing a college for the study of agricultural science. The college later became Washington State University.
In June of 1987, members of the African American community in Seattle and the Bon Marche department store formed a group whose goal was to find a way to pay tribute to early black pioneers of the Pacific Northwest. The result of this collaboration was the creation of a written document and exhibit entitled “Northwest Black Pioneers: A Tribute.” In the exhibit is a bust of William Owen Bush, which caught the eye of WSU’s African American Alumni Alliance.
“This is important to WSU and the history of Washington. Without the vision of this pioneer, WSU wouldn’t exist,” said Gary.
Inspired by Bush’s contributions, Gary is presenting a replica of the bust on behalf of the Alliance.