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“Coug Dad” honored posthumously with Chosen Coug Award

Chosen Coug Award recipient Patrick Lane and his daughter Katie cheer on the Cougs in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Katie Lane).

Emotions ran deep on Saturday morning while Washington State University junior Katie Lane talked about her father, Patrick, during the Chosen Coug Award ceremony at the Round Top Public House Pavilion in Pullman. 

Patrick Lane was honored posthumously as this fall’s Chosen Coug Award recipient. The award, managed by the Division of Student Affairs and sponsored by BECU, recognizes individuals that have made a distinct impact on a student’s experience at WSU and is given twice a year during WSU’s Fall and Spring Family Weekends. 

“Patrick was the selection committee’s unanimous choice to receive the award from the 40 nominations we received,” said Angela Lenssen, who led the review and selection process. “His nomination rose to the top because he was such a strong supporter of Katie throughout her time at WSU.”

Always a Coug dad

Katie Lane was thankful for the opportunity to share with the audience what made her dad, in her words, “awesome.”

“He was a big jokester,” Lane said. “I know he would be high and mighty right now about being selected as the Chosen Coug.” 

Reading from her nomination letter, Lane described how Patrick took a day off from work in August to help her move into her Pullman apartment. Before he left for his home in Monroe, Wash., they hugged, and he told her he was proud of her. It was the last time she saw her dad, who passed away three weeks later from COVID-19.

“My dad kept pictures I drew as a kid at his desk just so he had an excuse to bring me up to strangers,” she said. “My dad was proud of me. My dad was a Coug dad. And he always will be.”

Lane said her father was always there for her during challenging times, such as when she felt like quitting school because classes were difficult, or when the radio in her car exploded near Orton Hall, filling her vehicle with smoke.

“I was sobbing, terrified,” she said. “But my dad taught me to laugh when things get hard.”

That advice will always remind her of the time they spent together during WSU move-ins, watching Cougar football, or just hanging out on the Palouse.

“Washington State University means a lot to me,” she said. “It’s where I am getting my dream degree, it’s where I’ve made friends, it’s where I’ve lost friends. But now, and forever, Washington State University is the last place I got to hug my dad.”

Supported by many

In addition to the moving presentation by Lane, the audience heard several other great stories of student support.

Jessica Abercrombie, a senior at WSU Pullman, nominated her mom, Jennifer, a nurse, for helping her cope with mental health challenges. Damandip Baath, a sophomore at WSU Pullman, nominated her father Harnek, a long-haul truck driver, for rearranging his travel schedule to help her move to Pullman and supporting her quest of becoming a doctor. Five students -senior India Dykes and four graduate students Ruchira Tandel, Caitlin Grover, Boulder Estelle, and Steven Peyron – nominated Arda Gozen, associate professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, for his outstanding mentorship and genuine care for students.

Kari Sampson, director of development for Student Affairs, said it is evident in the nominations that students are receiving support from parents, boyfriends and girlfriends, spouses, uncles and aunts, friends, faculty members, and more.

“There are many people who are influential in our students’ lives who are not immediate family members,” Sampson said. “It’s great to see that they are supported by different people and want to recognize them.”

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