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Ag Ed Teachers, Old Gold, Vogel

Posted by | September 26, 2007

From Coug to Coug

CAHNRS and WSU Extension Marketing and News reporters and interns have been traveling around the state conducting interviews with our high schools’ intrepid and dedicated agricultural education teachers, most of whom are Cougs. The first in this series of interivews (which will feature videos and photos, as well as text) is available at the Alumni and Friends Web site,

On Solid Ground is a weekly, electronic newsletter for the friends and stakeholders of the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), WSU Extension and the WSU Agricultural Research Center.

Oldest Cans of Cougar Gold?

Who owns the oldest unopened can of Cougar Gold, Washington State University’s signature cheese? That distinction may belong to Robert L. Russell, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in hotel and restaurant administration at WSU in 1972.

Tucked away in his refrigerator in Costa Rica are nine cans of WSU cheeses, including two cans of Cougar Gold manufactured in 1976. They are part of a stash of Cougar Gold and American Cheddar he began buying when he came to campus in 1972. They were the only flavors available at that time, he recalls.

What does the cheese taste like after all these years? “The cans that I have opened have been very good,” he said, “a little bit crunchy, but it tastes like aged cheddar to me.”

“It’s the oldest can of Cougar Gold we’ve heard of,” said Eric Needham, supervisor of Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe. “If anyone has an older can, we would love to hear about it.” If you have an older can of Cougar Gold, contact the Creamery by e-mail at

For more information about Cougar Gold, please visit:

Robert Russell, a 1972 WSU alumnus who now lives in Costa Rica, displays unopened cans of Cougar Gold (left) and WSU American Cheddar. Russell began buying cans of cheeses manufactured by the WSU Creamery in 1972 when he started school. His three cans of Cougar Gold, made in 1973, are believed to be the oldest unopened cans of the WSU signature cheese. The American Cheddar was made in 1972.

Vogel Building Dedicated

“Dr. Vogel clearly brought great recognition to Washington State University and throughout our world,” WSU President Elson S. Floyd told an audience of more than 100 at the naming ceremony of the Orville A. Vogel Plant Biosciences Building on September 15.

“His discoveries had a profound impact in addressing world hunger and stimulating unprecedented economic growth in developing countries. Our nation recognized the importance of his work by honoring him with the President’s National Medal of Science in 1975. We are proud of the work of Dr. Vogel. We are proud that he earned his doctoral degree in agronomy here at Washington State University in 1939. And we are proud that his family continues to be part of this remarkable place.”

Vogel served as a USDA Agriculture Research Service scientist and a WSU faculty member from 1931 to 1972. He and his wheat breeding team developed the first commercial semi-dwarf wheat varieties and complementary production systems in the Pacific Northwest. His work with dwarf wheat varieties is widely recognized for laying the foundation for the Green Revolution in developing countries.

For more information about the Vogel Plant Bioscience Building, watch this short video:

While Washington State University President Elson S. Floyd looks on, Dick Vogel, Orville A. Vogel’s son, and Dick’s wife Pat, unveil a replica of a plaque that will be displayed in the main entrance of the Orville A. Vogel Plant Biosciences Building.