Walking on the Mall, colleagues remember their friend

Every day hundreds of Cougs walk to class on the brick-laden ground at the heart of WSU. The plaza, a common space for students to come together, is known today as the Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.

Glenn Terrell, for which the Mall is named after, served as president of WSU from 1967 to 1985. During that time he made numerous changes to better accommodate the university’s students, faculty and staff.

Terrell died on Friday, Aug. 30, at the age of 93.

Mary Gilles, business and economics librarian, works at the WSU Terrell Library, also named in honor of Terrell.

“He was a really, really friendly person,” Gilles said. “I’m pleased as punch to work in a library named after him.”

Terrell loved to interact with students, faculty and staff on his routine walks across campus, Gilles said.

“It was a very human thing for him to do as president,” she said.

Various issues during Terrell’s presidency made his job more difficult, but he handled them well, Gilles said.

During his tenure at WSU, the issues Terrell faced included activism on the Pullman campus concerning racism, feminism and the Vietnam War. Another challenge was the 1970 student strike, which followed the killing of four students at Kent State University.

“He got us through the turbulent ’60s and ’70s,” Gilles said. “That was no mean feat.”

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, who has taught at WSU for more than 33 years, also had fond memories of Terrell.

“One thing I always enjoyed was seeing him walk from his house, the president’s house, across campus to French Ad,” Johnson said.

Johnson admired Terrell’s ability to recognize WSU students and alumni long after meeting them.

“Three years later he would still recall their names,” Johnson said.

Terrell was born in 1920 in Tallahassee, Fla. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Davidson College, his master’s degree in psychology from Florida State University and his doctorate from the University of Iowa. He taught psychology at Florida State and the University of Colorado.

Prior to serving at WSU, Terrell was dean of faculties at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle. Later he served on the board of the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education and as president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.