College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

A legacy of student support: Myrtle Fulfs

Myrtle Stout Fulfs knows the value of an education.

More than 20 years ago, Myrtle joined her husband Robert in helping animal science students at Washington State University pay for their education. After Robert, a dedicated Coug, passed away in 2003, she continued their legacy, funding the Robert and Myrtle Fulfs Endowed Scholarship in Animal Sciences.

Myrtle Fulfs of Pullman, an endowment supporter of the WSU Department of Animal Sciences, holds the bottle that held her message along the bank of the Snake River for five decades.
Myrtle Fulfs of Pullman, an endowment supporter of the WSU Department of Animal Sciences, holds the bottle that held her message along the bank of the Snake River for five decades.

“I want to help, and I know there are students who need help,” said Myrtle.

Born in 1924, Myrtle grew up in a farm community a few miles south of Uniontown, Wash. She attended the one-room Hall School with as many as 35 classmates, doing well enough that her teacher decided to move her up a grade. In 1941, at age 17, Myrtle graduated from Colton High School.

Myrtle had ideas of attending university and becoming a teacher. But her father decided that nearby Washington State College (today’s WSU), then crowded with soldiers attending classes, was no place for his daughter. Instead, Myrtle attended business school in nearby Lewiston, Idaho. That led to a secretary job at the Zimmerly Air Transport Co. in Clarkston, Wash, where her father’s hopes of keeping her away from young soldiers came to naught. World War II was on, and at Zimmerly airport, Myrtle met hundreds of cadets training to become navy pilots.

Message in a bottle

While working in Clarkston, Myrtle took a boat ride up the Snake River and launched a message in a bottle that, decades later, gave her a moment of national fame.

On a spur of the moment, she wrote a note on a blank check from Security State Bank of Colton, sealed it in a Singer sewing machine oil bottle, and tossed it into the river.

“To who ever finds this, I’m a lonesome young lassie 19 years old,” looking for a dark man with a good bank account. “I am a good cook about 5 foot 4 inches tall, blue eyes, nice, well proportioned girl. If interested, write me a note.”

Once launched, Myrtle forgot all about the note—until it was found, 56 years later, by a 16-year-old Clarkston boy named Luke Jackson, in a sandbar near Asotin, Wash.

The story made the local newspaper, then the national news. That summer, Luke and Myrtle were interviewed in New York City by the NBC Today Show’s Katie Couric. Friends far and wide wrote Myrtle to share their excitement at seeing her on television.

“I was a celebrity for a while,” said Myrtle. “It kind of overwhelmed me!”

Agriculture supporter

In 1945, Myrtle married Robert Fulfs. Together, they farmed wheat near Pullman for more than 50 years, raising three children, Marilyn, John and Robynn.

Farm life was always busy, but “we were brought up learning how to work,” said Myrtle. She remembers cooking meals for busy harvesters in an abandoned house in the fields and occasionally driving farm trucks to help her husband.

Robert, who earned a degree in animal husbandry from WSC in 1938, was a strong supporter of local and state agriculture and the university. A regular contributor to 4-H and FFA programs and the Department of Animal Sciences, he received the WSU Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1998.

“Robert was a very progressive farmer,” Myrtle remembered. “He was interested in young people getting back into farming.” Together, she and Robert started the endowment, using some of Myrtle’s investment earnings.

Along with their initial commitment, made just before Robert’s death, Myrtle recently renewed her endowment with a gift, ensuring $1,100 in annual scholarships.

“Students should value the opportunity to get an education,” she said.

“Scholarship gifts make a tremendous difference for our students,” said Kristen Johnson, interim chair of the Department of Animal Sciences. “They’re an investment in future leaders, who will improve animal and human lives. Myrtle’s generosity betters our society, changing lives, one student at a time.”

Her life and education took a different path before she made her WSU connection. Yet Myrtle has always strongly valued the benefits of education.

“It’s a part of my being,” she said.

• Learn more about CAHNRS scholarships and donors here.

CAHNRS is more than agriculture. With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, we are one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU. CAHNRS Cougs are making a difference in the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities, improving ecological and economic systems, and advancing agricultural sciences.

Featured Event

Illustration of a woman holding wine near a music band. Text over the image reads: The Auction of Washington Wines Wine and Music Festival, WSU Tri-Cities Campus, June 10, Saturday 6 pm. Learn More. Support Wine.



With 24 majors, 19 minors, and 27 graduate level programs, CAHNRS is one of the largest, most diverse colleges at WSU.


CAHNRS students are awarded more than $600,000 in scholarships annually.


CAHNRS leads in discovery through its high-quality research programs. In 2014, CAHNRS received research funding exceeding $81.5M. This accounts for nearly 40% of all research funding received by WSU.  


CAHNRS has 39 student clubs and organizations to enhance student experiences and opportunities.

Job Opportunities

4-H Youth Development Program Associate Director (pdf)
Position # 124955

CAHNRS Academic Programs

Fall undergradsUndergraduate Studies

Check out what our academic departments and programs have to offer, from Interior Design to Agriculture to Wildlife Ecology. We have 13 departments and schools to prepare you for your chosen career.

Grad student dogGraduate Studies

Students have a variety of options to pursue masters and doctoral degrees. Many of these have very specific background requirements, so we suggest exploring the individual programs for academic guidelines.

CTLLCenter for
Learning & Leadership

The CTLL is a student, faculty, alumni and industry partner collaboration for high quality learning and leadership beyond the classroom.


Inspiring Teamwork - Arron Carter pic

Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter

It started with a car, a ’69 Corvette Stingray to be exact.

When Arron Carter, the director of the Washington State University Winter Wheat Breeding Program, was in high school his agricultural teacher had a ’69 Corvette Stingray. Every year this teacher would let his favorite senior take the car to senior prom. Carter had never taken an agriculture class before, but he knew he wanted to drive that car.

“Well, if I’m going to be the favorite senior,” Carter said to himself, “I’d better start taking some ag classes.”…

Read More: Inspiring Teamwork – Arron Carter


CAHNRS Office of Research

Agricultural Research Center

Mission Statement

The goal of the Washington State University CAHNRS Office of Research is to promote research beneficial to the citizens of Washington. The Office of Research recognizes its unique land-grant research mission to the people of Washington and their increasing global connections. The CAHNRS Office of Research provides leadership in discovering and applying knowledge through high-quality research that contributes to a safe and abundant food, fiber, and energy supply while enhancing the sustainability of agricultural and natural resource systems.

Research Update

Washington State University’s screening continues to find no evidence of glyphosate herbicide resistance in Pacific Northwest wheat varieties

In each of the last three years (2014, 2015 and 2016), the field screening process has involved over 80 varieties, 2,000 advanced breeding lines and more than 35,000 individual plots from WSU cereal breeding and variety evaluation programs. Collectively, varieties included in these trials represent over 95 percent of the wheat acreage planted in Washington.

Featured Research

Want fries with that? Stealth potato virus threatens industry

Newly emerged viruses threaten the U.S. potato industry, including potatoes grown in Washington. Several newly evolved strains of the disease known as potato virus Y, or PVY, can render potatoes unmarketable and reduce crop yield. What’s worse is the new viruses are particularly difficult to detect with the naked eye.

Horned larks undeterred by efforts to protect canola seedlings

Horned larks are turning up in droves near Lind, Wash. and decimating newly planted winter and spring canola fields despite multiple efforts to deter them.

In search of the perfect steak

Imagine taking your first bite of a $40 rib-eye steak—only to chew on beef that’s as tough as shoe leather. Talk about disappointment! “A tough steak is not a pleasant experience,” says Frank Hendrix, a WSU Extension Educator and animal scientist.

Workshops to discuss changing water forecast for Columbia Basin

How changing water availability in the Columbia River Basin could affect people, farms and fish is the focus of a series of free public workshops in June. Scheduled for June 21, 22 and 23 in Richland, Wenatchee and Spokane, the workshops give a first look at the 2016 Columbia River Basin Long-Term Water Supply and Demand Forecast.

After landslide, communities rewarded for resilience

Two years after the deadly landslide that devastated the Oso, Wash., area, the towns of Darrington and Arlington were announced April 27 as finalists in the America’s Best Communities (ABC) competition.

$11M funds food safety tech transfer to markets

WSU aims to meet growing demand for safe, high quality, additive-free packaged foods thanks to two recent investments in innovative food processing technology based on microwave energy.

Alumni & Friends

Welcome to alumni, friends, and supporters of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS). You are a core part of our CAHNRS Coug family and have made major impacts in our college, communities, and throughout the world. We recognize only a handful of them here.

More than 9,000 alumni and friends contributed to our Campaign for WSU, the most ambitious fundraising effort in university history. The campaign concluded in 2015 with $215 million and endless amounts of impact. Here is a glimpse of what transpired in the Campaign.

Although the campaign concluded, momentum continues to make a difference in our land-grant mission and education. On-going investment in time and resources from our alumni and friends helps to advance our best programs, attract the most talented faculty, and support our brightest students.

There are so many ways to stay involved with CAHNRS. Share your news in the college’s magazine ReConnect. Get involved with student success or support our college as whole by making a gift to the CAHNRS Excellence Fund.


Contact Us

CAHNRS Alumni & Development
PO Box 646228
Pullman, WA 99164-6228
PH: 509-335-2243

Faculty & Staff

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Contact Dean’s Office:
Hulbert 421
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242

Lisa Johnson:
Assistant to the Dean
Hulbert 421C
PO Box 646242
Pullman WA 99164-6242