Room lined with chairs and lights, decorated for a wedding.

Ensminger Building

Ensminger Pavilion: at the heart of the Cougar family

Planning an event? Imagine immersing yourself in the rich heritage of Washington State University by choosing Ensminger Pavilion as your venue. This isn’t just a space— it’s part of the Cougar legacy.

Established in 1933 as the Livestock Judging Pavilion, this adaptable building has witnessed countless chapters of Coug history. From vibrant student gatherings to the notable presence of Bing Crosby back in the ’50s (yes, that happened!), it holds a treasure trove of memories.

Today, it serves as the premiere locale for CAHNRS events, encompassing student orientations, prestigious award ceremonies, and lively celebrations. And the best part? You can use it too! Whether it’s a wedding, a reunion, or a retirement, this venue has room for everyone, and your booking helps maintain this unique building.

Elevate your next event to legendary status. Book Ensminger Pavilion and become a part of the ongoing Coug story!


  • Seats up to 400
  • Free parking – evenings and weekends
  • On-site restrooms
  • Heating
  • Round and/or rectangular tables
  • Chairs
  • Wheeled whiteboards

Venue Photos

History of the M.E. & Audrey H. Ensminger Agricultural Pavilion

Built in 1933, the building we now know as the M.E. and Audrey H. Ensminger Agricultural Pavilion was for decades the Livestock Judging Pavilion. Thousands of animal science students have taken classes in the pavilion while archaeology students once practiced excavation techniques in one wing. But the pavilion has always been much more than a classroom.

In its heyday, the pavilion hosted a variety of events. Old photos show crowds of 800 attending the Livestock Feeders’ Day outside the building in 1945. Bing Crosby once attended a livestock judging event at the pavilion, when his twin sons were briefly students at WSU in the early 1950s. In the ’60s, Summer Palace community theater presentations were staged in the pavilion. In recent years, the horticulture club has held plant sales in the building. The pavilion was the scene of many autumn Land-Grant Day dances and auctions.

The pavilion was designed by university architect Stanley Smith, who also designed White Hall (now home of WSU’s Honors College), and Smith Gym. The pavilion was part of a complex of agriculture buildings east of Troy Hall, which included a poultry barn and a large beef barn. The beef barn was transformed into the Lewis Alumni Centre in the ’80s.

Thanks to the efforts of animal science professor Everett Martin, students, administrators and other faculty in the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, as well as university administrators, in 2002 the pavilion was saved from demolition and a plan for its renovation was drawn up.

Most important, though, was the generous gift from Mrs. Audrey Ensminger, whose donation paid for a significant portion of pavilion renovation work. Thanks to Mrs. Ensminger, the pavilion is remains a historically important gathering place for the entire WSU community.

Historical Photos

Mrs. Ensminger made the gift in memory of her husband, Dr. M.E. Ensminger, who was head of the animal sciences department at WSU from 1941 until 1962. Dr. Ensminger was instrumental in the construction of the Cattle Feeding Laboratory and Hilltop Stables, now recognized as one of the best light horse facilities in the nation. Dr. Ensminger’s energy, enthusiasm, and expertise also made the animal sciences department one of the best in the country. He wrote many books, some of which are still standards used in classrooms around the world. One of the most recognized animal scientists of the twentieth century, Dr. Ensminger was fond of giving credit to his wife for his may accomplishments.

Although both Dr. and Mrs. Ensminger have passed away, they leave behind them a living legacy in the M.E. and Audrey H. Ensminger Agricultural Pavilion, one that will be cherished and enjoyed by this and future generations.