Anyone who hasn’t been through the main doors of Todd Hall’s third floor recently will notice a stunning new display that frames WSU’s and the Carson College’s accomplishments and milestones over time. From hanging panels highlighting Carson students, staff, faculty, and programs, and acknowledging the contributions of Scott and Linda Carson and other donors, to the 35-foot historic timeline below them, the progressiveness of the Carson College and the value of a WSU business education are unmistakable.
“The display illustrates who we are as a college and what we have to offer,” says Chip Hunter, dean. “It is graphically designed to tell a story and showcase our successes whether people just glance at it in passing or stop to absorb more detail. It’s a great way to acknowledge those who helped us get to where we are today.”
What it took to create
The original concept to honor the history, investments, and people of the college formed in 2015 after the college was rebranded as the Carson College of Business. Robin Olson, facilities and space management coordinator in the Carson College Office of Technology, managed the display’s design and installation over the past year, a process enabled by the input and work of many people.
Cat Taylor, digital measures administrator, spent about five months researching historic information and obtaining at least 100 images to create the timeline, which also includes historical replicas such as newspaper articles, a Cougarembossed door handle, a model truck bearing the inaugural Cougar logo, and other elements of WSU and Carson College history. Graphic designers Ann Nelson and Jayden Bowker, as well as Olson and
Taylor, applied their artistic talents to create the replicas through aging techniques and design.
“The most exciting part of the project is seeing where we came from and where we are now,” says Olson. “People will be able to learn facts about the college that are otherwise hard to find. Seeing tangible replicas in 3-D will have a greater impact.”
“The entire display evokes a sense of pride,” says Taylor. “Knowing this history unites us as a community.”
Display Inspires Nostalgia Research Study
Doctoral student Sheng Bi incorporated the timeline project in a marketing study examining consumer preference for nostalgic products. Bi surveyed approximately 125 Carson students after a day of classes. Before students looked at the timeline display, they randomly received either a prime “Thank you for participating in our study at the end of the day,” or were simply told “Thank you for participating in our study.” Then students viewed images from the timeline display and were asked what percentage should focus on the past or on the future of WSU. Additionally, Bi provided students with two WSU football posters—one from the past and one from the present—and asked them which one they liked more. “We found that when students were primed with a specific timeframe or ending point, such as ‘end of the day,’ they had a higher preference for nostalgic photos or images,” says Bi. He discovered there wasn’t a significant correlation between the prime and the timeline photos. “Possibly, students don’t know too much about the past of WSU, and it is uncommon or hard for them to think about the future of WSU. The new display will help change that and inspire viewers to think about the distinctions of WSU and the Carson College across time.”