Cougars in Walla Walla are amping up their roar.
Washington State University Cougars, that is, and fans.
The Valley is Cougar Country, so a person here would almost have to be living under a rock if he or she hasn't heard WSU is growing academically as a national leader in animal sciences, global health, biology and agriculture.
Athletics, too, as Crimson and Gray teams grab a share of the national spotlight in sports.
To keep up the momentum, Athletic Director Bill Moos has reinvigorated the Walla Walla Cougar Club and established others clubs around the state.
The Valley has always had a local Cougar Club, but now there is new energy and communication.
Moos divided his staff to support different regions, and the Walla Walla representative is Casey Fox, Cougar Athletics assistant athletics director.
The goal of the Walla Walla Cougar Club will be to bring local Cougars together to support WSU as fans and with financial support.
To club has joined the Cougar Athletic Fund drive to increase donations and awareness of new changes at WSU. The CAF doesn't simply help build a dominant football program, but helps give all student-athletes a chance to improve their lives and future through scholarships.
Statistically there are more than 1,600 alumni in the Valley but only 140 are members of the Cougar Athletic Fund.
To boost membership, WSU staff and coaches will be making visits to the Valley for events. Membership also will enable local Cougars to meet other alums and attend events together here in Walla Walla and in Pullman.
On May 7, WSU head baseball Coach Donnie Marbut will be in Walla Walla for a lunch at Sapolil Cellars to layout the season and talk Cougar baseball.
On June 1, the Walla Walla Cougar Club will host new head football Coach Mike Leach at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center for lunch.
On June 30 it will be Cougar Day at the Walla Walla Sweets baseball game.
The local club will have a pre-game hospitality tent at the first home football game on Sept. 8, and the WSU Golf Tournament to support men's and women's golf will be held Sept. 28 at the Walla Walla Country Club.
You might ask whether donor support is there for Cougar Athletics. Well, before Leach has coached his first Cougar football game, 1,144 new donors have stepped up to financially support the new era at WSU athletics.
Since WSU President Elson Floyd began the Campaign for Washington State University 143,418 individual donors have made nearly 500,000 gifts, grants and commitments in support of WSU students, faculty, research and outreach and to leverage the university's importance across the state and around the world.
For more details on local events or how to join the Cougar surge, attend the next Walla Walla Cougar Club meeting at 7 p.m. on April 24 at Laht Neppur Ale House. You can also call 1-877 IMA COUG, visit www.wsucougars.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth Swanson is president of the Walla Walla Cougar Club.