Steen-Knott Animal Sciences Endowment

Chet Steen is a 1939 Animal Sciences alumnus of Washington State University. His late wife of many years, Ruth Carriker Steen, was a 1939 P.E. graduate. Ibbie, his second wife, attended WSU for 1 1/2 years. Her maiden name was Shelton and her first married name was Switzer. She and Chet knew each other growing up in Walla Walla and were reintroduced by a mutual friend Chet and Ibbie married in 1995. Ruth worked for Helen Smith, the directm of women’s physical education (and the person for whom Smith Gym is named). She was originally from a farm in Dryden, WA, but her family moved to Pullman where her father became the fireman (furnace stoker) for a local bank. She and Chet met at WSU. Chet participated on the Dairy Judging Team and was a favorite of Dr. ].C. Knott. Dr. Knott recommended him for his first job, which was on a Carmel, NY dairy farm belonging to Borden.  He and a number of other young men were given charge of Elsie, the Borden cow at the NY world’s fair. Chet has written a book about his experience. In 1983 they left New Jersey for a ranch they purchased in Orondo, Washington. This is where they lived until Ruth’s death. When het moved to Walla Walla, he sold the Orondo ranch to former  WSU and NFL football player Mike Utley. Chet and Ruth had four children, two boys and two girls. All attended colleges in the eastern U.S. They have ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren–so far. One daughter, Joan Olson lives in Spokane. She and her husband, Ardel owned and operated a pharmacy for many years. They have three sons. In April of 2002 Chet was recognized with the Distinguished Animal Science Alumni Award at Washington State University.

Award Requirement

To benefit the Department of Animal Sciences through defraying the expenses of the Dairy Judging Team and award scholarships, with students in the dairy program receiving first consideration.