Roberta Ulrich spent 53 years as a reporter on two weekly papers, two small city dailies, an international wire service and the Oregonian, including three years in the Portland newspaper’s Washington, DC, bureau. She interviewed or attended a news conference by every president from John Kennedy to Bill Clinton.

In pursuing stories, she walked the crumbling dike of a flooding river, hiked through a burning forest and felt the heat of smoldering Mount St. Helens as she trudged through snow on the volcano’s crater floor. She was Spokane bureau manager for United Press International for nine years and covered major college football before women were generally accepted in press boxes.

“It was almost all great fun,” she said, “even if it was mostly far from major news centers.”

After retiring in 1996 she wrote two books about late 20th Century American Indian history.

She graduated from WSU in 1950 with a BA in English and certificate in journalism when journalism was a section of the English Department.

She has two sons and four grandchildren. Her late husband, John R. Ulrich, was a WSU faculty member for two years in the 1940s.

Topics