Nancy McCoy exemplifies leadership in the many roles she has taken on as an OSU alumna. No matter what the occasion, McCoy can be counted on not only to just show up, but to organize the event, encourage other alumni to come and then clean up when it’s over. She and her husband, Tom McCoy, operate a wheat ranch near Wasco, where she taught high school science and English and served as Sherman County treasurer. During her tenure on the OSU Alumni Association board, she promoted the Beaver license plate scholarship program, calling the plates "portable billboards."
Sam Wheeler became an OSU Foundation trustee in 1978 and served as chairman and president of the board when the university dealt with deep state budget cuts. As a member of the OSU Presidents Club, he received the Most Honored Member award in 1984. Wheeler has served on the Council of Regents, the College of Science’s Material Research Advisory Board and the 4–H Foundation board. Included in the World Forestry Center’s Hall of Fame, he is a member of the OSU Harris Society, which recognizes the university’s $1 million–plus donors.
Chelsea Byrd works as a scientist in the Corvallis laboratory of SIGA Technologies on antiviral and anti–infective drug discovery and vaccine development, primarily in defense against bioterrorism attacks. She earned two degrees from OSU: a bachelor’s in microbiology in 2001 and a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology in 2005. The Council of Graduate Schools and University Microfilms chose Byrd’s doctoral dissertation as one of the five best in the world in life sciences for 2005.
A 1971 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts, Michael Chamness used leadership skills he developed as editor of The Daily Barometer and in student government to build a successful career in financial services and the insurance industry. He is a board member for First Financial Resources LLC, and for The Strategic Alliance Inc., both of Portland. Chamness is a past member of the OSU Alumni Association board of directors.
Jay McQuillen Jr., of Indian Wells, California, has worked building public infrastructure since graduating from OSU in 1986 with a master’s degree in civil engineering. He manages the Southern California region for Granite Construction Company and has supervised construction projects worth billions of dollars. A former captain of the OSU rugby team, McQuillen is also active in helping the College of Engineering and has been president of the OSU Construction Engineering Foundation.
With a 1974 bachelor’s degree in clothing textiles, Susan Parker launched a career with Macy’s, where she manages the store in Pleasanton, California, one of the company’s largest. She sponsors an annual tour and scholarship program in which OSU students shadow Macy’s workers to learn more about the profession. Many of these students have gone on to successful careers with the company. Parker is also a 15–year member of the Industrial Advisory Board for OSU’s Department of Design and Human Environment.
Gretchen Schuette devoted her career to public education after earning a doctorate in oceanography from OSU in 1980. The retired president of Chemeketa Community College in Salem is a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. She has been interim commissioner of Oregon Community Colleges and held leadership positions with the Gresham–Barlow School District, Mt. Hood Community College and Linn–Benton Community College. Schuette was dean of Distance and Continuing Education and director of Portland Area Programs for OSU and has helped forge connections between community colleges and four–year institutions.
A 1971 graduate in business administration, Kenneth Thrasher worked for Fred Meyer for 20 years, rising to the position of president and CEO after Fred Meyer merged with The Kroger Company. He is currently CEO of Compli, a Portland–based employment practices compliance management company. Thrasher is active in public affairs and has served on many boards, including the Portland Art Museum, Northwest Natural, the Portland State University Foundation, Friends of the Children and the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
With a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from OSU in 1968, Sara White has become a recognized leader in the field of pharmacy education, especially in helping pharmacists in hospitals and large health–care systems. She worked for 20 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center and School of Pharmacy and finished the last 11 years of her professional career as director of pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and as clinical professor at the University of California at San Francisco.
Over the course of his 27 years in oceanography, Rob Holman has become one of the world’s leading researchers in near–shore processes. His studies have ranged from satellite remote sensing to the small–scale processes of mine burial. Holman joined the faculty of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences in 1979. He volunteers his time to create and present interactive displays for the educational entertainment of visitors at events such as Corvallis’ daVinci Days and Newport’s SeaFest.
As editor of more than 100 issues of the Oregon Stater alumni magazine, George Edmonston made it his mission to discover everything newsworthy about OSU, from sports records and musical legends to research breakthroughs and generous philanthropists. He shared his knowledge through the Stater, local newspapers, radio talk shows and sports Jumbotron announcements. Edmonston co–authored the book Tales from Oregon State Sports. He still gives campus tours, sharing his wealth of knowledge about significant campus and Corvallis landmarks. During his time as editor of the Stater, he received nine national and seven regional CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Awards.