On Sept. 9, at 9:09 a.m., Oregon State University launched the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families, a new research initiative focused on the human lifespan, with a special emphasis on the physical, mental and behavioral health of children. The center was made possible by a generous gift from the late Hallie Ford, and is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences.
The following speech was presented by Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences Tammy Bray during the morning presentation:
We are gathered here on the ninth day of the ninth month of 2009 and you heard the chimes at 9:09! This is a once-in-a-lifetime moment with all the nines being aligned – it is the last set of repeating, single-digit dates that we will see for almost a century. Why all the nines? Nine is an auspicious number in my culture signifying transformation. The number nine also represents unselfishness and altruism, characteristics of Hallie Ford and her family that have led us to this historic moment, in this amazing place!
I am delighted to recognize members of the Ford family with us today – first, Hallie’s children Carmen Ford Phillips who received both her bachelors and masters degrees from our college and Allyn Ford, a long time friend and supporter of OSU, his wife Cheryl and their nephew Drew Hedges.
Hallie would be touched that many of her grandchildren came today – Kathy Phillips Bauer, Gerald Phillips, David Phillips, Allyson Ford, and Martina Ford.
Today marks a milestone in a dream that started more than five years ago. Guided by the mission of our college – Taking Care of Life, and the value of a land-grant university, our faculty came together in a series of discussions to create a strategy to address the challenges that face children and families in Oregon and beyond.
They begin to share ideas about ways to collaborate on research, work across departments, involve community organizations and private industry, and engage our students in new ways. Their energy, enthusiasm and creativity were infectious. I knew then, they were poised to do great things. And then, the stars must have been aligned. I feel very lucky and grateful…
First, thanks to the vision and leadership of President Ed Ray, the University strategic plan began to unfold, with improving human health and well being as one of three signature areas. Our faculty aspired to make a significant difference in the area of healthy people.
Second, thanks to the skillful leadership of Mike Goodwin, and his team of OSU Foundation, and the synergy he has with President Ray, OSU’s first ever Capital Campaign was launched and donors and alumni rallied around our shared vision of taking care of life.
And most importantly, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Hallie and her children, Carmen and Allyn Ford. You inspired us and inspired the excellence of our faculty, and we feel honored to be creating a preeminent Center that carries the legacy of Hallie Ford.
I am proud that, as Oregon’s land grant university, we are truly serving the needs of our citizens. And I want to acknowledge the support of the State Board of Higher Education, the Governor, and the Oregon Legislative Assembly who helped us attain our vision for healthy children and families. During the last session, despite extremely tight economic times, the legislature approved $5 million in state bonds to assure that this dream would become a reality.
Our holistic approach of addressing the needs of children in the context of families and communities is unique and will put our new Center at the forefront. Our researchers are courageous pioneers – exploring new paradigm to school readiness, solving complex issues of childhood obesity, finding clues to childhood and family resilience in the face of risk, and reaching out to rural and vulnerable populations.
You will learn more from our faculty in the Hallie Ford Symposium following this ceremony. You will find that they are doing important and groundbreaking work. Our faculty members are practical idealists making what “should be” happen through talent and innovation. We are honoring Hallie’s legacy.
I eagerly look forward to the day when all of this energy, intelligence, wisdom, and passion dedicated to children and families are under one roof. Our new Hallie Ford Building will enhance our collaboration, and help us even more to attract preeminent faculty and bright students to OSU and to the state of Oregon. When we open our doors in 2011, the Hallie Ford building will be a premier center for research, teaching, and outreach on children and families.
Thank you for sharing our vision, supporting our dream, and celebrating with us today.