Six distinguished Oregon State University alumni returned to campus last weekend for OSU’s Homecoming as part of the Alumni Fellows Program, sponsored by the OSU Alumni Association.
The honorees met with OSU students, staff and faculty, were feted at a luncheon and dinner, and appeared at the Beavers’ football game against the University of California, where they joined OSU President Edward J. Ray.
This year’s OSU Alumni Association Alumni Fellows are: Stephen Bailey, Hillsboro.; Kim Brouwer, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Margaret Carter, Portland; Walter Kortschak, Palo Alto, Calif., and Richard Spinrad, Corvallis. This year’s recipient of the Young Alumni Award is Jonathan Isaacs, Portland.
Bailey grew up on a dairy farm near Tillamook and graduated from OSU in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He worked his way up in the world of corporate accounting, in 2000 becoming – as chief financial officer – part of a new management team that was credited with saving Wilsonville-based FLIR Systems and later adding thousands of jobs. In 2003 he and his wife, Marian, went back to their rural roots and purchased a vineyard. Today they own Bailey Estate Vineyard and are partners in Grand Cru Estates, and he serves on the board of advisers for the new Oregon Wine Research Institute at OSU. The Baileys recently were inducted into OSU’s Harris Society after making a $1 million gift to The Campaign for OSU to support construction of a new home for the College of Business.
Brouwer, a 1978 graduate in pharmacy, initially wanted to be a small-town pharmacist, but her own interests and her mentors at OSU led her to focus instead on a career of groundbreaking research. She is a worldwide expert on interactions of drugs in the liver. She is chair of the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is also the William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor.
Carter, who earned a master’s degree in education from OSU in 1974, made history as the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon House of Representatives. She went on to hold the state senate seat in District 22, and her legislative legacy is marked by resolute efforts to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens. Her graduate degree from OSU helped her transition from being a schoolteacher – for 27 years – to serving as a counselor at Portland Community College. She now serves as Oregon’s deputy director for human services.
Kortschak has served as a director of more than 40 companies and has consistently appeared on Forbes Magazine’s list of the nation’s top 100 venture capitalists. He is a managing member of WMAS Management LLC, and is managing director in the Palo Alto office of Summit Partners. He received a bachelor’s in civil engineering from OSU in 1981, and has a master’s in civil engineering from the California Institute of Technology and an MBA from UCLA. He and his wife, Marcia, founded the Kortschak Family Foundation, and they recently gave the University of Southern California $10 million to create the USC Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity in Student Affairs. It will serve USC students with dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other identified learning differences.
Spinrad had already established himself as an ocean researcher and federal science administrator when he agreed this year to return to OSU to serve as vice president for research. He left a Washington, D.C., post as assistant administrator for research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to return to Oregon State, where he earned master’s and doctoral degrees in oceanography in 1978 and 1982. Prior to his work at NOAA, he served as a research director with the U.S. Navy, taught oceanography at two universities, directed a major national non-profit organization, presided over a private company and worked as a research scientist. Spinrad oversees a growing research enterprise at OSU, with annual research funding of about $275 million.
The Young Alumni Award winner, Isaacs, enrolled at OSU at the urging of friends from Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, Ore., and at first had no idea what to study. Once he joined the student government’s effort to lobby the legislature against tuition hikes, he was hooked on politics. He won election as student body president in his junior year and graduated from the College of Liberal Arts in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He worked for several political organizations and candidates in Oregon and Washington, D.C., serving Oregon House Democrats as executive director of FuturePAC from 2004-06. He managed Jeff Merkley’s successful 2008 senate campaign, the first in 40 years to unseat an incumbent U.S. senator from Oregon. He served as state director in Merkley’s senate office for several months before resigning to become executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters.
The OSU Alumni Association created the Alumni Fellows program in 1988 to bring distinguished alumni back to campus to be honored and to share their experiences. The Young Alumni Award was added in 2006.