Dr. Dillard H. Gates and Anastasia M. Gates endowed this scholarship in the Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management at Oregon State University in 1986 to encourage scholarship and to assist graduate students pursuing careers in Rangeland Ecology and Management.
Dillard and Ann grew up on farms in Central Nebraska during the depression and dust bowl days of the 1930s. They met while attending Gates High School from which Dillard graduated in 1942. During World War II, Dillard served three years in the US Coast Guard, 19 months of which were spent in the South Pacific. During this period, Ann graduated from Broken Bow, Nebraska High School and contributed to the war effort by helping to build Mustang fighter planes in Inglewood, California. They were married in January 1946 after Dillard’s discharge from the Coast Guard.
Dillard graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1952 with a B.S. in Soil Conservation and in 1953 with a M.S. in Agronomy. In 1956 he completed a Ph.D. degree in Range Management at Utah State University. Following graduation, Dillard served the USDA Agricultural Research Service as a Range Research Scientist in Woodward, Oklahoma and Pullman, Washington. The primary focus of his research was rangeland soil-plant relations and rangeland improvement.
In 1962, Dillard, Ann, and their sons, D. Howe and Charles, moved from Pullman to Corvallis where he served as Oregon State University Range Extension Specialist until 1971. In 1971, Dillard was named Director, Range Management Program, Oregon State University. During his 13 years at OSU, he made an indelible mark on the profession of Range Management and the rangelands of Oregon. He was active in the Society for Range Management and served as President of both the PNW Section in 1965 and the parent society in 1975.
Many of Dr. Gates’ students have gone on to distinguished careers in the profession. He emphasized the philosophy that Range Management must be ecologically and economically sound and worked to instill that vision in students and faculty alike. His teaching in the classroom and the field contributed to the improvement, conservation, and management of rangelands of Oregon and the Northwest. He authored over 70 papers dealing with many aspects of rangeland improvement, management, conservation, and ecology. He liked people, and he helped people - his faculty, students, ranchers, range managers, extension agents, and others - to see the beauty and the value of the rangeland resources of Oregon and the world. He made Oregon better.
In 1974, Dillard and Ann moved to Washington, D.C. where Dillard served the Agency for International Development, U.S. State Department as Senior Range Management Specialist and Senior Agronomist. While serving with the Agency, Dillard traveled, worked, and advocated range management in over 27 countries. During this period, Ann returned to college and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northern Virginia College in 1980.
In 1980, Dillard and Ann returned to Oregon State University where Dr. Gates served as Director of the Yemen Program in 1983. In 1983 he retired from OSU as Professor Emeritus. Dr. Gates continues to work as a Certified Rangeland Consultant both domestically and internationally.
Both Ann and Dillard remain vitally interested in the Range Management profession and the OSU Rangeland Ecology and Management Department. Their love and concern for the land grew out of their farm background and their youthful exposure to the dust bowl days in Central Nebraska. This love and concern for the land weighed heavily in education and career decisions and continues as a guiding influence. They believe deeply in the value of education and remain dedicated to the improvement, management, and conservation of the rangelands of Oregon and the world. They believe that only through education will vistas be expanded sufficiently for this to be accomplished. Dillard and Ann would like this scholarship to help with the personal and professional growth of OSU graduate students in Rangeland Ecology and Management and to help them realize that they can “soar” with their feet firmly planted on rangelands.