Powered by Orange
Hi, I'm Ed Ray, president of Oregon State University. I'm pleased to have the opportunity to talk to you about some of the incredible things that are going on here at Oregon State University. And how they'll help all of us address these very difficult times that we find ourselves facing. I'm an economist by training, and I know that everyone has apprehension about the current economic conditions that we face and what we're looking at for the foreseeable future.
Here at Oregon State University we have the opportunity to talk to leaders of industry, and when I talk to people at Jeld Wen or Vestas wind technologies or Intel or Precision Cast Parts, they tell me that what they need to compete, not only now but into the future, are the kinds of graduates that we're able to produce here at Oregon State.
Just to give you an idea of some of the people that we have here. We had a graduate in 2000 named Robin Schmidt, who majored in electrical engineering and ended up working with Vestas wind technologies. He's helping now to solve energy problems that we're all wrestling with trying to get us off of fossil fuels.
Another student is Beth Appert, who got her master's degree recently in public health. She's working with Medical Teams International out of Portland doing work in Africa to help prevent the spread of AIDS there.
We are very proud of our graduates. They accomplish incredible things, and they help change the world. One way we describe that, is we talk about them as being powered by orange, and it's our way of acknowledging the transformational affect that Oregon State University has on student lives and how they in turn have a dramatic impact on other people's lives.
Oregon State University is an international research university. To give you a sense of the magnitude of the work that we do here. Just this last year our faculty brought in research grants and contracts worth $252 million, the first time we passed a quarter of a billion dollar mark, and what I find extraordinary is, over the last six years, we've actually increased our annual research funding by almost $100 million. It's just an incredible accomplishment. And while we like to talk about the big numbers, we also like to talk about the impact of that research, for example, some of the work we do on wheat varieties that increase yields, actually do have an impact on farm family income. One estimate was that our research has added $33 million to the farm economy.
We have other efforts that can transform people's lives as well. Some of our graduates have created a business called "Home Dialysis Plus," which is creating a new portable home dialysis machine that will allow people with kidney problems to do their dialysis at home and never have to go to the hospital for treatment.
We have colleagues in our College of Engineering and in our physics and chemistry programs, who collaborated on creating the first transparent transistors and integrated circuits in the world. They are now working with Hewlett Packard on applications, and they think one of the first areas for a breakthrough would be in creating lighter and more cost-effective solar panels. It could help change the way we create and use energy.
We have colleagues out of our department of nuclear engineering who have created a new company called NuScale that's working on what will be the next generation of nuclear power plants. Portable, smaller plants that are safer, that don't create problems with disposal of radioactive materials, very exciting technologies looking forward. So there are an extraordinary number of ways in which the research that we do here at Oregon State University translates into real benefits for people's lives.
One area that we are focusing on now and for the foreseeable future is in advancing the science of sustainable Earth ecosystems that includes our work in ocean studies, the atmosphere, environmental studies, fisheries, of water issues, which are going to be critical in this century — and there are several examples of the ways in which we're being recognized for that work.
We have a real commitment to try to double the size of our international student population. We want our graduates — and we consider them our greatest contributions to the future — to be able to navigate the global economy, to be able to partner and effectively compete when they have to, worldwide, and that means that they have to have the cultural confidence, the awareness of different environments before they graduate from Oregon State University. So we want to have as richly diverse a community here for students to grow and prosper in as possible.
Let me thank you for giving me a bit of your time to talk to you about the wonderful things that are going on here at Oregon State University. I think you can tell that I'm pretty excited. I'm kind of powered by our faculty, staff and students who really are doing wonderful things, and as I said earlier, they're certainly powered by orange, and I've got to tell you right now, I'm feeling pretty powered by orange too!
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