Alumni, industry establish endowed chair at OSU


CORVALLIS - More than 120 construction industry businesses in the Pacific Northwest and alumni from Oregon State University have teamed up to create a new endowed professorship in the OSU College of Engineering.

The unusual approach to funding an endowed position has resulted in a new $1.5 million "Construction Industry Endowed Professorship in Construction Engineering."

"Chaired professorships are usually funded privately by one or two individuals and carry the donor's name," said Ron Adams, dean of the OSU College of Engineering. "They allow universities to go out and recruit the best and brightest faculty.

"This effort by industry and our alumni shows their commitment to the college's strong program in Construction Engineering Management," he added.

Adams said U.S. industrial growth is placing high demands on the construction industry for both facilities expansion and infrastructure modernization. That has increased the need for graduates in construction engineering who can step immediately into a project.

The OSU Construction Engineering Management program has about 200 students, and graduates of the program hold prominent positions in construction companies all over the Pacific Northwest and around the nation.

OSU construction engineering students also have done well in competition with other university programs. During the last 11 years, Oregon State students have placed first five times in the heavy civil division of the regional Construction Management Co mpetition. This year, OSU students brought home medals in the three divisions in which they participated. More than 60 teams competed.

Establishing the $1.5 million endowed professorship was a team effort, said Jane Ratzlaff, director of development for the OSU College of Engineering.

"The goal was to seek involvement in making the chair a reality from all of the Construction Engineering Management alumni and those businesses we serve," Ratzlaff said. "We wanted it to be their professorship."

Lead donations in the project came from H.A. "Andy" Andersen, CEO of Andersen Construction Co. in Portland, and Sandy Andersen; Ed Lynch, president of Edward Lynch Co. in Vancouver, Wash., and Dollie Lynch; John Compton, CEO of J.C. Compton Co. of McMi nnville, a 1953 OSU business graduate, and Betty K. Compton, a 1952 business graduate; Dale Pence, president of Dale Pence General Contractor in Salem, and Donna Pence; and the Kelley Family Fund, established through the OSU Foundation by Martin N. Kelley , a 1950 civil engineering graduate and the late Lora Laslett Kelley.

"It represents a quality team effort by our graduates and those who hire our graduates," said Hal Pritchett, long-time OSU faculty member and coordinator of the Construction Engineering Management program.

The donors said one of their goals was to ensure that the OSU Construction Engineering Management program could recruit a top faculty member with industry experience.

"We need someone with real hands-on experience to help educate students so they can more effectively manage our construction projects," said Bill Pahl, chair of the Construction Education Foundation Board.

The fund will be managed by the OSU Foundation.