CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will rename its Electrical and Computer Engineering Building "Owen Hall" to honor John Owen, former dean of the College of Engineering, who died Feb. 15, 1997, at the age of 62.
The university will hold a dedication ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 24, in the atrium at Owen Hall. The ceremony, which will run from 11 a.m. to noon, is free and open to the public. Among the dignitaries who will speak is former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt.
The naming of the former ECE building after Owen is appropriate, said Ron Adams, the new dean of the College of Engineering.
"John Owen helped to establish electrical and computer engineering as a center of excellence within the state of Oregon," Adams said. "It was his effort that helped get the facility built and Owen Hall continues to be one of Oregon's most advanced facilities for engineering education and research."
Owen helped strengthen Oregon's largest and most comprehensive college of engineering to 2,700 students and eight strong departments, Adams said, including Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering; Computer Science; Electrical and Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering; Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering; Chemical Engineering; Nuclear Engineering; and Bioresource Engineering.
Owen came to OSU in 1975 as the Tektronix Chair in Electrophysics, and was named head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering three years later. In 1985, he was appointed vice chancellor of the Oregon Center for Advanced Technology Education - part of the Oregon University System. He became dean of the College of Engineering at OSU in 1990.
Fred Burgess, who preceded Owen as dean, called his successor "a catalyst" who sparked the state's interest in boosting engineering and made decision-makers aware of the tie between higher education and economic development.
"John had boundless energy and enthusiasm for the advances in engineering," Burgess said, "and he had a Pied Piper ability to inspire and lead students, faculty, alumni and industrial leaders. He understood the 'new wave of electronic science' and when he spoke, we were enthralled - as were leaders of industry and state government."
A native of Shropshire, England, Owen received his bachelor's and doctoral degrees from the University of Nottingham. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary; a son, Matthew; daughters Rebekah and Harriet; and granddaughter, Kalyn.