OSU President recognized for lifetime service to science


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Paul Risser, the president of Oregon State University, has been named a National Associate of the National Academies, a group of agencies which advises the United States government, agencies and general public on issues of science, engineering and medicine.

This is the first year this program has honored prominent scientists, educators and researchers for their lifetime contributions to the work of The National Academies, and Risser was one of only two Oregonians to be recognized.

"Our work in advising government and the public on matters of science, technology and health would not be possible without this dedicated commitment of experts to provide the nation with their wisdom and advice," said officials of the National Associates program in making this recognition.

Thousands of individuals serve each year on the many committees operated by the National Academies, which include the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine and National Research Council. But only a small number "whose dedication to our work is truly extraordinary" were recognized in the initial group of National Associates, officials of that organization said. The honor is a lifetime appointment.

In addition to a long career in academic administration and his tenure as the 13th president of OSU, Risser is an internationally recognized biologist and ecologist, with expertise in grassland and forest ecosystems, environmental planning, landscape ecology and global change. He received his doctorate in botany and soils from the University of Wisconsin in 1967.

Risser has received numerous career honors and appointments, including election as a fellow in both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also served as past president of both the Ecological Society of America and American Institute of Biological Sciences. He has consulted for and served numerous organizations and agencies, including the National Academy of Sciences, National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.

For six years, Risser served as chairman of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, which wrote landmark reports on such topics as ozone, air quality in aircraft, pesticides in the diets of children and management policies for wetlands.