Alumni Fellows Return to Campus to Meet Students, Others at OSU Homecoming


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Six distinguished Oregon State University alumni – and one rising young star – are returning to campus Nov. 3-4 during OSU’s 2006 Homecoming as part of the Alumni Fellows Program sponsored by the OSU Alumni Association.

The seven alums will meet with OSU students, staff and faculty, and teach courses in the popular “Classes Without Quizzes” program. They also will be honored at a luncheon and during the Saturday football game against Arizona State University.

This year’s fellows include: Michael Chamness, a graduate from the College of Liberal Arts; Jay L. McQuillen Jr., the College of Engineering; Susan R. Parker, the College of Health and Human Sciences; Gretchen Schuette, the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences; Kenneth Thrasher, the College of Business; and Sara J. White, the College of Pharmacy.

The seventh honoree is Chelsea Byrd, the 2006 recipient of the OSU Alumni Association’s first “Young Alumni Award.” Byrd earned a B.S. degree from OSU in microbiology in 2001, and a doctorate from OSU in molecular and cellular biology in 2005. She is a scientist in the Corvallis laboratory of SIGA Technologies, where she works on antiviral and anti-infective drug discovery and vaccine development – primarily in the field of defending against bioterrorism attacks.

Byrd’s doctoral dissertation was chosen by the Council of Graduate Schools and University Microfilms as one of the five best dissertations in the world in life sciences for 2005.

Chamness, of Portland, graduated from OSU in 1971 and was an editor of the Daily Barometer. He used his leadership skills to build a successful career in financial services and the insurance industry, and is a board member for First Financial Resources, LLC, and for The Strategic Alliance, Inc., both of Portland. He is a past member of the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors.

McQuillen, after graduating with a master’s degree in civil engineering, has spent 20 years building public infrastructure. A resident of Indian Wells, Calif., he has worked for Granite Construction Company supervising construction projects totaling billions of dollars. A former captain of the OSU rugby team, he also is active in helping the College of Engineering.

Parker used her 1974 degree in clothing textiles to launch a career with Macy’s, where she still works today, managing one of the company’s largest stores, located in Pleasanton, Calif. She has sponsored an annual tour and scholarship program in which a dozen OSU students and two faculty members “shadow” Macy’s workers to learn more about the profession – and several have gone on to their own careers with the organization.

Schuette earned a Ph.D. in oceanography from OSU, and then went on to a career in education leadership. She is the president of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, and a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. She also has served as interim commissioner of Oregon Community Colleges, and has worked closely with OSU on building a seamless transition for community college students who want to transfer to four-year institutions.

Thrasher earned his degree in business administration from OSU in 1971, and later joined the Fred Meyer organization, working in a variety of jobs, culminated with a successful stint as CEO. He won a bevy of awards for his leadership of that organization, and eventually was named CEO of Compli, a Portland-based employment practices compliance management company.

White has become a recognized leader in the field of pharmacy education, especially in helping pharmacists who work in hospitals and in large health-care systems. She worked for 20 years at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and spent the last 11 years of her professional career as director of pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics.

A formal awards luncheon to honor the fellows will be held on Friday, Nov. 3, at noon in the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center. Tickets for the luncheon are priced at $15 and reservations can be made by calling 541-737-2351, or 877-305-3759.