CORVALLIS, Ore. – Hüsnü M. Özyeğin, who headed to Oregon State University in 1963 with only $100 in his pocket and graduated to become a highly successful business leader and philanthropist in Turkey and throughout Europe, will return to his alma mater to give the 2017 commencement address.
OSU’s commencement will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, at Reser Stadium. Tickets are not required; more information is available at: http://commencement.oregonstate.edu//
Özyeğin, who was born in Turkey, came to the United States after graduating from Robert College, an elite academy in Istanbul. He graduated from OSU with a degree in civil engineering in 1967 after serving as president of the Associated Students of Oregon State University his senior year, and went on to earn an MBA at Harvard University.
The OSU alumnus has made significant contributions to the global community with extensive work in social entrepreneurship, education, women’s rights, equity, child and youth development, and arts and cultural preservation.
Scott Ashford, dean of OSU’s College of Engineering, said he “is thrilled” Özyeğin is returning to Corvallis.
“He’s been a gracious host to me in Turkey, and very willing to provide me with advice for the college as an industry mentor,” Ashford said. “Corvallis is still dear to his heart – in fact, he keeps a photo in his office of him and Bobby Kennedy at the Corvallis airport. Every time I’ve traveled to Turkey, he’s made time for me and asked my advice on his new university.
“Our OSU students have spent summers doing research at his university, and we have hosted his students here.”
After completing his degrees, Özyeğin returned to Turkey and began his career in banking. In 1974, he was appointed managing director of Pamukbank, and in 1987, he founded Finansbank, which quickly become one of Turkey’s most prominent and respected banks. He served as chairman of the bank between 1987 and 2010, during which it grew substantially in size and influence.
Özyeğin today is chairman of Fiba Holding A.S., Fibabanka A.S., and Credit Europe Bank (Suisse) S.A. in Geneva.
The Oregon State alumnus has not forgotten his academic origins, and in 2008 he and his foundation established Özyeğin University in Istanbul, building and fully staffing the institution from the ground up. The state-of-the-art undergraduate and graduate university is re-envisioning higher education as both highly entrepreneurial and financially accessible, and already has become Turkey’s fourth largest private university.
Özyeğin is involved in numerous civic activities, including chairing the Hüsnü M. Özyeğin Foundation, serving on the board of the Mother and Child Education Foundation, and serving on the board of dean’s advisers for the Harvard Business School.
Oregon State will present Özyeğin with an honorary doctorate in civil engineering at commencement. The Oregon Stater alumni magazine profiled him in 2012: http://bit.ly/2qX33uH