OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

campus life

OSU celebrates 147th commencement with record number of graduates

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Class of 2016 will celebrate a record-breaking number of graduates this Saturday when 6,406 of the newest members of Beaver Nation celebrate OSU’s 147th commencement.

The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. on June 11 in Reser Stadium on campus. No tickets are required for the event, which also will be shown on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s PLUS channel.

A total of 6,406 graduates will receive 6,723 degrees this year, according to OSU Registrar Rebecca Mathern. They will add to the ranks of Oregon State alumni, which have earned a total of 236,296 degrees over the university’s history.

Juan Felipe Herrera, a social activist and the first Mexican American to hold the position of United States Poet Laureate, will deliver the commencement address.  The son of migrant farmers in California, Herrera is the author of 30 books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and children’s books.

Some facts and figures about OSU’s Class of 2016: 

  • 295 graduates will be receiving two degrees, while 11 will be receiving three.
  • A total of 692 graduates earned degrees in distance education in 32 different degree programs.
  • OSU’s 2016 graduates come from all 36 Oregon counties, all 50 states, three U.S. territories or commonwealths, and 63 nations around the world.
  • While the average age of the class is 25, the oldest graduate is 73 years of age; the youngest is 19.
  • The graduating class includes 136 veterans of the U.S. military service.

When Magali Sánchez crosses the stage, she will be the first in her family to receive a college degree.

The second oldest of seven siblings, Sánchez spent her teen years picking strawberries alongside her family in Woodburn. While pursuing her degree in ethnic studies with a minor in Spanish, Sánchez also managed to devote much of her time to social justice work. She volunteered in leadership roles, including Greek life, campus-community relations, Latinx organizations, as well as many other cultural and community groups. After some international travel, she hopes to pursue a master’s program in ethnic studies.

Christopher McFarland began life in foster care, and ended up on the streets of Los Angeles as a homeless teen. He found himself addicted to drugs, and eventually landed in prison. But following a rough start, McFarland came to OSU, where he first received a bachelor’s degree in public health in 2013.

Throughout his academic career, he has worked with vulnerable populations in Benton County, and this June, he will receive a master’s degree in public health. He plans on continuing to work with the Benton County Health Department and work with at-risk adolescents.

A tragedy turned Marcia Vasquez’ life upside down, but also led her to pursue a doctorate.

In 1996, Vasquez was a master’s student at OSU with a 10-year-old son, Pablo, when her second son, Rodrigo, was born. After graduation she became a faculty member at the University of Talca in Chile, where she survived a major earthquake in 2010, which temporarily shut down the university. But shortly following the quake, Rodrigo was killed in a bicycle accident. The event spurred her to pursue something positive after his death, so she returned to OSU to pursue a doctorate in wood science, and dedicated the effort to Rodrigo.

As a child from Vadodara, India, Parth Khimsaria spent about 10 to 12 hours a day studying during high school and with academic coaches to get into a good engineering school. His path led him to Oregon State University where he was a part of the International Cultural Service Program with a partial scholarship, where he has spent the last five years working on his two undergraduate degrees – manufacturing engineering and industrial engineering, and a minor in business and entrepreneurship. 

During his undergrad journey, he has done two internships at Blount International and Lam Research Corporation, has participated in a number of student engineer organizations, has been an ambassador for the College of Engineering, and has been an undergraduate research and teaching assistant. He has also helped build the International Peer Mentoring Program. After graduation, he will be joining Lam Research Corporation as a manufacturing engineer.

Mathern said OSU expects about 3,974 students to attend commencement. Oregon State is one of only a few universities of its size to hand out actual diplomas to students as they graduate.

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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New housing option available for students recovering from drug/alcohol addiction

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction will find even more support this coming school year as the university opens a new housing option specifically for those in recovery in fall, 2016.

Scholarships will also be available for some students to help offset the costs of on-campus living, making the housing accessible to a broader group of students, including older students who might otherwise choose to live off campus.

The Recovery Living and Learning Community, located in the former cooperative Dixon Lodge, will be focused specifically on creating a supportive, close-knit and substance-free environment for students in recovery. It is being offered in conjunction with the Collegiate Recovery Community, which currently serves students in recovery through Student Health Services. The CRC provides private spaces, support and funding for events on and off campus, and gives students a chance to socialize in a sober environment.

This is the first housing community of its kind at a college or university in Oregon, according to Jennifer Viña, director of marketing and communication with University Housing and Dining Services. It will include dual-occupancy rooms, a community kitchen and programming space.

Providing a sense of community and connecting students with others in recovery is a crucial component to staying clean and sober.

“The students in recovery have a tight bond,” a participant of the current CRC said. “We look out for each other, we are available for our friends in recovery 24/7, no matter what.”

The recovery community provides students with the same kind of social and professional activities offered in other residence halls, but with an underlying emphasis on “recovery-first,” according to John Ruyak, alcohol, drug and recovery Specialist for Student Health Services.

“We are committed to creating a recovery supportive home for all students,” Ruyak said. “Through a unified community, we seek to strengthen students’ sobriety and support their success as academics, leaders, and community members within the CRC and at Oregon State University.”

The new Recovery Living and Learning Community has been made possible by the donation of OSU alumnus Tom Skoro and his wife Joan.

Space is still available for fall, 2016. Contact recovery@oregonstate.edu for more information or visit http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/recovery.

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John Ruyak, 541-737-1184; john.ruyak@oregonstate.edu

OSU Press books named finalists for Oregon Book Awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three books published by the Oregon State University Press have been named finalists for the 29th annual Oregon Book Awards, which will be announced April 11 at the Portland Armory’s Gerding Theater.

The nominees include “Field Guide to Oregon Rivers,” by Tim Palmer of Port Orford, in general nonfiction; “Children and Other Wild Animals,” by Brian Doyle of Portland, and “Morning Light: Wild Flowers, Night Skies and Other Ordinary Joys of Oregon Country Life,” by Barbara Drake of Yamhill – both in the creative nonfiction category.

Another book with OSU ties also was nominated. David Biespiel, a poetry and English instructor at Oregon State, is a finalist in the general nonfiction category for his book, “A Long High Whistle.”

“The amazing slate of finalists this year is a testament to Oregon’s rich and vibrant literary community,” said Tom Booth, associate director of the OSU Press.

The Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships honor the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, poetry, graphic literature and literature for young readers.

Ticket information for the award ceremony is available at brownpapertickets.com.

 

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Marty Brown, 541-737-3866, marty.brown@oregonstate.edu

OSU adds new vaccination requirements to keep campus population healthy

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is launching a new immunization policy to decrease the likelihood that students will contract a serious illness while attending school.

OSU already requires students coming to campus to be immunized against measles, mumps and rubella, and get the meningococcal quadrivalent vaccine. Beginning spring term 2016, incoming students will also be required to be immunized for varicella (chickenpox), Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis) and hepatitis B.

Current students who entered the university prior to spring term will not be required to show proof of these immunizations, and Ecampus students who do not physically attend OSU are exempt from the requirement. However, most domestic students have likely already received these common immunizations.

OSU health officials also recommend, but are not requiring, vaccination with the meningococcal type B vaccine, especially for students under age 25 who live in residence halls, fraternities or sororities. This is the strain of bacteria that caused a meningitis outbreak during winter, 2015, at the University of Oregon, and which causes about 38 percent of the cases in Oregon.

Students can get the two-dose meningococcal type B vaccine at Student Health Services at a cost of $145 per dose, and should check with their insurance companies to see whether or not it is covered. The Centers for Disease Control guidance on the meningococcal B vaccine, to date, has not resulted in broad insurance coverage, which is why this is not included as part of the required immunizations.

“There’s been an increasing conversation about how to best care for students through immunizations,” said Student Health Services Executive Director Jenny Haubenreiser.

The conversation was spurred, university officials say, both by recent infectious disease outbreaks on other campuses and requirements for OSU freshmen to live on campus. Health officials say that keeping students healthy also decreases the risk that a serious illness might derail their academic plans.

“When I speak to parents, I say that anything we can do to protect a student from an infectious disease will help keep them in school,” Haubenreiser said. “Catching pertussis, for example, could knock a student out for several weeks and reduce their ability to complete that term of school. We want to keep students on track.”

All of the required immunizations are provided by Student Health Services and covered by insurance, if given by an in-network provider. There are a limited number of international students whose healthcare costs are covered by their sponsoring countries, resulting in out-of-pocket costs for some-on-campus services. However, Student Health Services staff said they are seeking solutions for these students to minimize impacts and ensure they are able to comply with the immunization policy.

As with previous immunization requirements, students can sign a waiver stating that for philosophical or other reasons, they do not want to be immunized.  However, they will have to participate in an educational session at Student Health Services before they can sign the form to waive the immunization requirement. Typically, only a small portion of students opt out of immunization, currently fewer than 250 at OSU.

Connie Hume-Rodman, director of Clinical Services at Student Health Services, said that being a healthy community is part of the university’s strategic plan. However, people often don’t notice when disease prevention is working, because only outbreaks of serious illness capture public attention.

“Public health is the champion we don’t see,” she said.

For more information on immunization requirements: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/general/policies-and-guidelines/immunizations-tb-screening-and-health-history/domestic-student

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Jenny Haubenreiser, 541-737 7576; jenny.haubenreiser@oregonstate.edu

OSU holds 34th annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Oregon State University’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr., celebration will be held Jan. 11-22 with the theme “Injustice Anywhere is a Threat to Justice Everywhere.”

This 34-year-old celebration is one of the longest continuous events in the state celebrating the civil rights leader. The events at OSU are open to the public and most are free.

Joseph Orosco, director of Oregon State’s Peace Studies Program, will kick off the celebration with a presentation and workshop on Monday, Jan. 11, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Horizon Room. The presentation is titled “Places of Injustice” and will focus on the question of places at OSU named after historical figures with ties to slavery and racism. Orosco is an associate professor of philosophy in the School of History, Philosophy and Religion, and studies social justice, political philosophy and Latin American philosophy.

That evening, a multi-faith prayer service will be held in the Memorial Union, Room 208, from 5-6 p.m.

A number of lectures, workshops and other events will be held throughout the two-week celebration. A full schedule is available online at http://oregonstate.edu/oei/mlk-events

Some highlights include:

  • Jan. 14, 1-2:30 p.m.: Untold Stories: Histories of Students of Color. A guided tour begins on the Memorial Union steps and follows the histories of students of color who have made positive changes to the OSU campus.
  • Jan. 16, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.: Martin Luther King Jr., Day of Service. The annual day of service offers 8-12 individual service projects.  Registration required. For more information and to register for a project, visit: http://sli.oregonstate.edu/mlk
  • Jan. 19, noon-1:30 p.m.: Making the Unknown Known: Exploring Implicit Bias in Everyday Life, in the Memorial Union, Room 206. This workshop will explore attitudes or stereotypes that influence perceptions, judgements, and behaviors in an unconscious manner.
  • Jan. 21, 7-9 p.m.: Speaking Justice: An annual night of spoken word poetry, in the Memorial Union lounge. The two-part event includes a community performance section that allows 6-8 performers the space to share their voice, and a contracted performance focused on social justice issues such as environmental, gender, racial, and queer justice.

Oregon State’s Peace Breakfast takes place Jan. 18, 8:30-10:30 a.m., in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The keynote speaker will be Jeff Chang, executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. The event also will feature the presentation of the Phyllis S. Lee & Frances Dancy Hooks Coalition Builder Awards.

Tickets will be available at the door, but organizers advise patrons to buy tickets in advance from the Memorial Union Information Desk, as the event regularly sells out. The cost is $10 for general admission and $5 for students; children ages 5-and-under will be admitted free.

These events are organized each year by a group of OSU community members convened by the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

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Binh Le, 541-737-4384; binh.le@oregonstate.edu

OSU participation in SNAP to help improve student food access

Oregon State University has become one of the few college campuses in the nation to participate in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

SNAP participants will now be able to purchase food staples at Cascadia Market in the International Living-Learning Center on the OSU campus, using their Oregon Trail cards.

The new program is just one way the university is combating the issue of food insecurity among college students, which is a growing national problem. An OSU research study in 2014 found that 59 percent of students at a nearby Oregon university were food insecure at some point during the previous year, meaning they lacked the ability to acquire nutritionally adequate and safe foods.

While exact numbers of OSU students facing food insecurity is not available, utilization of the OSU Emergency Food Pantry (2,974 served from June 2014-July 2015); the supplemental Meal Bux plan (2,182 students used June 2014-July 2015); and help sought from the Human Services Resource Center indicate that many students need help to meet their food needs.

 Students may be eligible for SNAP based on their income levels, and if they also meet other requirements, including working at least 20 hours a week, having dependent children, or taking part in a state or federally financed work-study program. A complete list of requirements is listed online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/students

University Housing and Dining Services Nutritionist Tara Sanders said that it’s taken several years for Cascadia Market to become SNAP eligible, due to stringent requirements on what types and quantities of staple foods such as meats, dairy and vegetables a shop must sell in order to qualify. There were also technological difficulties with sales hardware that made using SNAP too difficult for clerks and customers.

“We wanted to make sure it was an easy process and that folks who used Oregon Trail cards didn’t stand out when making purchases,” Sanders said. “We want it to be a comfortable and respectful experience for customers.

University officials were notified in August 2015 that they met the federal requirements for SNAP, and the system was established and tested with help from volunteer students who were SNAP eligible. Officials said they hope Cascadia Market will become a model for other locations on campus. 

“We know anecdotally that some students come to campus with so many obligations that they have no food budget,” Sanders said. “We have the OSU Food Pantry and the Meal Bux program, but SNAP is another way to help students have access to nutritious food on campus.”

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Tara Sanders, 541-737-3915; tara.sanders@oregonstate.edu

McComb named senior vice provost for Academic Affairs at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Brenda McComb, a longtime Oregon State University faculty member and dean of the Graduate School since 2011, has been named senior vice provost for Academic Affairs at OSU.

Before being selected to head the Graduate School, McComb led the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society in Oregon State’s College of Forestry.

As senior vice provost, McComb will support Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa in matters related to faculty development, curricular operations, assessment and accreditation, strategic plan implementation, academic capacity planning, academic initiatives and special projects. She also will serve on the OSU President’s Cabinet and Provost’s Council.

Among the primary responsibilities for the senior vice provost:

  • Leadership and coordination of faculty matters, including shaping faculty hiring, support and development of OSU faculty;
  • Oversight of curriculum matters, including curriculum development and review;
  • Liaison with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and the Higher Education Coordination Curriculum;
  • Oversight of institutional planning and research.

“Brenda McComb has invaluable experience both as a faculty member and as an administrator working with faculty in creating an environment that supports exceptional teaching, research and outreach,” Randhawa said. “Brenda provided exceptional leadership to the Graduate School, which is better-positioned now to meet the needs of our graduate students and support graduate faculty.”

McComb’s career began at the University of Kentucky’s Department of Forestry. She joined the Oregon State faculty, with joint appointments in forestry and fisheries and wildlife, in 1987. After nearly a decade at Oregon State, McComb left to become head of the Department of Natural Resources Conservation at the University of Massachusetts, and returned to OSU in 2009 to head the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

In addition to her roles as department head and dean of the Graduate School, McComb has served as a founding member of the Oregon State University Board of Trustees since 2012.

McComb will begin her new position on Jan. 11. The appointment of senior vice provost is typically made for five years, though the length of appointment is at the discretion of OSU provost. McComb succeeds Rebecca Warner, who is returning to teaching and research in the College of Liberal Arts.

Randhawa said a leadership succession plan for the Oregon State University Graduate School will be forthcoming.

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Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-2111, Sabah.Randhawa@oregonstate.edu

OSU to host one of first showings of original Thomas Kinkade paintings since his death

The Guistina Gallery in The LaSells Stewart Center at Oregon State University will be one of the first venues to host a full showing of original works by artist Thomas Kinkade since his death in 2012.

The exhibit, titled “What Will Last? Original Works from the Thomas Kinkade Collection,” will be held Feb. 23 through March 15, 2016. A reception will take place March 9 at 6 p.m. The LaSells Stewart Center is at 875 S.W. 26th St. on the Corvallis campus.

Known as the “Painter of Light” for his distinctive glowing and idyllic landscapes, Kinkade was also extremely successful at reproducing his work, making him one of the most widely recognized modern painters through the wide distribution of his prints and merchandise. Few will fail to recognize the cozy cottages and glowing sunsets Kinkade was known for.

While there will be some of his iconic paintings on display at the OSU show, the show’s focus is on Kinkade’s creative process and his often unseen passion for humanitarianism. Gallery curator Tina Green-Price said that visitors will be able to view a number of original sketches and studies to glimpse the artistic process of the California-based painter. Each piece of work has been hand selected by the Kinkade Family Foundation.

 Kinkade limited the sale of his original artwork and kept much of it in the family, which means that the Guistina exhibit will be the first in the Pacific Northwest to display some of his original works.

 “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many in the Willamette Valley to see such a large collection of original pieces by Kinkade,” Green-Price said.

 More information on the Kinkade Family Foundation is available online at http://www.kinkadefamilyfoundation.org/

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Tina Green-Price, 541-737-2402 or tina.green-price@oregonstate.edu

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OSU Board of Trustees Committees to meet in December

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees’ standing committees will hold meetings in December. These meetings are open to the public:

  • The Academic Strategies Committee will meet on Dec. 4 from 9 to 11 a.m. to consider the committee’s work plan for 2016. The public can attend the meeting in the President’s Conference Room located on the sixth floor of the Kerr Administration Building, 1500 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.
  • The Finance and Administration Committee will meet on Dec. 8 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. to consider quarterly management, investment and endowment reports. The public can attend the meeting in conference room B102 located on the first floor of the Kerr Administration Building, 1500 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.
  • The Executive and Audit Committee will meet on Dec. 15 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. to assess the board composition and consider potential candidates to recommend to the governor for the vacant board position. The public can attend the meeting in conference room B102 located on the first floor of the Kerr Administration Building, 1500 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.

Meeting agendas and materials will be posted online as they become available at: http://leadership.oregonstate.edu/trustees/meetings.

If special accommodation is required, contact Marcia Stuart at 541-737-3449 or marcia.stuart@oregonstate.edu at least 72 hours in advance.

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu 

OSU enrollment up 2.4 percent; Corvallis campus about same size

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s overall 2015 fall term enrollment grew 2.4 percent over last year, with stable enrollment on the Corvallis campus and continued growth in online learning through OSU’s nationally ranked Ecampus distance degree program.

Oregon State’s overall enrollment is 30,592 students, making OSU the largest university in the state of Oregon for the second year in a row.

OSU officials say there are 24,466 students at the university’s main campus in Corvallis, an increase of 3/10ths of one percent, or 83 students, from fall 2014. Oregon State has enrolled 5,110 students in Ecampus this term, an increase of 607 students or 13.5 percent over last year. At OSU-Cascades, where this fall Oregon State offers four-year academic classes for the first time, 1,016 students are enrolled – a 3.7 percent increase over last year.

“This is right in line with Oregon State’s strategic plan to serve as Oregon’s university, as well as with our enrollment management plan,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “Three out of four degree-seeking undergraduate students on our Corvallis campus are Oregon residents, and we continue to attract high-achieving students. Among first-time college students from Oregon high schools, 41.6 percent are considered high-achievers (with a grade point of 3.75 or higher).”

Ray said he was particularly pleased in the continued growth in enrollment of U.S. minority students, an increase of 6.9 percent from 6,320 students in 2014 to 6,754 this fall.

The university also enrolled 5,803 undergraduates who are first-generation students – an increase of 4.5 percent over 2014. “As a first-generation college student myself, that trend is near-and-dear to my heart,” Ray said. “Nearly one out of four of our undergraduates (23.6 percent) is a first-generation student.”

“Oregon State’s mission is to bring higher education to all people within Oregon and we are doing just that by increasingly enrolling people of diversity, students from low-income families, and first-generation students,” Ray said. “Expanded access to an excellent higher education and college degree is essential for all Oregonians, as well as the future of our state and the nation.”

International student enrollment at Oregon State also grew this fall, but by a slower rate than in the past. OSU enrolled 3,328 international students this fall – up 3.9 percent over 2014. The international student enrollment had grown by 21 percent in 2013 and by 12 percent in 2014 and now represents 11.3 percent of Oregon State’s overall enrollment.

Steve Clark, OSU’s vice president for University Relations and Marketing, said OSU’s strategic enrollment growth is sustainable. While demographic patterns in Oregon suggest that the number of high school graduates will remain relatively flat for the foreseeable future, Clark said Oregon State is poised to continue attracting Oregonians, but also a mix of out-of-state and international students, and non-traditionally aged students (25 and over).

“OSU will remain focused on being Oregon’s statewide university,” Clark said. “It takes a balancing act to meet the needs of the state; manage growth in a strategic way; serve as a great community partner where our campuses are located; and operate the university in a financially sustainable way.”

“As promised, we have slowed the growth on our Corvallis campus, but while doing so, we are taking higher education to where students are by continuing to enroll more distance online students through Ecampus, by expanding OSU-Cascades to a four-year campus in Bend; and by opening a marine studies campus in Newport over the next few years.”

More students are studying engineering than any other discipline at OSU – the College of Engineering has a total of 8,265 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled this fall. The next largest programs are the College of Liberal Arts, 3,905 students; the College of Science, 3,526; the College of Business, 3,487; the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, 3,200; and the College of Agricultural Sciences, 2,610.

Enrollment in other colleges and programs includes: University Exploratory Studies, 1,106; College of Forestry, 1,024; Graduate School, 797; College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, 725; College of Pharmacy, 384; College of Education, 317; and College of Veterinary Medicine, 230.

The most popular major at OSU is computer science, followed by business administration, mechanical engineering, kinesiology, and human development and family sciences.

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu