people programs and events

OSU to honor Veterans Day by closing, beginning this year

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will observe Veterans Day (Nov. 11) as an official holiday beginning this year.

No classes will be held that Wednesday and the university will be closed.

The decision to observe Veterans Day was announced last year by OSU President Edward J. Ray, after consultation with both the OSU Faculty Senate and the Associated Students of Oregon State University. OSU began fall term earlier this year to accommodate the change.

Oregon State has more than a thousand students who receive veteran educational benefits – the most of any university in Oregon. “It is important that we recognize and honor the many sacrifices that our nation’s veterans have made,” Ray said.

A range of programs have been initiated or expanded to help support the university’s student veterans, according to Steve Clark, OSU vice president for University Relations and Marketing.

“We are proud to honor our veterans and their contributions to America,” Clark said. “This is a meaningful decision by Oregon State – a university with some 3 percent of our overall enrollment made up of veterans. OSU has long been known as the ‘West Point of the West’ due to Oregon State’s historic U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Program. OSU proudly also has ROTC programs with the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

Media Contact: 

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

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss gives Provost’s Lecture at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Historian Michael Beschloss will deliver the 2015 Provost’s Lecture at Oregon State University in the Austin Auditorium of The LaSells Stewart Center on Tuesday, Nov. 10, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

 Beschloss will speak on “Leadership Under Pressure: A Historian’s Close-up Look at Presidential Decision-Making.” It is free and open to the public.

 A preeminent presidential historian, Beschloss is the author of eight books and frequently serves as an analyst on Meet the Press, The Daily Show, The PBS NewsHour and other shows. He is the author of a regular column in the New York Times, and is the first presidential historian ever appointed by NBC News.

Since he was 10 years old, poring over history books, Beschloss knew he wanted to become a historian.

 “I loved to read history books about presidents and also felt I was living through a period in American history in which whoever happened to be president had a big influence on how Americans lived,” he said.

 Beschloss arrives at OSU in the midst of a heated and divisive presidential primary season, but said the current animosity is less about a rift in the general population and more about the nature of modern American politics.

 “The antagonisms are great, but if you compare the political differences of our time to earlier periods, there have been other times when the differences were much greater – such as the debates over slavery in the 1850s, economics and whether to fight Hitler in the 1930s,” Beschloss said.

 “The point is that hostility between the two parties is now built into our modern political process, no matter how deep the actual divisions in the country.”

 That said, the more divisive candidates, while attracting a certain demographic in the primaries, are unlikely to move forward if history is any predictor.

 “Unifiers tend to have an easier time getting elected president than dividers,” Beschloss said. “It’s hard to think of anyone in recent times who succeeded in winning the presidency on a platform that preeminently pitted groups against one another.”

 An interesting facet of the current presidential race is that the field is appears open to more than just white males, Beschloss noted. With the first African-American president serving his second term, and both women and a non-Christian vying for a spot in the coming primaries, the presidency is looking like a possibility for a broader group of people.

 “One of the glories of America is that the gates to the White House are always opening wider, and that process is likely to speed up as demographic changes make the composition of American society look very different from the way it did even 20 years ago,” Beschloss said.

 Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the lecture, which will be followed by a book signing.  





Media Contact: 

Shelly Signs, 541-737-0724; shelly.signs@oregonstate.edu

Sidebar: OSU board approves three new graduate programs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved three new graduate academic programs for 2016.

The new programs will establish a master of arts degree in environmental arts and humanities, a Ph.D. and master of science degree in psychology, and a professional master’s degree in athletic training at Oregon State.

The programs must be reviewed by the provosts’ council, made up of representatives from Oregon’s public universities, and approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities before becoming official.

The program in environmental arts and humanities is designed to provide students with the cultural, moral, historical, spiritual, creative and communication dimensions of environmental issues. Supported primarily by the colleges of Liberal Arts, Science, Forestry and Agricultural Sciences, as well as the Graduate School, the program will prepare students to work with environmental organizations, government agencies, corporations and “green businesses” and other environmental positions.

The Ph.D. and master’s program in psychology, offered by the School of Psychological Science at OSU, will focus on training doctoral students, who may obtain the master’s degree as part of the process. As psychology is considered a “hub science,” the program will focus on the psychological methods and research necessary to solve practical problems in the public and private sectors, as well as other disciplines.

The professional athletic training master’s degree, offered through the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, will replace the widely recognized undergraduate program and degree offered since 1973-74. The new professional master’s degree will better prepare students for the increasingly complex profession, and help them provide sports medicine patient care to teams from the high school through professional levels, as well as in hospitals, clinics, physical therapy practices and elsewhere.

Media Contact: 

Steve Clark, 503-502-8217, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

OSU Trustees laud work, ethics of President Ray

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday completed an assessment of OSU President Edward J. Ray for 2014-15, approved a series of goals for him over the next fiscal year, and approved three new graduate programs.

The board also paid tribute to former trustees Elson Floyd, president of Washington State University, and Orcilia Forbes, former OSU vice president and a trustee for the Meyer Memorial Trust. Both died earlier this year.

Board chair Pat Reser said the trustees, without exception, “were pleased with the progress made toward President Ray’s goals over the past year.

“Under his leadership, the university has continued to see growth in undergraduate and graduate degrees granted, and in research funding,” Reser said. “The university has continued its progress on the OSU-Cascades campus, and Marine Studies Initiative. The president was also instrumental in the highly successful and first-ever Campaign for OSU and in the smooth transition to, and support for, the Board of Trustees in its inaugural year.”

Reser and vice-chair Darry Callahan noted that trustees – and others contacted as part of the presidential assessment – spoke highly of Ray, citing his dynamic leadership and strong personal ethics, understanding of the influences and challenges to the university, and ability to manage risk while maintaining an eye for opportunity.

The board approved Ray’s three major goals for the 2015-16 fiscal year:

  • Continue the successful implementation of the university’s strategic plan, now in its third iteration;
  • Make progress toward eliminating achievement gaps and raising first-year retention rates and six-year graduation rates for students as a whole, and sub-groups of students;
  • Create a 10-year business plan to accompany the strategic plan that ensures a sustainable financial path to success for the university.

In other action, the board officially acknowledged the role of the Oregon State University Foundation and the Agricultural Research Foundation as entities soliciting financial contributions on behalf of the university.

A similar housekeeping measure was approved by the board to revise the Public University Investment Fund Policy to allow new benchmarking and analytic tools.

Trustees adopted a board work plan for 2016 and also approved a process for identifying and vetting candidates for future vacancies for at-large positions on the OSU Board of Trustees. The board will conduct a needs assessment by analyzing current members’ backgrounds against board composition goals and establishing a list of potential candidates in consultation with the OSU president, before submitting them to the governor for consideration.

The board also heard reports on state legislative matters affecting higher education and on OSU’s compliance and ethics programs.

On Thursday, the board visited OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, and was briefed on the university’s Marine Studies Initiative. The initiative has set a goal to teach 500 students at the Hatfield center by 2025, and expand marine-related research both on campus and at the Newport facility, which is run by Oregon State and shared by several agencies.

The multiple agencies, along with Hatfield’s saltwater research laboratories and ship operations, make it one of the most important marine science facilities in the country – and the combination provides unique opportunities for OSU students.

Media Contact: 

Steve Clark, 503-502-8217, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

$500,000 matching gift benefits 4-H youth in Baker County

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The long-term strength and stability of Baker County’s 4-H program for youth has received a major boost through a challenge gift establishing the county’s first endowed professorship.

Lee and Connie (Howard) Kearney will match up to $500,000 in gifts for the Janice Cowan Baker County 4-H Professorship endowment, providing a perpetual source of support for a full-time faculty member leading 4-H programs in the county.

The endowment is named for Oregon State University faculty member Janice Cowan, who is retiring following 25 years of service with 4-H and Baker County.

The Kearneys, who live in Vancouver, Washington, are among OSU’s most active volunteer leaders and generous philanthropists. A retired attorney, Connie (Howard) Kearney grew up in Baker County, where she participated in 4-H. She serves as treasurer on the Oregon 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees.

As the only nationwide youth development program with direct ties to the land grant university system, 4-H is uniquely positioned to ensure that its programs evolve and align with the most current knowledge about how young people develop and learn. In Baker County, 4-H has served youth for more than 110 years.

In addition to traditional 4-H programming such as raising animals, camping, and cooking, Baker County has become known for innovative programs including Field to Fork, in which more than 200 participants each year learn about where their food comes from. Along with other eastern Oregon counties, Baker County 4-H also offers college and career readiness camps to help youth succeed after high school.

The Janice Cowan Baker County 4-H Professorship will support high-impact programs like these and others, such as school garden projects, after-school activities and increased opportunities for youth to engage in statewide programs.

When she was a teen, a statewide 4-H summer conference first brought Connie (Howard) Kearney to the OSU campus, where she would later go to college and meet Lee, her future husband.

“4-H played a pivotal role in my life. 4-H taught me how to cook, sew and can,” she said. “We believe an endowment is the best way to ensure that funds are always available to support leadership for these young people. We hope our challenge grant will encourage others to financially support Baker County 4-H.”

The endowed professorship is the third for Oregon 4-H, all created by donors in the last three years. Other recent gifts have created programmatic endowments for county 4-H programs.

“We’ve seen all over the country that 4-H programs are vulnerable to cuts in public funding,” said Pamela Rose, state 4-H program leader. “That’s why an endowment is so incredibly important – it provides a long-lasting legacy of support. We’re deeply grateful for the Kearneys’ inspiring generosity and leadership.”

Media Contact: 

Molly Brown, molly.brown@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-3602


Pamela Rose, pamela.rose@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-4628

OSU Libraries forms sister relationship with Nigerian university library

CORVALLIS, Ore. -  Oregon State University Libraries has forged a connection with a university library in Nigeria that will make it one of only a small group of existing “sister” university library relationships.

The collaboration will take place with the Federal University of Agriculture’s Nimbe Adedipe Library, in Abeokuta, Nigeria. It will establish an ongoing collaboration between librarians and staff at both universities, including exchange of library staff, joint research activities, participation in virtual seminars and academic meetings, and the exchange of library materials and other information.

“There are many benefits for OSU Libraries to seek out an international sister library relationship,” said OSU librarian Laurie Bridges, the coordinator of the OSU side of the project. “It helps raise awareness of issues and needs facing libraries internationally, it helps us share techniques and technologies to solve problems, and it increases the information, resources, and expertise between both libraries. It also increases the diversity of interaction between professionals.”

Bridges said the initiative also meets one of Oregon State’s strategic goals, which is promoting international education, research and engagement.

The Federal University of Agriculture is a public university in Nigeria consisting of nine colleges, with about 60 percent of majors focused on agriculture. It has about 19,000 students.

"Myself and my colleagues are most excited about networking with our new friends and colleagues from Oregon State University Libraries," said Fehintola Nike Onifade, a librarian from Nigeria. "This will help us to track trends and keep up with changes in librarianship and information science. In fact we are hoping that the relationship will lead us to best practices in library and information science service delivery."

OSU officials have signed a formal letter of understanding with FUA, formalizing the relationship between the two universities. A small group will be formed within the library to start working on outreach and exchange possibilities with FUA. 

Media Contact: 

Laurie Bridges, 541-737-8821

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OSU Orange & Black Rally on Wednesday will include fireworks

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will hold an Orange & Black Rally on campus for new students on Wednesday, Sept. 23, beginning at about 5:15 p.m. in Reser Stadium.

The rally, which follows OSU’s annual new student convocation, is designed “to get incoming students excited about joining Beaver Nation and the OSU student body,” according to Natalie Rooney, orientation coordinator for New Student Programs and Family Outreach.

The rally will feature appearances and brief talks by some of the head coaches in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and a class photo. A catered dinner is available for new and returning students beginning at approximately 6:15 p.m. on 26th Street, which will be closed to traffic. Tickets, priced at $8, are available online at http://connect.oregonstate.edu/OBR and should be purchased by midnight Saturday. Tickets will be sold to students next week at a handful of campus locations.

There will be games, contests and music in Parker Plaza outside of Reser Stadium during and after dinner.

The community is invited to join the event at 7:30 p.m. inside Reser, when the OSU marching band performs. A fireworks program will begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.

Media Contact: 

Natalie Rooney, 541-737-0526, Natalie.rooney@oregonstate.edu

New classroom building at Oregon State features cutting edge technology, design

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is celebrating the grand opening of a new state-of-the-art academic building that will showcase classrooms unlike any found elsewhere on university campuses.

A celebration of the new space will be held at the building on Tuesday, Sept. 22, beginning at 1 p.m. in the Arena Classroom (Room 100), 165 S.W. Sackett Place. Open house tours will follow the program.

Built to serve every department on campus, the new Learning Innovation Center (known as LInC) was designed by Portland-based Boora Architects and includes 2,300 seats of formal teaching space and 640 seats of student-directed informal learning space.

The 134,000-square-foot academic building will showcase large-scale, active learning classroom formats never seen before.

“Considerable thought and work went into designing the learning spaces in LinC to enhance student learning broadly, accommodate various learning styles, and promote collaborative learning," said Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president. "In addition to providing much needed classroom capacity for our expanding student body, LinC provides a technology-rich and supportive learning environment for faculty and students.”

Based upon principles of ideal physical proximity and visibility between student and instructor, the design includes two “in the round” arena style classrooms of 600 and 300 seats.  The larger classroom collapses the distances separating student and instructor to just eight rows or 30 feet. Four aisles extend from the center of the room, enabling faculty to come within 15 feet of every student in the space.

Lois Brooks, OSU vice provost for Information Services, participated in the design of the building. She said she’s excited to be a part of an endeavor that focuses on utilizing space to enhance classroom experiences. “It emphasizes collaboration, active learning and excellent teaching.”

The Parliament Room, inspired by the layout of the British House of Commons, is a curved, double-loaded classroom that accommodates 175 students and will encourage discourse and debate among students and faculty.  In this classroom, students are no further than five rows from their professor at any one time. 

Brooks said the designs, even for the larger classroom, create a more intimate space where the professor can roam rather than remaining static, and can engage students directly, even in large courses.

“These rooms put the instructor as close to the student as possible so students don’t drift away during lectures,” Brooks said. The classrooms are equipped with wireless technology so no one is tethered to one place, and each has at least two screens so faculty or students can project multiple images, ideas or presentations at once.

Classrooms are located in the center of the building with hallways on either side, allowing more flow between classes, crucial given the numbers of students expected to utilize the building each day. There are many informal learning spaces as well, providing opportunities for both students and faculty to collaborate, study and teach in a more relaxed setting, and green room areas for faculty to prepare before class, or spend time after class talking to students without interfering with the next class arriving.

The design of these spaces is so cutting-edge it's inspired a long-term partnership between Boora and Oregon State that involves a research project with the College of Education, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Technology Across the Curriculum, which will study the effects of alternative large-scale classroom configurations on student learning outcomes and engagement.  

"This is state of the art in every sense,” Brooks said. “While people are the centerpiece of the learning experience, the new spaces will allow faculty and students to use technology to further enhance their learning experience.”

Initial research will first create a baseline of student outcomes and engagements by studying large-scale classrooms in existing OSU facilities in which instructors are attempting to use active learning techniques.  Data will then be gathered on the same courses/instructors in the Learning Innovation Center’s new classrooms. Learning outcomes and behaviors studied will include test scores, attendance, participation, and engagement, and comparative analysis will continue after the building is opened between new and existing classrooms.

More than 2,500 students have signed up to participate in the study.  Clicker technology is used to track student attendance and seating location in the room. The data collected and analyzed will inform future classrooms and teaching methods both on the campus and for other higher education institutions.

The University Honors College has relocated to LInC and Dean Toni Doolen said she is thrilled to have four smaller classrooms dedicated to the college, which limits class sizes to 25 students or less for lower division undergraduates and 12-15 for upper division undergraduates. She said the new classrooms will be perfect for accommodating the unique teaching styles and learning approaches of Honors College courses.

“Our faculty members use many different strategies to create an interactive classroom,” Doolen said. “Our students are fully engaged in the learning and due to the high level of interaction between students and faculty, are also engaged in learning from each other.”

Doolen also hopes that having the University Honors College located in a heavily trafficked student building will raise the visibility of the college. This fall, nearly 1,200 OSU students will be enrolled in the rapidly growing college. Doolen pointed out that in total over the 20-year history of the college there are only 1,200 alumni total.

“Being in the new space really highlights the importance of the Honors College and its students to all of campus,” Doolen said. “And our faculty like to pioneer curriculum and learning technology in their honors courses, which makes this new space a perfect fit for us.”

LInC will be the new home for the Information Services division of Academic Technology comprised of Classroom Technology Services, Media Services and Technology Across the Curriculum; the Center for Teaching and Learning; and the University Honors College offices and conference rooms.

Media Contact: 

Lois Brooks, 541-737-8810; lois.brooks@oregonstate.edu

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LInC building

OSU names Haggerty interim dean of college

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Roy Haggerty, the Hollis M. Dole Professor of Environmental Geology at Oregon State University, has been named interim dean of OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

He succeeds Mark Abbott, who earlier this summer accepted a position as president and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, effective Oct. 1. Oregon State will launch a national search for a new dean in September, according to Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president.

“I am delighted that Roy has agreed to serve as interim dean,” Randhawa said. “He is known as a leader with integrity and as a bridge builder, and his candidacy generated a great sense of enthusiasm across the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.”

Haggerty has been on the OSU faculty since 1996 and served as head of the geology program from 2003-06 in the Department of Geosciences, before it was merged with the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences. With more than 100 faculty members and nearly a thousand graduate and undergraduate students the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences is one of the largest and strongest programs of its kind in North America.

An expert in hydrology, Haggerty’s research has addressed transport of nutrients, carbon and heat in streams, nuclear waste disposal issues in the United States and Sweden, and other forms of groundwater contamination.

In his two decades at OSU, his work has been supported by more than $9 million in grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S.D.A. Forest Service and other organizations. He has taught at all levels, from introductory earth sciences to advanced classes in hydrology.

He is the principal investigator for the Willamette Water 2100 project, sponsored by the NSF, and involving 20 faculty members at OSU, University of Oregon, Portland State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. The project seeks to understand how climate change, population growth and human activity may affect water scarcity in the Willamette Basin throughout the 21st century.

Haggerty is a graduate of the University of Alberta and has master’s and doctoral degrees in hydrogeology from Stanford University.

Media Contact: 

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

Roy Haggerty, 541-737-1210, roy.haggerty@oregonstate.edu

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    Interim dean Roy Haggerty

Gift establishes professorship in “humanitarian engineering” at Oregon State

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s humanitarian engineering program has received a major boost with a $1.5 million gift creating one of the nation’s only endowed professorships in this emerging field.

OSU alumni Richard and Gretchen Evans, of Northern California, made prior gifts that helped to launch OSU’s program two years ago, responding to growing interest among engineering students in making a lasting, positive impact on the world.

Humanitarian engineering seeks science- and engineering-based solutions to improve the human condition by increasing access to basic human needs such clean water or renewable energy, enhancing quality of life, and improving community resilience, whether in face of natural disasters or economic turmoil. Although the greatest needs often lie in developing countries, needs also exist locally.

Oregon State’s program is focused on disadvantaged communities in the Pacific Northwest as well as around the world.

“The technical skills of engineering are essential, but so are abilities we might call human skills – such as communication, problem-solving, leadership and the ability to work across cultures,” said Richard Evans, an OSU College of Engineering alumnus who was president and CEO of Alcan, a Fortune-100 mining company and aluminum manufacturer based in Montreal. “The humanitarian engineering curriculum is a structured way for engineers to practice those human skills in challenging, real world settings.”

Drawing on the humanities also encourages creative solutions by “thinking outside the box,” added Gretchen Evans, an artist and interior designer who graduated from OSU’s College of Education and subsequently completed master’s courses at Legon University in Ghana, West Africa. “Listening is so important – not just believing that we know all of the answers going into every situation.”

The first Richard and Gretchen Evans Professor in Humanitarian Engineering is mechanical engineering professor Kendra Sharp, who directs the program.

“One of the things that’s most exciting about humanitarian engineering is that it captures the interest of a more diverse group of prospective students than we typically see in engineering, including a significant number of women,” Sharp said. “We are thrilled that the Evans’ gift will help us channel students’ passion for making a better world. The stability provided by this endowment will make a huge difference as we move forward.”

Oregon State’s humanitarian engineering program is grounded in a campus-wide emphasis on engaged service that springs from the university’s historic land grant mission. Multiple student organizations, including OSU’s award-winning Engineers Without Borders chapter and the American Society of Civil Engineering student chapter, have been working on water, energy and other projects in under-served Oregon communities and the developing world.

Yet in contrast to humanitarian engineering programs that are primarily an extracurricular activity, Oregon State’s is one of a handful nationwide rooted in an academic curriculum. Exemplifying OSU’s commitment to collaborative, transdisciplinary research and education, the curriculum was put together by a diverse group of faculty led by the College of Engineering but also involving the humanities, public health and education. A new undergraduate minor in humanitarian engineering will be open for enrollment in the coming year.

OSU’s humanitarian engineering program is further differentiated by residing in a university that also offers a Peace Corps Master’s International program in engineering. OSU was the first university in Oregon to join this program, which allows a graduate student to get a master’s degree while doing a full 27-month term of service in the Peace Corps. In addition to PCMI degrees in other fields, Oregon State remains one of just 10 universities nationwide to offer this degree in engineering.

College of Engineering Dean and Kearney Professor of Engineering Scott Ashford said that the humanitarian engineering professorship positions Oregon State for national leadership in this area while supporting one the college’s highest goals.

“We are dedicated to purposefully and thoughtfully increasing the diversity of our students and faculty, building a community that is inclusive, collaborative and centered on student success,” Ashford said. “This is the community that will produce locally conscious, globally aware engineers equipped to solve seemingly intractable problems and contribute to a better world. That’s the Oregon State engineer.”

Richard Evans is a senior international business adviser and director of companies including non-executive chairman of both Constellium, producer of advanced aluminum engineered products, and Noranda Aluminum Holdings, a U.S. regional aluminum producer. He is an independent director of CGI, Canada’s largest IT consulting and outsourcing company. In addition to her art, primarily in acrylics and mixed media, Gretchen Evans volunteers as an art teacher in a low-income Oakland, California, school.

Over the last decade, donors have established 81 endowed faculty positions at Oregon State, an increase of 170 percent, through gifts to the OSU Foundation. These prestigious positions help the university recruit and retain world-class leaders in teaching and research, with earnings from the endowments providing support for the faculty and creating opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the programs as well.

Media Contact: 
Media Contact: 

Molly Brown, 541-737-3602


Kendra Sharp, 541-737-5246

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Sharp with the Evanses


Sharp in India