OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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OSU part of national alliance to help students

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and 10 other prominent research universities have formed a nationwide alliance aimed at helping retain and ultimately graduate more first-generation students and students from low-income families.

The new consortium, known as the University Innovation Alliance, already has received $5.7 million in funding from charitable foundations, which will be matched by the member institutions.

The alliance is designed to develop and share best practices on ways to better engage first-generation and low-income students by creating a national “playbook” of successful initiatives. Access to higher education – and success upon matriculating – has long been a priority for OSU President Edward J. Ray, himself a first-generation college student.

“This alliance is near and dear to my heart because I know first-hand how important it is to provide mentoring and resources for these students,” Ray said. “Oregon State has some innovative and successful programs and we look forward to sharing our ideas and learning from other institutions ways we can do even more.”

Students from high-income families are seven times more likely to attain a college degree than those from low-income families. The United States will face a shortage of at least 16 million college graduates by 2025, studies show, and the alliance’s founding members are focused on addressing this gap at a time when public funding for higher education has been decreasing.

Joining Oregon State in forming the alliance are: Arizona State University, Georgia State University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of California, Riverside, University of Central Florida, University of Kansas, and University of Texas at Austin.

Supporting the initiative are the Ford Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, USA Funds and the Markle Foundation.

The $11.4 million in overall funding will be used in a variety of ways, focusing on encouraging leaders of innovative programs to engage with other member institutions, according to Rebecca Warner, OSU’s senior vice provost for academic affairs.

Institutions affiliated with the alliance have a track record of success in helping students from all backgrounds. Georgia State, for example, successfully used predictive analytics and advising interventions to increase its semester-to-semester student retention rates by 5 percent and reduce time-to-degree for graduating students by almost half a semester.

That led to 1,200 more students staying in school every year, and the Georgia State Class of 2014 saved $10 million in tuition and fees compared to graduates a year earlier. If these same innovations were scaled across the 11 alliance member institutions over the next five years, it is estimated that an additional 61,000 students would graduate and save almost $1.5 billion in educational costs to students and taxpayers.

Sabah Randhawa, OSU’s provost and executive vice president, said Oregon State looks forward to sharing information about some of its successful programs, including the College Assistance Migrant Program for children for migrant families; the Educational Opportunities Program, a resources for students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, veterans and others; and TRIO Support Services, a program aimed at boosting student retention.

“Oregon State also has some targeted precollege programs like Juntos, which is helping Latino students in central Oregon better prepare for going to college in the first place,” Randhawa said. “That kind of a head start can be critical in the success of students down the road.”

“We also will be sharing our successes with Ecampus, which annually is ranked among the best programs of its kind in the country,” Randhawa added. OSU Ecampus offers 35 degrees and certificate programs, and has grown at a rate of about 20 percent annually over the past five years.

More information on the University Innovation Alliance is available at www.theuia.org

Media Contact: 
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Becky Warner, 541-737-0732; becky.warner@oregonstate.edu;

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

Three OSU faculty members named fellows of American Geophysical Union

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Three Oregon State University faculty members have been named 2014 fellows of the American Geophysical Union. They are the only three fellows in this class from the state of Oregon.

The three selected as fellows were Edward Brook and Gary Egbert from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences; and Beverly Law from the College of Forestry.

Brook is a paleoclimatologist who studies the Earth’s ancient climates through examination of ice cores, specializing in the history of greenhouse gases. His studies have helped explain the processes that led to large-scale climate shifts throughout Earth’s history. In 2011, he was part of a team that completed the excavation of a 10,928-foot ice core – the longest core ever drilled by United States scientists – with ice more than 67,000 years old.

Egbert is a geophysicist and oceanographer whose studies range from ocean tides to electromagnetic imaging of the solid Earth. In one pioneering study, he and his colleagues used satellite altimetry data to show that ocean tides lose significant energy over rough topography in the open ocean. These results imply that the tides may provide an important source of mechanical energy for vertical ocean mixing, and large-scale heat transport in the ocean – processes which are critical to Earth’s climate.

Law is a professor of global change biology and terrestrial systems science who examines the role of forests in the global carbon cycle, and the impacts of climate change on those forests. She was science chair of the AmeriFlux network of more than 100 research sites for 11 years, and in 2014 was listed as a “most highly cited” researcher, in the top 1 percent for the period of 2002-12. She is a principal investigator on a five-year, $4 million project studying the impacts of drought, insects and fires on western forests.

The American Geophysical Union established the AGU Fellows program in 1962, and restricts annual recognition to less than 0.1 percent of its overall membership. This year, 62 fellows were named for their scientific eminence, a major breakthrough, a major discovery, paradigm shifts and/or sustained scientific impact. They will be recognized on Dec. 17 at the annual AGU conference in San Francisco.

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Joan Buhrman, 1+ 202 777-7509, jbuhrman@agu.org

OSU Board of Trustees OKs budget, approves new degree programs

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Friday approved the university’s operating budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year, and also approved new master and doctoral degree programs in robotics and bachelor degree programs in religious studies.

This was the first meeting of the board after it officially took over oversight responsibility for the university on July 1 from the State Board of Higher Education. This change occurred as part of legislation adopted by the 2013 Oregon Legislature and the university’s decision to have its own independent board of directors appointed by the governor.

The board unanimously voted to adopt a $1.023 billion operating budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which covers OSU revenues and expenditures from July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015. The revenue stream includes:

  • Educational and program funding authorized by the state legislature;
  • Projected tuition and fees paid by students;
  • Auxiliary revenues from OSU service centers, including University Housing and Dining Services and OSU’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics;
  • External funds for teaching, research and outreach from private giving through the OSU Foundation, and from grants funded by state, federal or non-profit agencies or private industry.

The university’s budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year was $986.3 million.

The interdisciplinary robotics degree programs, which will begin in 2014-15, will be located within the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering in OSU’s College of Engineering. During its first five years, the program is expected to graduate as many as 10 Ph.D. students and 30 master degree students and provide students expertise in the fields of robot design, control, manufacturing and operation that are rapidly growing worldwide. As many as 70 OSU students already are engaged in robotics studies.

The new bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degree programs in religious studies will be housed within OSU’s School of History, Philosophy and Religion in the College of Liberal Arts. The program will be initiated in fall 2015 and after five years would serve as many as 60 students. The decision restores religious study degree programs that were eliminated in the early 1990’s following budget cuts at Oregon State prompted by the adoption of state constitutional limits on property taxes.

The board also adopted a contract for the employment of OSU President Edward J. Ray through June 30, 2016, including terms of his compensation and his duties, responsibilities and annual performance evaluation.

The board also approved resolutions related to:

  • How the university manages safeguards of U.S. Department of Defense classified information related to research contracts that may be awarded Oregon State;
  • Reporting known or suspected fraud, waste and abuse within the university;
  • Establishing a university code of ethics;
  • Amending the charter of the OSU Board of Trustees’ executive and audit committee related to how external and internal university financial audits will be reviewed and approved by the board.

The board heard presentations from university finance and administration administrators related to public capital financing tools available for use by Oregon State; the university’s current and forecasted bonded indebtedness; and capital and facility improvement plans and procedures used by the university.

Media Contact: 
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 Steve Clark, 503-502-8217; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

OSU’s 13th president leaves legacy of university expansion and success

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Paul Risser, the 13th president of Oregon State University from 1996 to late 2002, died Thursday in Norman, Oklahoma. He was 74.

Risser was president at OSU through a period of significant enrollment growth, new facilities, expanded fund raising, renewed athletic success and the creation of the OSU-Cascades Campus.

“President Risser led Oregon State during a time of challenge and transition,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “He helped to re-energize our intercollegiate athletics programs, increased enrollment, led the successful effort to establish the Cascades Campus in Bend, guided the university through difficult financial times and helped to raise Beaver pride.”

Ray also pointed out Risser’s achievements in donor support and expansion of the OSU campus.

“Paul resumed the process of renovating and building important campus facilities and positioning the university for successful fundraising in the years ahead,” Ray said. “He wanted every student at the university to reach their full potential and promoted programs to achieve that goal. Paul was a wise and kind mentor to me, and we are grateful to him for his essential role in helping to build this great university.”

Under Risser's leadership, OSU boosted recruiting efforts, expanded scholarship offerings, broadened its marketing, and implemented new orientation and retention programs. In 2000, the Oregon State System of Higher Education selected Oregon State to develop the first branch campus in Oregon history, and the OSU-Cascades Campus opened in Bend in September, 2001.

Risser also helped Oregon State launch an effort to propel its College of Engineering into one of the top programs in the nation. In 2000, the university began an ambitious 10-year, $180 million fundraising campaign, with two-thirds of the funds to be raised privately. That campaign led to a $20 million gift from alumnus Martin E. Kelley to support the initiative.

As an advocate for a successful athletic program, Risser strongly supported more competitive teams, improved facilities, reduced athletic department debt, and watched as the university’s football team once again gained success and went to the 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, defeating Notre Dame 41-9.

A number of campus buildings were constructed under Risser’s watch, including the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center, the $40 million expansion of Valley Library, and Richardson Hall. The university’s first new residence hall in 30 years, Halsell Hall, also opened.

An accomplished ecologist, researcher and scholar, Risser authored or edited six books and published more than 100 chapters and scientific papers in academic journals.

Risser had come to OSU from a position as president of Miami University in Ohio. He left in January, 2003, to return to his home state, becoming chancellor of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.

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Ed Ray, 541-737-4133

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Paul Risser

Paul Risser

Ron Adams named interim research VP at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has named Ron Adams as interim vice president for Research, effective July 1.

Adams, former dean of the College of Engineering at OSU, has spent the past three years as executive associate vice president for research at Oregon State – a new position designed to boost the university’s partnerships with industry and spin out more companies based on Oregon State’s research discoveries.

He succeeds Rick Spinrad, who accepted a position as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Washington, D.C.

“This is an important leadership position for Oregon State at a time of exceptional research growth for the university,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “I look forward to working with Ron as we advance OSU’s research activities and begin a national search for a new vice president.”

Adams leads the OSU Advantage program, which helps commercialize innovations, launch new companies, connect existing business with faculty expertise and student talent, and provide Oregon with the work-ready graduates needed for economic progress.

“This Advantage effort remains important to OSU's mission and strategy and we will expand its impact in the coming year,” Adams said. “In a broader sense, the collaborative culture of OSU will continue to create opportunities to increase the university's impact through discoveries from major research programs like the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry.”

“We will increase our efforts to help foster these opportunities by working with faculty across disciplines in order to address major challenges such as of health and wellness, food/water safety and security, impacts of climate change on forests and other natural resources, and the availability of clean energy.”

Prior to his appointment as executive associate vice president, Adams was the engineering dean for 13 years, leading the college through a period of remarkable growth. The College of Engineering doubled the size of its Ph.D. program, tripled its research funding and helped spin off more than a dozen companies.

Before returning to OSU as dean after a previous stint on the faculty, Adams worked at Tektronix for more than 14 years, including serving as vice president of technology and as a senior Tektronix fellow.

Adams earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from OSU and his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served in the U.S. Air Force and worked at MIT Lincoln Labs before joining the OSU faculty as an assistant, and then associate professor of mechanical engineering. He took a leave from OSU to lead a team at Tektronix working on developing color printing technologies.

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Ed Ray, 541-737-4133; ed.ray@oregonstate.edu

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Ron Adams

White House appoints OSU’s Spinrad as NOAA’s chief scientist

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The White House announced today the appointment of Richard (Rick) Spinrad, the vice president for research at Oregon State University since July 2010, as chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Spinrad will resign from his position as vice president and take a leave of absence from the Oregon State faculty to accept the NOAA appointment, which begins in July. He is a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

As NOAA’s chief scientist, Spinrad will help drive the policy and program direction for all science and technology priorities at the agency and advise NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan and agency program leaders on research matters.

“I am honored to be appointed to this position at such a critical time,” Spinrad said. “The issues that NOAA is addressing relate to natural hazards, resource management and the optimal application of research to solve problems. Being asked to help guide the agency’s scientific agenda is a humbling and exciting opportunity.”

OSU President Edward J. Ray praised Spinrad, and pointed to the long list of Oregon State faculty and administrators who recently have held high-ranking federal appointments, including former NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and others.

“Rick Spinrad has provided exceptional leadership to the university’s research enterprise,” said OSU President Edward J. Ray. “He has successfully increased our research partnerships with industry, spearheaded the drive for a marine studies campus in Newport, and helped OSU secure a major grant to design and oversee the construction of as many as three new ships for the United States research fleet.

“We will miss his many contributions, but we know that he will make an outstanding addition to the NOAA administration.”

Under Spinrad’s leadership, the last fiscal year was OSU’s best ever in technology licensing as the university signed 88 new licenses with organizations in the fields of information technology, agriculture, industrial materials, biotechnology, forest products, healthy aging and manufacturing. OSU also received a record $7.7 million in licensing and royalty income, and research funding from the private sector reached $36 million – a 65 percent increase over the last five years.

A key component of OSU’s growth in industry partnerships under Spinrad was the launch of a new initiative in January 2013 called the Oregon State University Advantage, which is designed to boost the university’s impact on job creation and economic progress in Oregon and beyond. The program has increased access by private industry to OSU’s faculty and researchers and allows companies to take better advantage of the university’s unique capabilities.

Spinrad also played an integral role in the launch of the Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network known as Oregon RAIN and the selection of OSU – along with public and private partners in Alaska and Hawaii – to run a center to investigate the civilian use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

He also was a member of the Corvallis Economic Development Commission.

“It was a difficult decision to leave OSU at this time,” Spinrad said. “Our success in research of late and the exciting prospects for the university’s future are testimony to the extraordinary skills and capabilities of our faculty, staff, students and administrators. I will watch OSU’s continued growth with a sense of confidence and pride in the university community.”

Before coming to OSU, Spinrad was assistant administrator for research at NOAA. He also has been the research director for the U.S. Navy; taught oceanography at two universities; directed a major national non-profit organization; was president of a private company; and worked as a research scientist.

Spinrad received his master’s (1978) and doctoral (1982) degrees in oceanography from OSU.

An interim vice president for OSU research will be appointed in the near future.

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Rick Spinrad, 541-737-0662; rick.spinrad@oregonstate.edu; Steve Clark, 503-502-8217; steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

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Rick Spinrad

Former director of Hatfield Center Lavern Weber dies Monday

NEWPORT, Ore. – Lavern Weber, director of Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center for a quarter-century and a leader in the development of Newport as a marine science education and research center, died Monday. He was 80.

Weber led the Newport-based OSU center from 1977 until his retirement in 2002. In addition to directing the Hatfield Center, he also served as director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resource Studies (CIMRS) and as superintendent of the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station (COMES), which was the nation’s first experiment station dedicated to coastal issues.

“Lavern Weber was heavily involved in nearly everything that went on at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and in Newport, contributing significantly to these and to the OSU community,” said Robert Cowen, who now directs the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “He will be missed.”

Weber graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1958 and earned masters and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington, where he served on the faculty from 1964-69. He joined the OSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife in 1969 and later had a faculty appointment in pharmacy and worked as assistant dean of the graduate school before moving into his role at the Newport center in 1977.

Under his leadership, the center grew as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service and Vents Programs, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife became established at the OSU facility. Weber also oversaw the expansion of student and faculty housing, the remodeling of the Visitor’s Center, expanded ship operations, and construction of several buildings, including the Guin Library.

Weber received the OSU Alumni Association’s Distinguished Professor Award in 1992. He was president of the Yaquina Bay Economic Foundation, served for a dozen years on the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve Management Commission, and in 2000-01 was president of the National Association of Marine Laboratories.

“He was a wonderful citizen of Newport, participating in a variety of organizations, including chairing the board of the Oregon Coast Council for the Arts,” said Janet Webster, head librarian for the Hatfield Marine Science Center. He mentored numerous graduate students and faculty in his years as a professor, director and associate dean (in the College of Agricultural Sciences). OSU and Newport will miss him.”

Plans for a memorial service will be announced later.

Media Contact: 
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Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234; Robert Cowen, 541-867-0211

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OSU’s Beth Ray, 67, dies Friday

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University First Lady Beth P. Ray died this evening after battling cancer. She was 67.

She arrived at OSU in 2003 when her husband, Edward J. Ray, was named OSU’s 14th president. A lifetime educator, Beth Ray was previously a business law professor, academic counselor and assistant dean for academic advising.

Born Aug. 18, 1946, Ray was raised in Prairieton, Ind. She received a bachelor of arts in English and philosophy from Rice University in 1968, and a law degree from Ohio State University School of Law in 1972.

The Rays, who were married for 44 years, have three children: Michael Ray, Katherine Hall and Stephanie Pritchard.

Beth Ray was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer in May 2013 and had been receiving chemotherapy treatments. In January 2014, she and her family joined the campus community in a ceremony renaming the OSU Student Success Center as the Beth Ray Center for Academic Support. The push to rename the center in her honor was largely driven by student enthusiasm.

Her commitment to OSU students was well-known. OSU graduate Bridget Burns, an American Council of Education Fellow, said she considered Beth a surrogate parent. Burns was ASOSU president when the Rays came to OSU.

"I  always looked up to her and Ed, not just for their supportive love story spanning almost a half century, but because they were totally grounded, honest and good people," she said. "My heart aches about losing her.  She was such a special person who brought clarity, light, and kindness into the world. We are all better for having known her."

A celebration of Beth Ray’s life is tentatively scheduled for June 2 on campus. The family requests no flowers but suggests those wishing to honor Beth consider a gift to the Ed and Beth Ray Choral Leadership Endowment or the Ed and Beth Ray Scholarship Endowment at the OSU Foundation, or a gift to the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation to support programs treating childhood cancer.

Media Contact: 
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Steve Clark, steve.clark@oregonstate.edu; 503-502-8217

OSU Board of Trustees to consider tuition and fees for 2014-15

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Board of Trustees will meet Thursday, March 13, on the OSU campus to approve tuition and fee levels for the 2014-15 academic year.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Willamette Room of the CH2M-Hill Alumni Center, located at 725 S.W. 26th St. in Corvallis.

The board also will review the university’s funding request to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission for the 2015-17 biennium, and receive updates on OSU’s strategic plan revision and The Campaign for OSU, which recently topped the $1 billion landmark in fund-raising.

Additional reports to the board will be made by OSU President Edward J. Ray, the chairs of the board’s Executive and Audit Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee, and the chair and executive director of the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

On Wednesday, March 12, a meeting of the board’s Finance and Administration Committee will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. in the President’s Conference Room on the sixth floor of Kerr Administration Building. The committee will discuss tuition and fee levels, and OSU’s funding request to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, and then consider a resolution forwarding those recommendations to the full board on Thursday. This meeting is also open to the public.

People who wish to attend either meeting and need special accommodations should contact Mark Huey in the board’s office at 541-737-8260 at least 72 hours in advance.

Meeting materials for these and other meetings will be posted at:

http://oregonstate.edu/leadership/trustees/meetings.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

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

OSU selects public health leader, ecologist for Distinguished Professor Awards

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The leader behind what will become Oregon’s first accredited school of public health and a terrestrial ecologist who identified a new paradigm in wildlife research have been named 2014 recipients of the Distinguished Professor Award by Oregon State University.

Marie Harvey, a professor in OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and William Ripple, a professor in the College of Forestry, will receive their awards this spring and give public lectures on campus.

The Distinguished Professor title is the highest designation Oregon State gives to its faculty.

Sabah Randhawa, OSU provost and executive vice president, said the two faculty members chosen for the honor share similar traits of innovative leadership, internationally recognized scholarship and service to the university and their respective fields.

“Marie Harvey and Bill Ripple exemplify what we hope all of our faculty will strive to become as they develop their careers,” Randhawa said. “They both have revolutionized their fields, drawing respect and admiration not only from their colleagues on campus, but from around the world.”

Harvey is widely known for her pioneering work in reproductive and sexual health, shifting the research from an exclusive focus on women to one that examines the relationship dynamics of couples as it applies to both pregnancy and disease prevention. That shift, along with Harvey’s work in diversity and equity, prompted the American Public Health Association to present her with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I am very pleased that Marie Harvey is being honored with the Distinguished Professor title,” said Tammy Bray, dean of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences. “In addition to her scholarly contributions to the field of public health, I most appreciate her leadership and partnership with me in the effort to transform our college to become the first accredited school of public health in Oregon.”

Harvey has been a faculty member at OSU since 2003 and associate dean of the college since 2011. Her title is Distinguished Professor of Public Health.

Ripple began his career studying old-growth forests and spotted owls and evolved his research to look at the impact of predators. His work led to a new field called “trophic cascades” – or how large predators exert powerful influences on ecosystem structure and function. Examples include the influence of wolves in Yellowstone Park on everything from the composition of hardwood forests to streamside erosion.

His prominence as an ecologist has led to consulting efforts with the National Academy of Sciences, The White House, President Clinton’s Forest Summit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others. Ripple will be Distinguished Professor of Ecology.

“Bill Ripple has been a fantastic teacher and researcher in the College of Forestry and well deserves being named a Distinguished Professor,” said Thomas Maness, dean of the college. “He is an internationally known leader in the ecology of top predators and his studies on the impact of gray wolves in Yellowstone, along with co-author (OSU professor emeritus) Robert Beschta, have been featured in numerous scientific journals and in popular media. They have directly impacted conservation research and policies.”

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