people programs and events

OSU’s Tracy Daugherty explores life, work of writer Joan Didion in new bestseller

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author and Oregon State University professor emeritus Tracy Daugherty attributes his latest literary success to the “power of Joan.” Daugherty’s new book, a biography of American author and journalist Joan Didion, debuted at No. 11 on this week’s New York Times best-seller list for hardcover nonfiction.

“Didion was a well-known public figure when I began to write about her, but she hadn’t yet achieved the almost stratospheric celebrity she has attained since I began this project,” said Daugherty, distinguished professor emeritus of English and creative writing at OSU. “I was a bit stunned at the force of the whirlwind around her.” 

“The Last Love Song,” (St. Martin’s Press) is the first printed biography about the reclusive Didion’s life and career, a narrative that traces her life from her youth in Sacramento to her marriage and partnership with her late husband, writer John Gregory Dunne, and beyond.

“Daugherty's biography is one of this year’s most important American books,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. “His enormous accomplishment has been to write a brilliant bestseller about a writer intent on avoiding being written about."

Daugherty is the author of four novels, five short story collections, a book of personal essays and three literary biographies. “Hiding Man,” his biography of Donald Barthelme, was a New York Times and New Yorker notable Book of the Year. 

His first collection of literary essays, “Let Us Build Us a City,” will be published by the University of Georgia Press in 2016. He recently completed several new short stories and novellas and has begun research on a new biography.

Daugherty will give a talk on the book at 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at the OSU Center for the Humanities, Autzen House, 811 W. Jefferson Ave. He is also scheduled to read at the annual Magic Barrel: A Reading to Fight Hunger at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Whiteside Theater in Corvallis, 361 S.W. Madison Ave. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Linn-Benton Food Share.

Media Contact: 

Tracy Daugherty, tdaugherty@oregonstate.edu

“Diet and Optimum Health” conference includes public session on prescription for health

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Linus Pauling Institute will present its eighth biennial conference on “Diet and Optimum Health” on Sept. 9-12 at Oregon State University, attracting an international audience of experts in fields such as nutrition, preventive medicine, oncology, gerontology and public health.

In addition to the professional conference, a free public session will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 9-11 a.m., at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the OSU campus. It will feature Balz Frei, professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute, and Tory Hagen, the Helen P. Rumbel Professor for Healthy Aging Research at OSU. They will explore diet, micronutrient needs, health and longevity.

“In our public session, we’ll outline what we call the LPI prescription for health, which covers micronutrient issues but also broader aspects of healthy living, such as exercise, lifestyle, and environmental health,” Frei said.

“We’re increasingly working not just toward a longer lifespan, but what we call ‘healthspan’ – the opportunity to have generally good health, cognition and activity levels for almost the totality of your life,” Frei said. “This is where we explore issues such as the differences between nutrient deficiency and adequacy for optimal health, the importance of weight management and physical exercise, and other topics.”

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control now estimate that health is primarily determined by factors that are related to, and often can be influenced by individuals, Frei said, including diet; healthy lifestyles such as weight control, exercise and avoidance of smoking; and social and environmental quality.

Inadequate attention to these issues has been a primary cause of many of the chronic diseases that kill millions, researchers say, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disease.

During the three-day professional conference, experts from around the world will discuss some of their latest findings on such topics as vitamin E roles in development and health; extending healthspan; the effects of inflammation; maintaining cognitive function; and the impact of the Western diet on gut health.

A special session will celebrate the life and work of George Bailey, an OSU biochemist who did pioneering work in cancer chemoprevention.

More information on the conference, agenda, speakers and registration can be obtained online at http://bit.ly/1NdsBfz 

Media Contact: 

Balz Frei, 541-737-5078

Poet Rita Dove named OSU’s 2016 Stone Award winner

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Rita Dove has been selected as the 2016 recipient of Oregon State University’s Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement.

The biennial award is presented to a major American author who has created a body of critically acclaimed work and who has mentored young writers. 

Dove served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1993-95 and has received numerous awards for her work, including the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is the only poet to receive both the National Humanities Medal (1996) and the National Medal of Arts (2011). She holds the Commonwealth Professor of English chair at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

“It's hard to imagine a poet more essential to our literary culture than Rita Dove,” said Karen Holmberg, an associate professor of English and creative writing at OSU. “Each of her books has enlarged the imaginative reach of American poetry by infusing it with personal and broader history, and by meditating on issues of race and identity as well as the interrelationships between poetry and music, dance, and drama.” 

Dove will visit Oregon in April 2016 to accept the award and read from her work. She will speak at 7:30 p.m. on April 14 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center in Corvallis and at 7:30 p.m. on April 15 at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Portland. Additional details, including ticket information for the events, will be released early next year.

The $20,000 Stone Award is one of the largest prizes of its kind given by an American university. It was established in 2011 by Patrick and Vicki Stone to spotlight OSU’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in the School of Writing, Literature and Film. 

An advisory board of three active, nationally visible writers recommends five nominees who meet Stone Award criteria. From those nominees, the creative writing faculty at Oregon State University make the final selection. Joyce Carol Oates was the first honoree, in 2012; the second winner was Tobias Wolff, in 2014.

Media Contact: 

Sue Rodgers, 541-737-1658, susan.rodgers@oregonstate.edu 

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Rita Dove (Photo by Fred Viebahn) Rita Dove

School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science names new head

CORVALLIS, Ore. – V. John Mathews, an expert in biomedical signal and information processing with a track record for growing research funding and student enrollment, has been selected as the new head of the Oregon State University School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).

Mathews comes to Oregon State after 30 years with the University of Utah, where he has been a professor since 1995 and served as chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for four years. Under his leadership, the department's research funding tripled, the state-funded departmental budget grew more than 40 percent, three advanced teaching laboratories were created with industry funding, the number of graduate students nearly doubled and the undergraduate student enrollment increased by 50 percent.

"We're excited to have Professor Mathews join Oregon State’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science,” said Scott Ashford, dean of OSU’s College of Engineering. “His leadership will build on the school's national reputation as a center of teaching and research excellence and innovation.

“We also will grow the school’s unique approach to collaboration with industry and our college's growing emphasis on precision health and bioengineering,"

Mathews said he is committed to help create a strategic vision and sustain an environment within the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science that attracts and retains the highest-quality faculty, students and staff.

"Great faculty members bring about great teaching, research and relationships with industry – all of which raises a school's reputation, draws top students and produces successful graduates, who not only contribute to industry and society, but who also ultimately give back to the school in powerful and positive ways,” Mathews said.

Mathews' research is in nonlinear and adaptive signal processing and the application of signal processing techniques in audio and communication systems, biomedical engineering and structural health management.

His research has led to development of tools for understanding the evolution of the placental circulation system and relationships between maternal and fetal circulation systems. These tools include a system for early detection of preeclampsia, a disease that affects between six and eight percent of all pregnant women and is one of the major causes of maternal and fetal death.

Research by Mathews' group at the University of Utah is also focused on the functional electrical stimulation of nerve fibers to evoke motor activity in patients with diseases of the central nervous system and neural prosthetic controllers for patients with limb loss.

Mathews has published more than 150 technical papers and is the inventor on seven patents.

He was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2002 for contributions to the theory and application of nonlinear and adaptive filtering, and has held numerous leadership positions with the IEEE Signal Processing Society, including vice president of finance and vice president of conferences, dating back to 2003.

Mathews holds master's and doctoral degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa, and a bachelor's of engineering in electronics and communication engineering from the University of Madras, India.


Steve Clark, 541-737-4875 or steve.clark@oregonstate.edu

OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center to turn 50 years of age

NEWPORT, Ore. – Fifty years ago this summer, Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center opened its doors as a fledgling research and education facility envisioned to help the depressed central Oregon coast economy revive.

Today it stands as one of the most important and unique marine science facilities in the country, bringing together a plethora of scientists from different agencies to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the world’s oceans, educating a new generation of students about these issues, and reaching out to inform the public about their impacts.

This month, OSU and the Hatfield Marine Science Center will commemorate their half century of success with a celebration and reception on Friday, Aug. 7, at the center. The public is invited.

“This is an opportunity to look at the past and honor the people and events that have made the Hatfield Marine Science Center such a special place,” said Bob Cowen, director of the center. “It’s also a time to celebrate the future, as OSU is launching its Marine Studies Initiative and working on plans to expand the center and its capacity.”

The 50th anniversary celebration will begin at 4:30 p.m. just outside the Hatfield Marine Science Center, located south of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport. The celebration will feature speakers, displays, a historical slide show, and a video featuring faculty, student and community perspectives on the center’s future plans. A reception will follow from 5:30 to 7 p.m.; the events are free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, a special presentation by Rick Spinrad, chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will be held in the Visitor Center Auditorium. His talk, “How Oceanography Saved the World,” beginning at 3 p.m., is part of the 50th Anniversary Alumni Speaker Series. He is former vice president for research at OSU – and a former graduate student at the center.

Other speakers include former Oregon State President John Byrne, a former NOAA administrator.

Event information and links to HMSC archives, historic photos, video and a timeline of landmarks for the Hatfield Marine Science Center can be found at: http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/50th.

Media Contact: 

Maryann Bozza, 541-867-0234, maryann.bozza@oregonstate.edu;

Bob Cowen, 541-867-0211, robert.cowen@oregonstate.edu

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Link to archival photo: https://flic.kr/p/wh6uPg













Natural Resources Leadership Academy 2012




Bard in the Quad at OSU celebrates 10th season with ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular Bard in the Quad program with a production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in August.

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. each night from Aug. 6-9 and Aug. 13-16 in the Memorial Union Quad, 2501 S.W. Jefferson Way, Corvallis.

Bard in the Quad brings innovative Shakespeare productions to Corvallis in a casual, fun summer atmosphere. Performances are held outdoors and no seating is provided. Attendees are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets, warm clothing and even a picnic dinner if desired. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. and no one will be seated prior to that time.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a comedy about confusion and love. Four days before their wedding, Duke Theseus and the Amazonian Queen Hippolyta are drawn into the romantic entanglements of four young lovers, a mysterious conflict between the King and Queen of the Fairy World, and the desperate attempts of an eager amateur acting troupe to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Meanwhile, a maverick sprite on the loose causes chaos throughout Athens and the surrounding woods.

The production will feature dance and a live performance by OSU Chamber Winds, which will present Felix Mendelssohn’s classic score.

The cast features Oregon State University students Elise Barberis  as Quince; Kolby Bathke as Flute; Diana Jepsen as Hippolyta/Titania; Jackson Lango as Snug; Claire McMorris as Mote; Bria Love Robertson as Helena; Mike Stephens as Snout; Kyle Stockdall as Lysander; Kelsea Vierra as Peaseblossom; Cory Warren as Egeus; and Joseph Workman as Theseus/Oberon.

The cast also features Corvallis community members Mason Atkin as Puck; Lucia Lind as Cobweb; Ariel Ginsburg as Starvling; Matthew Holland as Bottom; Anna Mahaffey as Fairy; Alycia Olivar as Hermia; Teri Straley as Mustardseed; and Brad Stone as Demetrius.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Purchase tickets at bardinthequad.org or call the OSU Theatre box office, 541-737-2784. A 20 percent discount will be offered on tickets purchased online before July 31.

Contact box office manager Arin Dooley at 541-737-2784 for questions regarding tickets, seating, group ticket discounts and other accommodations.

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OSU named Best Buy School by Fiske Guide

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is among 44 "Best Buy Schools" named in the 2016 edition of "The Fiske Guide to Colleges.”

Schools included on the list are ranked as inexpensive or moderately priced, and have four- or five-star academic ratings. They include public and private schools from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Estimated tuition and fees for the 2015-16 school year for resident undergraduates at OSU is $10,008.

The Fiske Guide named 20 public and 24 private schools as "Best Buys.”

“We are very pleased to again be ranked as one of Fiske Guide’s ‘best buy’ universities,” said Steve Clark, OSU vice president for University Relations and Marketing. “This ranking helps inform current and prospective students and the general public that Oregon State University provides a high-quality education at a reasonable price.”

Former New York Times education editor Edward Fiske launched the guide in 1980 as a way to aid college-bound students and their families in selecting a university. The guide ranks universities by price, but also indicates which schools offer the best academics at a relatively moderate cost.

Only two other Pacific Northwest schools made the list – University of Oregon and The Evergreen State College in Washington.

Media Contact: 

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

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Weatherford Hall

OSU to celebrate iconic stick sculpture slated for removal this summer

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The large willow stick sculpture, “Pomp and Circumstance,” created by artist Patrick Dougherty in 2011 on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, will be removed this summer.

The College of Liberal Arts, which commissioned the temporary sculpture, will host a send-off party for the piece as part of graduation festivities. The celebration will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. June 12 in People’s Park on the west side of Gilkey Hall, 122 S.W. Waldo Place.

Students, staff, faculty and members of the public are invited to attend the event. Cuttings from the sculpture will be available to take home to plant and tags will be available to write send-off messages that will be attached to the sculpture.

“The piece’s ongoing popularity surprised everyone,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It has become a well-loved part of OSU’s identity, even though it was always meant to be ephemeral.”

Dozens of students and community volunteers helped Dougherty build the sculpture using willow sourced from local weavers in 2011. Expected to decay over time, the sculpture held up much longer than expected, but parts of it are beginning to sag, and it has become a potential hazard.

College of Liberal Arts officials plan to replace the sculpture with a “similarly exciting new installation that will continue to draw people to interact with our natural art,” Rodgers said.

“We recognize that Dougherty’s sculpture is a fixture on campus, and though we’re sad it has to go, we’re dedicated to keeping People’s Park a destination where students, community members and families can congregate, relax and explore,” he said.

Media Contact: 

Celene Carillo, 541-737-2137, Celene.carillo@oregonstate.edu

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Patrick Dougherty's "Pomp and Circumstance"


Student-directed one-act play festival runs June 3-7 at Oregon State University

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University Theatre’s annual Spring One-Act Festival, featuring four original one-act plays written and directed by OSU students, will run June 3-7 in the Lab Theatre.

The plays, which feature a large cast of OSU students, are:

  • “The Mark,” written by Elise Barberis and directed by Anna Mahaffey, tells the story of Steve, a reluctant cult leader brought into power by a group of well-meaning followers on the morning of Doomsday.
  • “Caffeinated Crisis,” written by Bryanna Rainwater and directed by Teri Straley, follows the adventures of a plucky news reporter who uncovers an absurd conspiracy brought on by the Northwest’s major coffee chains.
  • “Answer Me,” written by Amanda Kelner and directed by Sam Zinsli, features Tegan, who finds herself working for Madam Matilda, an eccentric psychic who actually has the ability to tell the future.
  • “Cheep! Cheep!,” written by Joseph Workman and directed by Alex Reis, is a comic exploration of Maxwell, a stick-in-the-mud employee at a chicken-themed amusement park filled with perky oddballs.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. June 3-6 and 2 p.m. June 7. The Lab Theatre is located in Withycombe Hall, 2901 S.W. Campus Way, Corvallis.

Tickets are $8 for general admission, $6 for seniors, $5 for youths and students, and $4 for OSU students. For information or to purchase tickets, contact the OSU Theatre Box Office at 541-737-2784 or visit the website at http://bit.ly/1jdKUgy.

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Author Claire Vaye Watkins to read at Oregon State May 22

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Author Claire Vaye Watkins will read at Oregon State University on Friday, May 22, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library rotunda (201 S.W. Waldo Place, Corvallis).

The event is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the reading.

Watkins is a 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and an assistant professor at Bucknell University. She also is the co-director of the Mojave School, a free creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.

Watkins’ stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, New Stories from the Southwest 2013, the New York Times and elsewhere. In 2012, she was selected as one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.”

Her collection of short stories, “Battleborn,” won numerous awards, including the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Rumpus called Watkins, “Exceptional… A writer of great precision and greater restraint, [she] is a natural storyteller whose material enriches that gift rather than engulfing it… One doesn’t have to be from the Battleborn state to recognize and appreciate literature that resonates like this.”

This event is part of the 2014-15 Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the MFA Program in Creative Writing in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film.

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