2016 Endowed Faculty

A special event on May 25, 2016, honored faculty appointed to endowed chairs and professorships during 2015-16. A brief video tells about their work. Click on each photo below to learn more about them and the donors who support them.

Mitzi Montoya
As Sara Hart Kimball Dean, Mitzi Montoya oversees a growing College of Business that has 3,900 students seeking business majors, 850 students with business and entrepreneurship minors, and more than 800 design students. She previously served as vice president and university dean of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University.

Dean, College of Business

Faculty website

The Sara Hart Kimball Dean's Chair in the College of Business

Sara Hart KimballIn 1988, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Kimball of Belvedere, California, made a gift to endow the Sara Hart Kimball Chair in the College of Business. Mr. Kimball, who passed away in 2005, was the owner of Kimball and Company in San Francisco, with dealings in real estate and diversified operations. Mrs. Kimball, for whom the chair is named, passed away in 1997.

Following in the footsteps of her mother, an Oregon State alumna, Sara Hart Kimball received her B.A. from OSU's School of Business and Technology in 1958. A dedicated volunteer throughout her life, she served on the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Education Fund, the OSU College of Business Council, and the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as the Board of Directors of the Marin Ballet Association, the Branson School, and the Chaplaincy at San Francisco General Hospital.

At the time she and Bill Kimball made the initial gift for the Dean's Chair, Sara said, "We feel there is no better investment in the future than education. We support education not only financially, but also as volunteers. Bill and I feel so strongly about the importance of education that we, and mainly I, want to say a huge 'thank you' to Oregon State. We hope this gift will be viewed as a leadership gift, and that many others will experience the enjoyment it gives Bill and me to be able to do this." The Kimballs have made generous gifts to support several other programs at OSU as well.

David L. Blunck
"I am using my research to improve our understanding of energy conversion devices (e.g., engines). These devices are critical to our quality of life. I love the scientific process and making new discoveries. I get paid to learn by playing with fire. I also find joy in seeing students develop. They are the greatest product of my work and OSU."

Assistant Professor, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Faculty website


The Welty Faculty Scholar

In 2011 OSU Professor Emeritus Jim Welty extended his OSU legacy by creating the endowed Welty Faculty Fellowship Fund in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (MIME).

Welty is recognized worldwide for his contributions to thermal fluids, the area of mechanical engineering concerned with heat transfer, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. He earned his bachelor's degree at OSU in 1954, spent four years working in the aircraft industry and on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, then returned to OSU where he earned his doctorate and taught for 38 years. He was head of the mechanical engineering department from 1970 to 1986 (in 2006 the department joined with industrial and mechanical engineering to form the School of MIME).

Over the course of his long and productive OSU career Welty received numerous teaching and research awards, including being named an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, its highest recognition. He served on the national ASME Board of Governors for three years.

Long-standing donors to the university, Welty and his wife Sharon Hastings-Welty, a 1975 OSU graduate in home economics, previously created the James R. Welty Professorship in Thermal-Fluid Sciences. 

Keith Leavitt
"People spend much of their adult lives at work, yet polls find that less than a third of Americans feel actively engaged while they are there. What I love about my field, organizational behavior, is that we focus on two meaningful goals at once: increasing employee performance (with benefit to the organization) and increasing human flourishing."

Associate Professor, Management

Faculty Website

Betty S. Henry Amundson Faculty Scholar in Ethics

A Portland native and former OSU student, Betty Amundson designated part of her estate to the College of Business, where it created an endowed professorship in business ethics.

As a student, Betty began her studies in business at Oregon State University before graduating from the University of Oregon. She worked as a collection specialist for local businesses and married Orin Amundson, one of the principal owners of Shaw Surgical Supplies. A longtime resident of Tigard, she left her mark on the area by proposing the name for Washington Square shopping center through a contest run by its developers. She passed away in 2014 at age 100.

The Betty S. Henry Amundson Faculty Scholar in Ethics Endowment Fund is used to recruit and retain faculty who have demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, and ethics in business. The fund enhances a focus within the College of Business on ethics and the importance of teaching students ethics as it translates to both academic and professional careers.

Meghna Babbar-Sebens
"My work concerns management of our water resources and water infrastructure. When I see my students learn new things and then spring into new directions with their research, which even I did not think of, it brings me great joy. I love to see them flourish, and I love to see them never give up when challenges appear."

Assistant Professor, Civil & Construction Engineering

Faculty website


The Eric H.I. and Janice Hoffman Faculty Scholar in Civil and Construction Engineering

Serving in management of the Portland-based construction company started by his grandfather, Eric H.I. Hoffman is continuing a family tradition. He and his wife, Janice, also want their alma mater to continue its tradition of educational excellence. In 2011 they established the Eric H.I. and Janice Hoffman Endowed Faculty Scholar Fund in Civil and Construction Engineering.

Eric Hoffman graduated from OSU in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in construction engineering management and five years later joined Hoffman Construction. The firm, started by Lee Hawley Hoffman in 1922, has become one of the largest general contractors in the Northwest. It serves a wide range of sectors, including athletic facilities, treatment plants, museums, education, hi-tech manufacturing and health care.

Eric has maintained strong connections to OSU. Since 2011 he has served on the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees. He also works with many Oregon State graduates now employed with Hoffman Construction. "I'm surrounded by the great students who have come out of there," Hoffman said.

Eric and Jan met at Oregon State where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Jan earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from OSU in 1981 and has worked in marketing and as a volunteer for many organizations.

Nick AuYeung
"I am working to create a chemical and energy economy that integrates renewables effectively. Much like what has happened with information through the internet and mobile devices, I see a future where essential chemicals such as fuels and fertilizers are produced locally using simple and sustainable processes."

Assistant Professor, Chemical, Biological and Ecological Engineering

Faculty website

The Callahan Faculty Scholar in Chemical Engineering

With an OSU degree in chemical engineering, Darry Callahan spent nearly 40 years in the energy industry, rising to the upper echelons of management. In 2011 Callahan and his wife, Betty, established the Callahan Faculty Scholar Endowment Fund in Chemical Engineering to help OSU continue to power the world.

Callahan grew up near Roseburg, Ore., and graduated from OSU with his bachelor's degree in 1964. He went to work at the oil company Chevron and became president of the chemical company in 1999. Following the company's 2001 merger with Texaco, he was executive vice president of power, chemicals and technology until he retired in 2003. Callahan was elected to the College of Engineering's Academy of Distinguished Engineers in 1999 and named to the Oregon Stater Engineering Hall of Fame in 2009.

Callahan has served as an OSU volunteer for many years, including service as chair of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees, OSU Environmental Engineering Advisory board, and the Executive Commercialization Advisory Council, part of OSU's Research Office; he also has served on the College of Engineering Advisory Board. Bay Area residents, the Callahans have long supported OSU with generous gifts to the College of Engineering and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnology Institute as well as the athletic department.

Erdem Coleri
"The major focus of our research is to learn how to construct roadway infrastructure that is more cost effective, socially beneficial, and does less damage to the environment. By using more sustainable pavement materials, we could save billions of dollars annually. Reducing fuel consumption by constructing smoother and durable pavements will help in the fight against global warming."

Assistant Professor, Civil & Construction Engineering

Faculty website


The John and Jean Loosley Faculty Fellowship

John and Jean Harris Loosley's succesa was built from the ground up, literally. After Jean graduated from Oregon State in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and John completed his civil engineering degree in 1949, John worked for the cities of Astoria and Roseburg before being hired by Roseburg Paving Company in 1955. Ten years later the Loosleys purchased the company; John served as CEO and Jean also played a key role, overseeing its financial matters. They expanded into the ready-mix concrete and sand and gravel businesses, increasing their staff from 20 employees to 200 by the time they sold the businesses in 2000.

The Loosleys are active in the Roseburg community, serving on numerous local boards and with Redeemers Church. They have two children, both of whom are Oregon State graduates. A former member of the National Asphalt Paving Association board, John was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2006.

In addition to other generous gifts to the College of Engineering and the College of Business, the couple established the John and Jean Loosley Faculty Fellowship Fund in 2009 for up-and-coming faculty in the School of Civil and Construction Engineering.

Jason Weiss
"We are facing a crisis in how our infrastructure is aging. Many people are surprised to learn that concrete bridges, roads, curbs, runways, and ports can be damaged by temperature, moisture, and deicing salts. Our lab is trying to better understand what influences this damage. OSU is really a great place to be as we work in this new direction."

Civil & Construction Engineering School Head, Professor

Faculty website


Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in Engineering

Funded with a multimillion dollar endowment, the Edwards Chair is a lasting tribute to OSU alumni Miles Lowell Edwards '24 and Margaret Watt Edwards '27. Although endowed chairs are traditionally tied to a single discipline, this chair breaks this mold by encouraging the holder to be involved in teaching and research that crosses traditional boundaries—much like Miles Lowell Edwards did throughout his prolific career.

Although Miles graduated in electrical engineering, his work demanded interdisciplinary expertise. In 1950, he invented the world's first artificial heart valve by collaborating with renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Albert Starr. The Starr-Edwards valve is still in wide use today. Miles also developed the world's first hydraulic tree debarker for the logging industry, a fuel booster pump widely used in domestic and military aircraft, and held 50+ patents. He remains one of the most accomplished alumni in the university's history. 

James Sweeney
"At OSU my proudest moment so far has been our successful funding from the National Science Foundation to pursue an ambitious five-year project in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering – a project aimed at better facilitating students’ understanding of the practice of a working engineer, in a learning environment that is more equitable and inclusive."

Chemical, Biological & Environmental Engineering School Head

Faculty website


James and Shirley Kuse Chair in Chemical Engineering

Shirley and James KuseJames Kuse, former chairman of the board and co-founder of Georgia Gulf Corporation, was a 1955 graduate of OSU's College of Engineering. In 1997 he and his wife Shirley, a graduate of Lewis and Clark College and the University of Oregon's nursing program, established the James and Shirley Kuse Chair in Chemical Engineering to promote an integration of classroom instruction with direct, practical exposure to industry.

The Kuses have long been generous supporters of OSU. In addition to funding the endowed chair, they made significant contributions to the expansion of the Valley Library on behalf of their son Michael, a 1988 graduate of the OSU College of Business. They have also made important gifts to the OSU Alumni Association and the Burgess Fund for Engineering. The couple's other affiliations include Lewis and Clark College, the National Petroleum Refiners Association, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, and the American Chemical Society. James Kuse passed away in 2001.

The Kuse Chair provides the stability needed to keep the Department of Chemical Engineering focused on a well-balanced, hands-on, undergraduate program, while pursuing research and innovation in emerging areas of chemical engineering. Holders of the chair identify industry issues, design curriculum, and maintain a first-rate, innovative undergraduate program. The endowment supports a research and teaching program in an area of chemical engineering that is of critical importance to the profession and to Oregon. 

Susanne Stieger-Vanegas
"I have always been deeply fascinated by the ability to look into the body without having to open it up. I love diagnostic imaging because I’m working with cutting edge technologies and daily learning new things. I get totally energized when I can figure out a new technique and can apply it on clinical cases."

Professor in Radiology 

Faculty website


Camden Professor in Radiology

Rebecca CamdenIn 2010 Rebecca and Steve Camden of Bellevue, Washington, made a gift of property to establish the Camden Endowed Professorship, expanding research, education, and clinical care in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The gift honors the family dachshunds: Millie, Sophie, Cindy, Winky, Ziggy, Ellie, Maude, Prudy, and Pretzel.

Camden is a retired finance executive with 35+ years of experience in high-growth, global, publicly held companies. In her last role, she served as Chief Accounting Officer of CHC Group, Ltd., an operator of medium and heavy helicopters serving the oil and gas industry. She held senior finance positions in telecommunications, e-commerce, travel and transportation industries with responsibility for accounting, implementation of business decision systems, acquisitions, budgeting and financial planning, business and financial analysis, control implementation, and process improvement. In addition to serving on the board of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, Camden is an OSU Foundation Trustee and has served on the College of Veterinary Medicine Dean’s Advisory Council since 2009. She earned her B.A. in economics and anthropology from Stanford University in 1979.

Maureen Hosty
"Many consumers lack the financial literacy necessary to make important financial decisions in their own best interests. I would love to see our 4-H Financial Wellness program reach youth and families in every county – helping them make good decisions, prepare and pay for education after high school, and even learn how to start and run a business."

4-H Wildlife Stewards Project Director

Faculty website 


Leonard and Brenda Aplet Financial Literacy Professor

Leonard and Brenda ApletLeonard and Brenda ApletLeonard '76 and Brenda Aplet of Scappoose, Oregon, have been engaged with 4-H for many years, including leadership at both the local and statewide level; Leonard is currently president of the Oregon 4-H Foundation board. The couple has led efforts to develop a personal finance curriculum for 4-H, and in 2005 they established an endowed scholarship to help Columbia County 4-H members who have an interest in finance and business attend OSU. In 2013 the Aplets decided to extend their 4-H legacy by creating an endowed professorship and programmatic fund that will advance financial literacy education throughout the state.

"Brenda and I are thrilled to be able to help promote financial literacy and feel the Oregon 4-H program is uniquely positioned to lead that effort," Leonard said. "With the strong backing of Oregon State University, the Oregon 4-H program has been a national leader in promoting innovative programs for young people. We are excited to see the financial literacy program unfold and hope that our gift is only the beginning." 

Kendra Sharp
"I love applying engineering problem-solving skills to real-life problems that are made more complex by their social and cultural context, such as how to improve access to energy in Northern Pakistan. I have been incredibly energized working with a true global community of educators and innovators – people who value both social justice and diverse perspectives."

Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty website 


Richard and Gretchen Evans Professor in Humanitarian Engineering

Richard and Gretchen EvansIn 2015 Richard and Gretchen Evans made a $1.5 million gift to the Oregon State University College of Engineering, creating one of the nation’s only endowed professorships in humanitarian engineering.

Richard Evans graduated from Oregon State University in 1969 with a degree in industrial engineering and later became president and CEO of Alcan, a Fortune-100 mining company and aluminum manufacturer based in Montreal. He 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.

Gretchen Evans is an artist and interior designer who graduated from OSU’s College of Education in 1969 and subsequently completed master’s courses at Legon University in Ghana, West Africa. In addition to her art, primarily in acrylics and mixed media, she volunteers as an art teacher in a low-income Oakland, California, school.

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,” Richard Evans said. “The humanitarian engineering curriculum is a structured way for engineers to practice those human skills in challenging real world settings.” 

Jerri Bartholomew
"What I love about my field is that it gives me the opportunity to see beautiful, wild places and to understand at least some of the complexity of these ecosystems. I love seeing pieces of research fit together to create a bigger picture."

Department of Microbiology Professor, Department Head 

Faculty website


Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professor in Microbiology

Emile PernotThe Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology was established with a gift from the estate of Mabel Pernot, who died in 1991. Mabel was the daughter of Emile Pernot, who helped establish OSU's microbiology department a century before.

Mabel Pernot was born in 1900 and, except for a brief period, lived her entire life in Corvallis.

When her father was hired by Oregon State in 1890, he was the university's first bacteriologist and photographer. His studies ranged from plant diseases to dentistry and medicine to the effect of microorganisms on food preservation. His work in poultry diseases led him to be known as the "father of avian tuberculosis."

Mabel Pernot's grandfather, George Coote, also played an important role in OSU's history: he was the university's first professor of horticulture and was responsible for many of the plantings that grace the older part of the campus today.

The Emile F. Pernot Distinguished Professorship in Microbiology is awarded to an OSU professor who is recognized as a distinguished contributor to the microbiological science, has a documented record of contributions, and will continue to make contributions to the education and research missions of the university. The award includes funds to be used by the recipient's research program and in support of the Department of Microbiology.

Paul Ha-Yeon Cheong
"The Christensen Professorship will enable me to create opportunities for my students with the research laboratories that I collaborate with around the world. Opportunities like that made a profound difference to me as an undergraduate. I want to 'pay it forward' and give future generations of scientists those type of life-changing experiences."

Associate professor of Chemistry

Faculty website


Bert and Emelyn Christensen Professor

Bert ChristensenIn 2006 the sons of Bert and Emelyn Christensen – OSU alumni Gerald '57 and Robert '61, with their spouses, Mary Haven and Michelle Christensen – established an endowed chemistry professorship in their parents' honor. The fund grew with support from their sister, Joyce Harris, and her husband James, plus gifts from Pat and Keith McKennon '55 and other family members and friends of the chemistry department. During their lives Bert and Emelyn Christensen generously supported the department, making gifts to help students with scientific presentations travel to meetings of the American Chemical Society.

Bert Christensen joined the Oregon State faculty in 1931, when the chemistry department was housed in Education Hall and had 10 graduate students. He served as department head from 1956 to 1970. Born in Cloquet, Minnesota, he grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Washington State University. He was a research chemist in Syracuse, New York, for a year before going to the University of Washington for his doctorate. While at OSU, Professor Christensen focused on the building blocks of nucleic acids and did early work on anti-malarial drugs and radioactive isotopes. He received the Service to Science Award of the Oregon Academy of Science in 1970. After his retirement he was an active volunteer, especially in support of senior citizens; as a result of his efforts on behalf of retired Oregon State employees, the Oregon Legislature named a bill in his honor.

Emelyn ChristensenEmelyn Burke Christensen was also born in Minnesota and raised in the Pacific Northwest. After high school, she worked as a legal secretary in Seattle. In 1932, she moved to Corvallis to join her husband, Bert. There she found an ideal place to use her considerable talents and energy. In addition to raising three children and working part-time, she was active in many civic endeavors. Among other involvements she was the OSU Folk Club president; PEO president of the BP chapter; a founding member of what became the Corvallis-OSU Civic Music Association; president of the Benton County Mental Health Society; and director to the Oregon Association for Chapters. She was the second woman to be elected to the Corvallis School Board, serving between 1955-1960. In 1963 she received the Matrix Table Community Woman of Achievement Award. A gifted writer and photographer, she wrote and published two books.

The Christensens were married 59 years before Emelyn passed away in 1991, followed by Bert in 1993. 

Jonathan Hurst
"Our bipedal robot ATRIAS was the first machine to reproduce human-like walking dynamics. This is the proudest moment of my work so far. Robotics is the core of a new industrial revolution right now, which will reshape economies, improve quality of life for everyone, enable space exploration, and so much more."

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Faculty website

College of Engineering Dean's Professor

In 2016 the OSU Foundation received a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor to be used for professorships in the College of Engineering. The only stipulation with this remarkable gift was that it support male and female faculty equally.