CORVALLIS - It's been 71 years since Norman W. Pettijohn left high school and struck out on his own. But the Vernonia High School graduate hasn't forgotten the value of an education.

Thanks to Pettijohn, an Oregon State University alumnus and registered civil engineer, three OSU students will each receive $1,500 scholarships for the 1998-99 academic year.

Pettijohn established the Norman W. Pettijohn Scholarship for OSU students who graduate from Vernonia High School.

This year's recipients, all 1995 Vernonia graduates, are: Keith Chang, an OSU senior in business administration and computer science; Leslie Weller, a senior in animal sciences; and Tracy Eckertson, a senior in liberal studies.

Following graduation from Vernonia in 1927, Pettijohn entered the U.S. Navy as a civilian engineer during World War II. He started Pettijohn Engineering and Construction Co. in Portland in 1946. He sold the firm in 1983 and established the scholarship.

He says that even after seven decades he has a warm spot in his heart for Vernonia High School, and though complex mathematics were a breeze, high school English stumped Pettijohn.

"They finally just passed me through English just to get me out," Pettijohn said.

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Donna Vuchinich, 541-737-4218