CORVALLIS -An Oregon State University animal sciences professor whose enthusiastic 33-year pursuit of research and teaching lead him into new scientific disciplines has announced his retirement, effective Oct. 1.
Fredrick Stormshak said that his retirement will not get in the way of the work that he loves best.
"It just means I'll be able to leave work early without feeling guilty about it," he said.
Stormshak will remain involved in several on-going research projects at OSU's Department of Animal Sciences and its Department of Biochemistry as well as hormone research at Oregon Health Sciences University.
A native of Enumclaw, Wash., Stormshak earned his doctorate in endocrinology from the University of Wisconsin in 1965. He then accepted a job with the research division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Md., outside Washington, D.C.
Stormshak said he jumped at the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest in 1968, when James Oldfield, then head of the animal sciences department at OSU, offered him a job. Oldfield, now a professor emeritus, said it was a decision that he has never regretted.
"He was one of my better hires," Oldfield said. "I knew of his professional ability, and I was impressed by his eagerness. He was dedicated to his work. He always has been."
That work has been focused primarily on the hormonal control of the reproductive process in laboratory and domestic animals, including cows and sheep. Stormshak has investigated the causes of embryo deaths, and also studied the nutritional and hormonal regulation in cows after calving.
When his research increasingly involved more biochemistry, Stormshak followed up by approaching Chris Mathews, head of OSU's biochemistry and biophysics department. He proposed a new biochemistry course in hormone action, and he offered to teach it.
"We're very grateful to Fred," Mathews said. "It was a course we needed. He's done this strictly on a volunteer basis, and it's been a success."
In addition to Stormshak's professionalism and dedication, his colleagues said they appreciate his upbeat attitude and sense of humor.
"It's been very much in evidence," Oldfield said. "I recall in a department staff meeting a few years ago, we had just heard that our budget would be cut for the second time that year. The mood in the meeting was gloomy until Stormshak piped up: 'Well, we could go out and pick up beer cans.' That lightened up everyone quite a bit."
On the serious side, Stormshak's work has resulted in his appointment as editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed "Journal of Animal Science" and a stint as president of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. He was named an OSU Distinguished Professor in 1997.
Although he plans some post-retirement travel in the United States, Stormshak said that he will return to OSU next fall to lecture. He also plans to continue his research with colleagues at OHSU who are studying possible hormonal causes of same-sex attraction in rams. The grant is funded for the next two years by the National Institutes of Health.
"I am retiring in name only," he said.
Stormshak, who lives in Corvallis with his wife, Alice, has two grown daughters and one granddaughter.
A dinner in Stormshak's honor is scheduled for Nov. 3 at the Corvallis Country Club. Those interested in attending may contact Diane Franck at 541-737-4926 or Laurel Busse at 541-737-1890, both in OSU's Department of Animal Sciences.
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Diane Franck, 541-737-4926