CORVALLIS - One of the founders of the modern biotechnology industry, a leading researcher on fetal alcohol syndrome, and two pioneers in integrated sustainable agriculture will return to Oregon State University on Friday, Oct. 22, to be honored as 2004 Alumni Fellows.

A reception, then awards ceremony honoring the fellows will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center on campus. Part of the university's Homecoming celebration, the event is hosted by the OSU Alumni Association.

The Alumni Fellows Program annually brings back to campus distinguished OSU alumni, who often meet with students, faculty and staff to discuss their careers, according to Jeffrey Todd, executive director of the OSU Alumni Association.

"The program is growing in scope and prestige each year," said Todd. "It gives the OSU community a chance to reconnect with some of its most notable alumni who are doing some amazing things in a breadth of fields."

This year's Alumni Fellows are Bill and Karla Chambers, founders of Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc.; Ann Streissguth, director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit at the University of Washington School of Medicine; and Barry Willis, retired director of research for Agilent and before that, Hewlett Packard's Analytical Medical Lab.

Stahlbush Island Farms, Inc., run by the Chambers, is a farm and food processing company that has grown into a large family-owned agricultural business that markets products in 42 states and 15 other countries. It has been certified as a sustainable farm, and has won awards for the highest wheat yield in the nation and for sustainable agricultural practices.

Bill Chambers, president of Stahlbush, graduated from OSU in 1981 with a bachelor's degree from the College of Agricultural Sciences, and again in 1984 with a master's. Karla Chambers, vice-president and co-owner of Stahlbush, also graduated in 1981 and earned a master's in interdisciplinary studies in 1982.

Ann (Roth) Streissguth graduated from OSU in 1954 with a degree in home economics and went on to become a pioneering psychological researcher of fetal alcohol syndrome. In 1973, she was a member of the team of doctors that first identified the harmful effects of alcohol use during pregnancy. The following year, she became the principal investigator of a longitudinal study on alcohol use and pregnancy that continues today. She organized the first international conference of fetal alcohol syndrome in 1980.

Streissguth will present a free public lecture discussing her research on Friday, Oct. 22, beginning at 9 a.m. in OSU's Agricultural and Life Sciences Building Room 4001.

Willis is considered one of the founders of modern biotechnology and is credited with helping bridge the gap between traditional medical research and biochemistry. He organized the Hewlett Packard team known as "the DNA project", which helped create many of the tools and processes used to map the human genome. He also helped design a machine called the diode-array spectrophotometer, which allows scientists to measure the entire spectrum of a chemical's optical properties.

He graduated from Oregon State in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry.

More information about OSU's Homecoming can be found at:

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Scott Elmshaeuser, 541-737-8883