CORVALLIS, ORE.--Jim Youde and Judith Atwood Youde, founders of Northwest Economic Associates, Inc., a natural resource and economic consulting firm based in Vancouver, Wash., have committed $1.4 million to support Oregon State University's first capital campaign.

The couple, both of whom are OSU graduates, have designated the majority of the funds for scholarships.

"We owe a huge debt to OSU, and we are fortunate enough to be in a position to give back," said Judith Atwood Youde. "We both had scholarships when we went to college, and we really wanted to support students. It's one of the most important things to us."

The Youdes have deep ties to Oregon State where they met and married shortly after their graduation in 1962. Judith earned her business degree at OSU and taught high school business classes for several years. Jim Youde earned his bachelor's in agricultural economics before going on to master's and doctorate degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He returned to OSU as a member of agricultural economics faculty from 1966-73. A leading expert on agriculture marketing and policy, he also taught at University of California, Davis, worked as director of California's agriculture department and as the executive director of the Western U.S. Agriculture Trade Association.

The Youdes founded Northwest Economic Associates, Inc., in 1977. Jim served as company president for 20 years and Judith managed the company's finances for 18 years, as secretary/treasurer and as CFO. Now retired, the Youdes continue their involvement in community volunteer work.

The Youdes have remained active with their alma mater, serving on the OSU Alumni Association Board, and both are members of OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

Their $1.4 million pledge will support multiple areas at OSU. The majority will fund scholarships for students in business and agriculture sciences. Other portions of their gift will support the OSU Alumni Association, faculty in applied economics, healthy aging research, the Linus Pauling Institute and the library.

"Jim and Judith are tremendous examples of successful alumni who have a deep commitment to helping the next generation of OSU students," said President Ed Ray. "We are so grateful for their support and their leadership."

The Youdes' pledge is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university's first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Guided by OSU's strategic plan, the campaign seeks $625 million to provide opportunities for students, strengthen the Oregon economy, and conduct research that changes the world. More than $439 million has been committed to date, including more than $69 million toward a $100 million goal for scholarships and fellowships.

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