CORVALLIS, Ore. - Marvin R. Pyles, a professor of forest engineering recognized for his teaching and work in curriculum development, has been appointed the first holder of the Gene D. Knudson Chair in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University.

This endowed chair was created in 2007 by a $1.5 million gift from the estate of Gene D. Knudson, a highly respected leader in Oregon's forest products industry and a 1939 OSU honors graduate in technical forestry. Knudson became the president and chief executive officer of Willamette Industries, served on the Oregon State Board of Forestry, and on the board of directors for the Western Forestry Center, now the World Forestry Center.

The Knudson Chair recognizes outstanding teaching, advising, and mentoring of undergraduate students, and visible leadership of undergraduate education. In the College of Forestry, Pyles has improved program effectiveness over two decades, resulting in accreditation for the undergraduate forest engineering program by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. The program is also accredited by the Society of American Foresters - a dual accreditation that's a unique accomplishment among the nation's undergraduate forest engineering programs.

"Honoring Marv Pyles with this distinction shows how much we value faculty who devote high attention to the success of our students," Dean Hal Salwasser said.

Pyles has served as co-chair of the curriculum council of the OSU Faculty Senate, and coordinated the writing and grading of the professional practice examination in forest engineering for the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying. He also received the first College of Forestry Dean's Award for teaching and advising in 1999, an Erskine Fellowship at the University of Canterbury in 2004, and the Dennis Marker teacher of the year award from the OSU Construction Engineering Management students.

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Steve Tesch, 541-737-4952