CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University forensics team is benefiting from a $100,000 gift donated by Milosh Popovich, an OSU alumnus and former vice president of administration, in honor of his late wife, Jeanne.

Jeanne, who died in 2008, was a standout performer in speech and debate as a student at OSU.

Popovich's donation will create an endowment to support one of OSU's oldest clubs, helping students travel to competitions and providing scholarships. Attending a forensics event inspired Popovich to support the program, he said.

"When I watched these students interact, all these old memories were brought back," he said. "I wanted to learn more about what they were doing, and where the program needed help."

A 1939 chemical engineering graduate, Popovich spent more than 30 years at OSU. After receiving his master's in mechanical engineering, he was an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, later becoming chair of the department and then the assistant dean of engineering. In the 1970s, he became the vice president of administration.

Since retiring in 1979 Popovich has given more than $1 million to OSU.

"We had taken opportunities in the past to donate to other areas of OSU," Popovich said. "This time it's providing encouragement to my wife's interests as a student."

OSU forensics director Mark Porrovecchio, an assistant professor of speech communications who is leading the club into its 118th season, said he is grateful for the donation.

"Milosh's gift was incredibly generous, extremely important, and humbling," Porrovecchio said. "He recognizes the value of forensics in the overall development of our students. His gift helps to assure the long-term financial health of the team."

OSU forensics is open to all students in good academic standing regardless of experience or academic background. For more information, contact Porrovecchio at

Popovich's gift is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university's first comprehensive fundraising initiative. Guided by OSU's strategic plan, the campaign seeks $850 million to provide opportunities for students, strengthen the Oregon economy and conduct research that changes the world. More than $668 million has been committed to date.

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Mark Porrovecchio, 541-737-8230