CORVALLIS, Ore. - A $5 million commitment from the head of Roseburg Forest Products and his wife has created an endowment for the College of Forestry dean's position at Oregon State University.
Named in honor of the donors, the Cheryl Ramberg and Allyn C. Ford Deanship of Forestry will be held by Hal Salwasser.
"For more than a century, the College of Forestry has been at the forefront of OSU's efforts to produce research and graduates that enhance the state of Oregon," said OSU President Ed Ray. "Today it is considered among the best forestry programs in the world, and it is a critical part of the university's focus on sustainable earth ecosystems and economic growth.
"This visionary gift from Allyn and Cheryl Ford illustrates that in tough economic times smart people redouble efforts to preserve the path to excellence," Ray said. "Their investment assures that the college will have outstanding leadership for the next century and beyond."
A member of the college's board of visitors, Allyn Ford became president and CEO of Roseburg Forest Products in 1997. The company was founded by his father, Ken Ford, in 1936 and is now one of the largest family-held wood products corporations in the United States, and among the nation's largest timberland owners.
"At Roseburg Forest Products we have seen very clearly how important the College of Forestry is for the future of our industry," Ford said. "Faculty research and innovation help us stay competitive in the global marketplace. It's also essential that the college continue to provide the industry with graduates who understand these complex systems. We need leaders who can offer sustainable solutions that support the future health of our state and our world."
A native of southern Oregon and secretary for the Ramberg Glass Company board in Roseburg, Cheryl Ramberg-Ford is a University of Oregon Foundation trustee and former president of the UO Alumni Association. She serves on the boards of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Wildlife Safari and is a member of the Tree of Hope Committee for Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, Ore. Allyn Ford serves on the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, is a director of the Doernbecher Hospital Foundation and the World Forestry Center, and chairs the board of Umpqua Bank.
"This is a family that is profoundly committed to the state of Oregon and to higher education," said Mike Goodwin, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation. "We are deeply grateful for the Fords' support as OSU advances to the next level as a major international research university."
The Ford family has a long history with Oregon State University.
Allyn's sister, Carmen Ford Phillips, is an OSU alumna who has been actively engaged with her alma mater for many years. A gift from Allyn's and Carmen's late mother made possible the construction of the Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families - named in her honor - which celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 8. Allyn and Cheryl Ford are both highly involved with the Ford Family Foundation, which helps to fund OSU programs and outreach in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. At any one time the foundation also provides scholarship support for more than 500 students in Oregon post-secondary schools.
"The Ford family and Roseburg Forest Products are deeply rooted in rural Oregon and they have had a tremendous impact on rural communities," said OSU Provost and Executive Vice President Sabah Randhawa. "This deanship gift extends that legacy in a powerful way. Supporting College of Forestry leadership is a long-term investment not only in sustainable forests but in sustainable rural communities."
Building on his predecessors' legacy, Salwasser has led OSU's nationally ranked College of Forestry for 12 years. The college has been ranked the number one forest resources research program in North America and the number one forest ecology program. It encompasses three departments, about 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students, and 14,000 acres of college forests.
Salwasser is also executive dean of OSU's Division of Earth Systems Science, which includes the colleges of forestry, agricultural sciences, and oceanic and atmospheric sciences. Prior to his arrival at OSU in 2000, Salwasser held numerous positions with the U.S. Forest Service. He holds a doctorate in wildland resource science from the University of California, Berkeley.
In honoring Salwasser as the inaugural holder of the endowed deanship, university officials also announced today that Salwasser will step down from the position at the end of the 2011-12 academic year.
"OSU has one of the finest forestry educational and research programs in the nation, a program that Oregon needs to build both a healthy economy and a healthy natural resource base," Randhawa said.
"No one has understood these multiple demands better than Dr. Salwasser," he said. "We're grateful for his work, his leadership in the College of Forestry to align academic programs with needs of industry and society, and his efforts to increase collaboration across colleges in his role as executive dean of the Division of Earth Systems Science. The new endowment is a fitting capstone to his achievements and will ensure that we are able to recruit a leader of similar caliber to help write the next chapter of the college's distinguished history."
The gift is part of The Campaign for OSU, the university's first comprehensive fundraising effort. 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. Approximately $743 million has been committed to date, including more than $74 million toward a $97 million goal for endowed positions and other faculty support. Since 2004, campaign donors have doubled the number of endowed faculty positions at OSU.
The Fords' gift leveraged the OSU Provost's Faculty Match Program, an initiative designed to encourage donor investments in endowed faculty positions. Over five years the match on the Fords' gift will provide an additional $450,000 for College of Forestry programs.
This is the third endowed deanship of OSU's 12 colleges, following established endowments in the colleges of business and veterinary medicine
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Sabah Randhawa, 541-737-0733