November 16, 2023


The 2023 OSU President’s Dinner began with a bang, as wall-sized projections of the implosion of Reser Stadium kicked off a program highlighting the powerful impact of the university’s philanthropic leaders.

The gathering of more than 325 guests at the Portland Art Museum began a new tradition: in addition to honoring new members of the Harris Society for their cumulative gifts of $1 million or more, donors also were honored for reaching the $5 million and $10 million milestones since the last dinner two years ago. Donors at the new $25 million and $50+ million levels were recognized, too. With this year’s inductees, OSU now has more than 500 donors who have cumulatively given more than $1 million to the university. Watch the video about the impact that OSU's most generous donors have made on the university and the communities we serve.


Speaker Penny Akins.


“This new practice was inspired, quite simply, by the unprecedented generosity of this community,” OSU Foundation Board of Trustees chair Penny Atkins, ’79, told the gathering. “The OSU Foundation has celebrated several record-breaking gifts in recent years, but at the same time, other donors were quietly reaching new heights in their giving – together making an impact like nothing this university has ever experienced. We just have to celebrate!”

In his opening remarks, Shawn L. Scoville, OSU Foundation president and CEO, noted that the academic year is off to an amazing start, including the formal dedication of the completed Reser Stadium and the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building in Newport plus the announcement of a $20 million gift from Oregon State alumni Judy, ’65, and Mike Gaulke, ’68, to create the Gaulke Center for Marine Innovation and Technology


“You have made, and continue to make, the
unbelievable possible for our OSU.”

“Please know how grateful we are for the many ways you, and all of our donors, support the university,” Scoville said. “You have made, and continue to make, the unbelievable possible for our OSU.”

Peter Betjemann, the endowed director of the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts, warmly invited dinner guests to attend events during the center’s first season, which celebrates its grand opening on April 6. The center, known as PRAx, was made possible by gifts from Mrs. Reser and many other donors. During the dinner program, four students – Javier Garcia Ramirez, ’24, College of Engineering; Sophia Morton, ’24, College of Science, Honors College; Jared Kainalu Martin, Ph.D. ’27, College of Agricultural Sciences; Faith Townsend, ’25, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences – also spoke about how donors have made a difference in their OSU experiences.

Homecoming Ambassador and the student representative on the OSU Alumni Association Board of Directors, Maya Sonpatki, ’24, and Temesgen Hailemariam, the N.B. and Jacqueline Giustina Professor in Forest Management, led the recognition of $5 million and $10 million milestone donors. Jon DeVaan, ’85, ’11 (Hon. Ph.D.), and John Stirek, ’82 – co-chairs of the Believe It campaign with Ruth Beyer, ’77 – led the recognition of donors at the $25 million and $50 million plus levels.


Student speaker Faith Townsend in front of a screen showing Western Kelp.


This was the first President’s Dinner for Jayathi Murthy, who provided a snapshot of the university’s new strategic plan – a plan formally announced the following day in conjunction with her investiture as OSU’s 16th president. This plan, she said, is “a challenge to all members of the OSU community to think big, to act with confidence and to open ourselves up to different perspectives and new collaborations. And it calls on us to focus on the university’s role in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges, to responsibly and cooperatively advance science and technology, and to ensure the prosperity we create does not benefit some of us, but benefits all of us.” 

She concluded: “What we do now, in this moment, matters to the future of Oregon and to future of our world.”




Meet the donors who support Oregon State University at the highest levels: cumulative gifts of $25 million and $50 million plus in the video below.




On this special evening, we welcomed new members of the Harris Society, who have made cumulative gift commitments of $1 million or more.


New members of the Harris Society:


Timothy J. Moriarty & Dr. Arthur R. Anderson, ’77

Beavers Charitable Trust

Ruth A. Beyer, ’77

Campbell Global

Meredith Y. Chapman & Robert Lyle Chapman, ’65, M.S. ’67

Tracey Boydston Clark, ’73, & Richard “Mike” Clark, ’73

Vicki Leininger Comer, ’68,
& William “Frosty” Foster Comer, ’68, M.S. ’78

Denise F. Cooper & Michael Charles Cooper, ’73

Nancy Ward Fischer & Dodd Fischer

Diane Freres, ’73

Robert Grover, ’83, & Theresa Kirsch, ’85

Sandra J. Hansen, ’67, & Alan M. Hansen, ’68

Dixie Luana Wooton Kenney, ’62

Dena & Douglas A. Keszler

Lemelson Foundation

Ruth T. & Andrew C. Lim, ’68

Anna Jean & Jack C. Means, ’53

Loni Austin Parrish, ’81, & Scott N. Parrish, ’81

Carmen Ford Phillips, ’59

Theresa M. & Jim Piro, ’74

Amanda “Mandy” Dianne Prewitt, ’99

Frances I. & Clyde C. Saylor Jr., ’44

Sally Wass Smith, ’71, & Ross Smith, ’70

Ann E. Thompson & David A. Thompson

Wilda Stratton & Marcus Raymond Watt, ’77

Wei Family Private Foundation / Dr. Chung Kwai Lui Wei, ’41




We also began a new tradition of recognizing Oregon State University's most impactful donors. These include Harris Society members who have reached the $5 million and $10 million milestone in giving over the last two years:


$5 million to $9 million

Marian C. Bailey & Stephen M. Bailey, ’70 

Ruth A. Beyer, ’77 

Campo Family

Denise & Michael C. Cooper, ’73 

Stephanie L. & Jon DeVaan, ’85, ’11 (Hon. Ph.D.)

Gretchen Heesacker Evans, ’69, & Richard B. Evans, ’69 

Dena & Douglas A. Keszler

Joan Okamura-Skoro & Tom Skoro, ’81

Carmen Ford Phillips, ’59 

Sally Wass Smith, ’71, & Ross Smith, ’70

$10 million to $24 million

Cheryl Ramberg-Ford & Allyn C. Ford, ’16 (Hon. alum.)

The Ford Family Foundation

Judy Mellenthin Gaulke, ’65, & Michael R. Gaulke, ’68 

Helen Hume Gienger, ’57, and Lenhart A. Gienger, ’57 

Oregon Community Foundation





We recognized with gratitude donors who have reached the highest levels of the Harris Society:


$25 million to $49 million

Connie & Lee Kearney, ’63 

$50 million and up

Gary R. Carlson, ’74 

Lori L.,’85, & Jen-Hsun Huang, ’84, ’09 (Hon. Ph.D.)

Patricia Valian Reser, ’60, ’19 (Hon. Ph.D.), & Alvin L. Reser, ’60 

Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation