Alumnus Marcus Watt, ’77, and his wife Wilda Stratton commit $2.4 million estate gift

March 23, 2023

A College of Pharmacy alumnus has established the college’s first endowed chair, advancing faculty who will provide future students with the best possible training in pharmacy practice.

Marcus Watt, ’77, and his wife Wilda Stratton have committed a $2.4 million gift from their estate to the OSU Foundation to create the Marcus Watt and Wilda Stratton Endowed Chair in Pharmacy Practice.

“Marc is an incredibly engaged alumnus, insightful volunteer and exemplary leader in the field. With this amazing gift, he and Wilda demonstrate their dedication to helping future pharmacists perform an ever more vital role as frontline healthcare providers, helping patients manage increasingly complex health issues as their scope of practice continues to advance,” said College of Pharmacy Dean David Bearden. “By supporting the advancement of practice in the College, the Watts’ gift will have a profound impact on the health and well-being of communities throughout our state and beyond.”

After graduating from the College of Pharmacy, Marc began as a pharmacist for Fred Meyer and was later promoted into management positions for Fred Meyer, Safeway and Walgreens. He joined the Oregon Board of Pharmacy in 2000 and became its executive director in 2014. As he engaged with stakeholders and led policy efforts across the state, he saw the increasingly vital role the College of Pharmacy plays in facilitating collaboration and advancing the pharmacy profession. Marc joined the college’s Campaign Advisory Board in 2022 and serves as the college’s cabinet chair for Believe It: The Campaign for Oregon State University.

Marc notes that the role of the pharmacist has expanded over time – from simply filling prescriptions 50 years ago to administering vaccines, consulting patients and prescribing medications today. He and Wilda recognize the importance of faculty who train the next generation of pharmacists to keep up with a constantly evolving pharmacy landscape. They hope their support will lead to better access to healthcare – especially in rural Oregon.

“I believe that giving to the OSU College of Pharmacy will help advance the pharmacy profession by increasing and expanding the clinical skills of its graduates,” Marc said.

Donors have established over 180 endowed faculty position funds at the university, including 48 endowed chairs, which require a minimum of $2 million. Each fund generates a steady, reliable flow of expendable resources that allow the holders of these positions to accelerate their work.

“Endowed professorships and chairs, like gifts for scholarships and fellowships, are a fundraising priority for our university. They are a critical means of enabling Oregon State to recruit and retain exceptional academic talent, and they have an astounding ripple effect by providing funding for cutting-edge research, opportunities for students to work in faculty labs and more,” said Shawn L. Scoville, president and CEO of the OSU Foundation. “We are very thankful for this visionary gift from the Watt family.”