Scholarship Dessert celebrates student success and gratitude

The College of Science recognized our extraordinary scholarship students at the annual spring Scholarship Dessert on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m in the Ballroom at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center. The celebration drew a crowd of about 175 and featured donor and student speakers along with the festive cupcakes, coffee, and tea.

For the 2017-18 academic year, the College awarded more than $906,000 in scholarships to 223 current science students for merit, need and undergraduate research experiences. This represents an increase of nearly 17% more funding for our students. Thanks to the generous support of alumni and friends, the College was able to award 307 College and departmental scholarships and summer research fellowships from among 680 applicants this year. This does not include Presidential Scholarships, Provost Scholarships, and others at OSU.

These students are an impressive and diverse group.

  • 58% of them are women
  • 30% are also in the Honors College
  • 46%, or 103, are minority students
  • 65% of them work during the academic year, nearly 10% work more than 20 hours per week
  • 28% are first in family to go to college

Scholarships enable the College to attract, retain and inspire top students, most of whom go on to high achieving careers in industry, graduate school, medical school and other professional programs after graduation. Oregon State’s financial need-based scholarships also help academically talented low-income and first-generation students from Oregon and elsewhere to stay and excel in college.

Dean Sastry G. Pantula took a moment to recognize two alumni and long-time supporters who passed away this year, Chuck Merrill and Ben Whiteley. Chuck and his wife Kay, along with daughter Lisa and son-in-law Lee, have supported scholarships through the Merrill Family Foundation. Their scholarships represent nearly one-third of all College of Science scholarships. Ben Whiteley, an OSU business alumnus, and his wife Elaine Yunker, daughter of OSU Physics Professor Edwin Yunker, have generously supported the Yunker Lecture series, and the Whiteley Materials Science Fellowships in our College.

Ben Whiteley (’51)

We are deeply saddened by this huge loss. Their generosity, and support of science students has transformed so many their lives over the years. They will continue to be an inspiration to us all. We will certainly miss them.

Dean Pantula thanked all donors for supporting the next generation of leaders in science. He also recognized the outstanding guidance, teaching and mentoring by science faculty and advisors, a key component of the equation of student success through scholarship.

“And finally, there are our exceptional students. They are the heart of our College and the reason we all do what we do,” said Pantula. “You are here to acquire knowledge, but I hope you learn more than that. I hope you learn to navigate new information from “fake news,” analyze it, evaluate it and make sense of it.

“Science is better at OSU because it produces innovators, critical thinkers and problem solvers. Critical thinking skills will prove as valuable in your careers as in life. That is the value of a science education.”

Several science alumni and friends who are strong supporters of scholarships attended the celebration, including Dr. Robert and Susan Poole, Clara and Fred Horne (former dean of the College of Science), Dr. Bill and Ann Hetherington, Fred and Mary Brauti, Carroll and Gerry Dekock and Bev Chadburn. Ann Hetherington offered remarks from a philanthropist’s perspective.

Bev, a retired teacher and librarian, vividly recalls the impact a scholarship made on her life as a student at OSU.

“When I first started at Oregon State, I was so thrilled because I had received an Elks scholarship. The amount wouldn’t seem terrific now, but for me, it made the difference between attending a small local teachers college and going away to school. And for me, going away was as much a part of my education as what happened in the classroom. I always hoped to pay that gift forward.”

Below are photos from our 2017 Scholarship Dessert!

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