Richard Nafshun, ’97, helps OSU make sure students’ college years transform rather than discourage them.
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“They told me: ‘You can go to any school you’d like. We’ll pay for you to go to Oregon State.’ They helped me narrow the choice.”
We know him by the wild hair,the violent head bobbing and the giant, black-and-orange, O-shaped neckwear.
He told people that it was to put some of his life back in balance: He had served in the Army, now he would serve in the Peace Corps. It made for a nice story, Greg Smith, ’74, ’92, says, but not exactly the truth.
Jun Kinoshita sometimes jokes that the profession he shares with fellow OSU alumni Jeremy Pribyl — fire archeology — combines “two things that you wouldn’t normally bring together, like power tools and Jell-O.”
When we look at our own situation, at some point you have to say, “OK, so what am I going to do about this?” You think, “What are the best things we can do?”
Even as a little boy in the small California town where he grew up, Raul Vera was his mother’s favorite helper when she put on big feeds for the extended family, or catered huge meals around the family’s backyard barbecue pit.
Does this mean these early students spent all their time outside the classroom cloistered in ascetic seclusion, like members of a religious order? Not even close. They lived, as young people have always lived, taking risks, acting crazy, and doing things their parents, I’m sure, had warned them against.
“In this economy, there may be many grandparents who aren’t able to help their grandchildren as much as they would like. I thought, maybe I can step in.”
When Andy Shelton went to Norway through OSU’s Arthur Stonehill International Business Exchange Program, he had no idea what to expect. He couldn’t have imagined he’d make a connection that would lead to a job offer from National Oilwell Varco, a Fortune 500 company based in Houston, Texas.
The gift, which is not from the Byrnes directly but is tied to John Byrne’s service as a board member of Burlington Resources years ago, will help support OSU’s Valley Library, music programs, the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, as well as an endowed professorship in earth science. The money might not have materialized, however, were it not for the Byrnes’ love of piano music, creative thinking and persistence.
I got a little fired up working on this issue’s cover story about OSU’s efforts to improve student success, helping more freshmen make it all the way through to their diplomas. The “degree completion” number hovers just above 60 percent for OSU, meaning four of ten students don’t earn a bachelor’s degree within six years of starting college.
As I meet and talk with alumni association professionals across the nation, it’s fair to say that all of us are a little obsessed with our networks.
Older dogs with slowing hearts — and young dogs with congenital heart defects — are getting a new lease on life at OSU through an emerging cardiology program in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
OSU lost a living piece of its sports heritage in February when basketball great Ephraim “Red” Rocha, ’50, died at his home in Corvallis after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 86.