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Sastry Pantula with alumni award winners

Recognizing excellence in science: 2016 Alumni Awards

By Debbie Farris

(Left to right) Ben and Elaine Whiteley, Gretchen Schuette, Sastry Pantula, and Scott Clark

The College of Science is proud to announce its 2016 Alumni Award recipients: alumnus and professor emeritus Ken Hedberg for the inaugural Lifetime Achievement in Science Award; Gretchen Schuette for the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; Ben and Elaine Whiteley for the Distinguished Service Award; and Scott Clark for the Young Alumni Award.

The awards publicly recognize alumni or friends of the College of Science for distinguished personal and career accomplishments and for exemplary contributions to society that bring credit to the College and to OSU.

“We are proud to honor these outstanding alumni and friends who have enriched so many lives through their professional achievements, impact and service," said Sastry G. Pantula, Dean of the College of Science.

"They have improved our communities here in Oregon and around the world through science while strengthening our College and OSU.”

The College celebrated the accomplishments of these distinguished individuals with a gathering of about 125 faculty, campus leaders, students, alumni and friends at its annual award ceremony and dinner at the Memorial Union's Horizon room.

Congratulations to these outstanding alumni for their scholarship, leadership and service to science at Oregon State University!

Check out these photos from the Alumni Awards Ceremony and dinner.

Ken Hedberg receiving award from Sastry Pantula

Ken Hedberg ('43), Professor Emeritus in Chemistry

Alumnus and professor emeritus of chemistry Ken Hedberg has lived a lifetime of science. He has spent more than seven decades advancing science as a chemist at OSU and is the emeritus professor who has conducted research for the longest well after retirement—nearly 30 years and counting. He graduated in 1943, joined our chemistry faculty in 1956, retired in 1987, but continues to keep regular hours in his office in Gilbert Hall, doing research, mentoring an undergraduate student and inspiring us all.

Read more of his incredible journey that began in 1939.

Gretchen Schuette receiving award from Sastry Pantula

Gretchen Schuette (‘80), Distinguished Achievement Award

An experienced education leader and advocate at many levels, alumna Gretchen Schuette (Ph.D., Oceanography, ‘80) served as Oregon State University’s first Dean of Distance and Continuing Education, as the Director of Portland Area Programs, President Emeritus of Chemeketa Community College and previously served at Linn-Benton Community College and Mount Hood Community College. Dr. Schuette also served as Oregon's Commissioner of Community Colleges and as superintendent of the Gresham-Barlow School District.

Read more of about her strong leadership across multiple levels of higher education in Oregon.

Ben and Elaine Whiteley standing on balcony overlooking town

Ben (’51) and Elaine Whiteley (’53), Distinguished Service Award

Ben and Elaine Whiteley are known for their humility and for putting service above self. Throughout their careers and lives, Ben and Elaine have exemplified a deep commitment to service and to actively helping others—all with hallmark Beaver humility. We are very fortunate to have them as part of Beaver Nation and our Science community. Ben was a business major in the class of 1951 but filled his electives with as many mathematics courses as he could. Elaine was in the Class of 1953 and majored in secretarial science and home economics.

Read about the tremendous impact they have made on many organizations throughout the years.

Scott Clark standing in front of fence

Scott Clark (’08), Young Alumni Award

Physics and mathematics alumnus Scott Clark was selected for the Young Alumni Award because of his extraordinary professional accomplishments achieved so early in his career. Named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2016 from among 15,000 nominees, Clark is in good company: he is one of 600 of America’s best and brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. He was one of the first Ph.D.’s hired at Yelp, where he applied his academic research to developing the black box optimization system that helped improve the company's web analytics.

Read about the extraordinary accomplishments Scott has achieved so far in his career.