MBA candidates take their seats before the graduation ceremony in Stirek Auditorium.
MBA candidates take their seats before the graduation ceremony in Stirek Auditorium.

Eighty-eight students representing eight nations were recognized June 13 for having completed their MBA studies during the 2014-15 school year. The Oregon State MBA program features eight different tracks, and the graduation ceremony honored students from all eight: research thesis, commercialization, business analytics, marketing, accountancy, wealth management, global operations and executive leadership.

Prior to the ceremony, six MBA graduates one other College of Business student were inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international honor society serving schools accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The inductees were Sinae Cho, Casey Miller, Yuriy Mikitchenko,  Gary Phibbs, Kevin Russell, Halley Todd, and Phil Walter.

Erick Frack, president of Katapult Partners, LLC, and a 1981 College of Business graduate, delivered the keynote address at the MBA graduation ceremony. Frack’s talk centered around leadership, which he believes centers around caring about other people and listening to them.

“Your ability to show yourself as a good leader will help you more than anything,” Frack said.

Three of the MBA graduates also addressed the audience: Perren Baker (business analytics), Feng Qiu (research thesis) and Lauren West (commercialization). Baker urged his cohort to strive for a work/life balance, Feng talked about the challenges of being an international student while thanking his major professor, Keith Leavitt, for changing his life, and West told her fellow graduates, “When opportunity comes knocking, always say yes.”

The ceremony also recognized Grace Berczel, Casey Miller, Thomas Nguyen, Sara Kelley and Dan McCain for completing their combined doctor of pharmacy/MBA degree.

Following the 75-minute program, graduates and their guests repaired to Austin Hall’s third floor for a reception.

It was the second celebratory event of the day at Austin Hall, which in the afternoon hosted an outdoor reception for the College of Business’ newest bachelor’s degree recipients and their families and friends. Each of the 753 graduating seniors who stopped by received a COB business card holder as a gift from the college, and the event also included a photo booth and a group picture of all of the graduates on hand.

Associate dean Jim Coakley, right, congratulates MBA graduate Ryan Perry.
Associate dean Jim Coakley, right, congratulates MBA graduate Ryan Perry.



Benny Beaver was among retiring professor Erik Larson's well-wishers.
Benny Beaver was among retiring professor Erik Larson’s well-wishers.

Fittingly, as management professor, Neil Young devotee and renowned good guy Erik Larson took the podium at his retirement celebration May 15, Young’s tour de force “Heart of Gold” poured forth from the sound system in the Robert Family Events Room.

“I want to live; I want to give,” Young sang. “I’ve been a miner for a heart of gold.”

That’s exactly what the College of Business collected back in 1980 when it lured a young scholar west from SUNY-Buffalo, the pairing working so well that Larson became something of a rarity: a professor whose entire career took place at one university.

“I’m proud to have worked at Oregon State and in this college,” Larson said. “And I’m really glad to have gotten to spend my last year here, in the house that Ilene built.”

A colleague of Dean Ilene Kleinsorge for nearly three decades, Larson chose for his final year at the university a corner, fourth-floor office at brand-new Austin Hall as an exclamation point after spending 34 years in the college’s former home, Bexell Hall.

“It’s up to you guys to make (Austin Hall) a home,” he told the dozens of faculty and staff who turned out to wish him a well – a crowd whose size surprised the unassuming project-management legend.

“I told my wife as we were driving over here, ‘I wonder if anybody will show up; it’s a Friday afternoon,’’ Larson said.

Fellow management professor Keith Leavitt emceed the event (and arranged for the Young soundtrack). Leavitt said Larson was defined by genuine concern for others exemplified by how he shielded young faculty from things they didn’t need to worry about and spoke with candor about the issues they did need to be concerned with.

“Erik will tell you exactly what’s on his mind,” Leavitt said. “And he embodies the culture of the College of Business: Performance should never sacrifice people. He’ll always remind you not to take yourself too seriously.”

In retirement, Larson plans to follow Young’s advice to keep on rockin’ in the free world – with an emphasis on the world part of that. He’s been to 45 countries and wants to visit another 45, likely teaching part time wherever his travels find him and his wife, Ann – whom he thanked from the podium for “putting up with me.”

“I don’t know how she does it,” Larson said, training his eyes on her in the crowd. “I love you.”




Leslie Burns
Leslie Burns

For design professor Leslie Burns, being a scholar has meant seeing her research change the world for the better in ways she never even imagined.

Just one example: Her work with Sharron Lennon of Indiana University on the role of appearance in social perception has been used to refute rape defendants’ claims that what the victim was wearing was responsible for the defendant believing she wanted to have sex.

“Social perception is as much about the perceiver as it is who is being perceived, and so the judgments made often can’t be generalized beyond the perceiver,” Burns explained.

That means that whereas once upon a time an accused attacker could attempt a sexy-dress defense in court – as ludicrous as that may sound – Burns and Lennon scientifically disproved the notion that a particular type of apparel could be generally taken as consent.

Burns, who is retiring following spring term after 30 years at Oregon State, grew up in northwestern Montana in Cut Bank, a town of about 3,000 people 30 miles south of the Canadian border.

“I started designing clothing when I was in grade school, but I didn’t know that could be a career,” she said.

At Washington State she studied clothing and textiles and also developed a fondness for marketing research. Moving on to Purdue, she earned a Ph.D. in consumer sciences and retailing.

Burns was an instructor at San Diego State for a year and an assistant professor at Utah State for three before arriving in Corvallis, where her work has included five years in academic affairs; she helped create the degree partnership programs now in place between OSU and Oregon’s community colleges.

Burns is gratified by the partnership, along with her impactful research, and of how OSU started what is now a highly respected Ph.D. program in design and human environment.

“Seeing it grow and become acknowledged as one of the top doctoral programs in the country, I’m really proud of that,” she said.

In retirement, Burns will operate a startup, Responsible Global Fashion, LLC., which will produce educational materials aimed at helping the fashion industry make socially conscious decisions such as the ones she emphasizes to her students.

“I want to get to the decision makers of the future, that’s where the difference can be made,” she said. “These students, they are going to be the decision makers. I have a vision of where I see our industry headed.”

Burns is one of two longtime College of Business professors retiring this year. The other is Erik Larson, who will be featured in the COB blog later this week.

Proposed logo for Western Washington's football team.
Proposed logo for Western Washington football team.

Branding a college football team.

Integrating individuals’ compostable household waste into a green network that includes a community garden.

Building a campaign for an ongoing food drive by encouraging, via a popular online comic strip, grocery consumers to purchase “Just One More” item to continually bolster food banks.

Putting together apps to help you shop, cook and travel more enjoyably and efficiently.

Creating tools to keep young girls out of the sex trade, and to extricate them if they’re already there.

Those were just a handful of the roughly two dozen capstone projects on display June 3 in the Robert Family Events Room as graduating seniors in graphic design showcased and talked about the signature works of their academic careers in the College of Business.

The two-hour reception featured a steady bustle of students, faculty, staff and parents, all of whom could view the design work the students had put together and also hear them talk about the projects one on one.

The crowd included various business and design faculty, Dean Ilene Kleinsorge and community members such as Kari Rieck, the executive director for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Benton County. An interview with Rieck was part of the research conducted by student Chloie Parsons, whose work involved branding for nonprofits.

Project topics varied widely. Kevin Bradley’s focused on how to brand a college football team, specifically the one at Western Washington University in Bellingham. The university dropped football several years ago, but if it opts to restore the sport, it could do worse than to lean on the efforts of Bradley, who designed and prototyped everything from game schedules to decals to fan gear to team helmets.

Bradley’s premise is that strong branding leads to potent recruiting and an overall successful program.

He chose the topic simply because he’s passionate about college football. Professor Andrea Marks encourages students embarking on the two-term projects to begin by picking something that truly excites them – that’s the thesis stage – and then branching into considering the design aspects of what they’re doing later as the work progresses.

Marks marveled at the work of the 2015 graphic design cohort, and of OSU graphic design students in general.

“Their interest never wanes,” she said. “Our graphic design graduates go to work in graphic design; they’re not just getting a degree.”

Students Jasmine Hart, left, and Alyssa Johnson, center, visit with professor Andrea Marks.
Students Jasmine Hart, left, and Alyssa Johnson, center, visit with professor Andrea Marks.







Sherri Noxel
Sherri Noxel

The Austin Family Business Program in Oregon State University’s College of Business has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Family Firm Institute’s Interdisciplinary Achievement Award.

“This prestigious award is the pinnacle of achievement in the field and we are pleased to name the Austin Family Business Program as its recipient for 2015,” said Judy Green, president of the institute, which is the leading association worldwide for family enterprise professionals.

Established in 1999, the Interdisciplinary Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the advancement of interdisciplinary services to business families. It is the highest professional honor presented by the Family Firm Institute, which provides research-based learning and relevant tools for advisors and consultants, academics and family enterprise members to drive success.

“We’re thrilled to receive this recognition from FFI that honors our commitment to delivering quality education to family businesses,” said program director Sherri Noxel. “It’s particularly special for us because 2015 is our 30-year anniversary.”

Founded in 1985, the Austin Family Business Program provides inspiration, education, outreach and research to support the success and survival of family businesses.

The program works with family business advising practitioners and consultants to design educational programs to prepare family businesses to balance the well-being of the business, the family and individuals, Noxel said.

Noxel will accept the award on behalf of the program at the FFI Gala Awards Dinner in October in London.

Family Firm Institute logo

Sierra Makepeace of Boeing, left, talks with pre-graphic design student Hannah King at Boeing's booth in the MU quad.
Sierra Makepeace of Boeing, left, talks with pre-graphic design student Hannah King at Boeing’s booth in the MU quad.

Representatives from Boeing, corporate partner of the College of Business, were on campus May 14 for Boeing Day, a series of workshops and informational events aimed at helping Oregon State students learn more about the aerospace giant and job opportunities at the company.

On hand were Brad Stevenson, a college recruiter; Sierra Makepeace, who works in business operations; Matt McMahen, finance; and Kalan Guiley, continued airworthiness manager for twin-aisle airplane programs and commercial airplanes.

Comprising Boeing Day were two separate resume workshops (in the Kelley Engineering Center and Austin Hall), a mid-day information table in the Memorial Union quad, and an evening information session in Austin Hall.

Sophomore Hannah King, a pre-graphic design student, and graduating senior Matthew L. Bautista, a management major, were among the throng of students to drop by Boeing’s booth in the quad.

“I wanted to see what the opportunities were, and I definitely got information that I want to check out,” King said.

Bautista is a former Air Force mechanic who now works in human resources in Portland for the Oregon Air National Guard in addition to attending OSU. He’s interested in HR or career development work with Boeing and is grateful for how his studies and professional life are propelling each other forward.

“I take what I learn in Austin and apply it to my professional life and personal life, and I take what I learn there and apply it here,” he said. “There’s a good synergy going on.”

Boeing, founded in Seattle in 1916 and now based in Chicago, is the world’s largest aerospace company and serves customers in 150 countries.


Randy Eck explained that "moving stuff" makes up 11 percent of the global gross domestic product.
Randy Eck explained that “moving stuff” makes up 11 percent of the global gross domestic product.

Think logistics is no big deal in terms of the global economy?

Think again.

Randy Eck, director of supply chain technology solutions for Intel, told MBA students May 12 that roughly 11 percent of the world’s gross domestic product is logistics: “just moving stuff.”

That percentage translates to $9 trillion – 25 times as much as the $350 billion accounted for by the semiconductor industry, Eck said.

Eck and another member of Intel’s Customer, Planning and Logistics Group, Cliff Parrish, gave an evening presentation in Austin Hall’s Robert Family Events Room regarding Intel’s approach to supply chain management. Parrish is the company’s product and customer data manager.

Eck and Parrish’s group handles the transportation and warehousing of the materials Intel needs. For a company of Intel’s size and scope, the responsibility is big business to say the least. If supply chain efficiencies result in even a 1 percent increase in gross margin, that means an additional $500 million in revenue, Parrish noted.

Those efficiencies can be gained, Eck pointed out, through moves as simple as giving truck drivers instruction on how to shift gears in ways that require engines to use less fuel.

A fundamental issue logisticians must deal with, the pair told the students, is balancing service with effective cost management.

Parrish provided an outline for successful strategizing, which begins with the vision to see what success is. From there comes the development of goals and objectives and an “environmental scan” to determine what obstacles are in place. Next comes making a strategy, and following that is “strategic exploration” to see if there’s an even better strategy out there than the one you’re using. Then you need a roadmap for executing the strategy and ways to measure performance. And communication is the oil in the engine – without it, nothing happens.

Other topics the pair touched on included the “Internet of Things” – the ever-growing collection of smart devices that share data with one another to create systems of systems – and Moore’s Law.

Moore’s Law is a 1965 prediction by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore that transistor size would be cut in half every two years, doubling the computing power of an integrated circuit while vastly improving its performance and efficiency. Fifty years later, the prediction has so far proven true.

Cliff Parrish noted that without communication, any strategy will fail.
Cliff Parrish noted that without communication, any strategy will fail.

Putting it in perspective, if a Volkswagen Beetle had improved at the same exponential rate as microchips, the car would now be capable of 2 million miles per gallon and 300,000 miles per hour.

All eight College of Business faculty members nominated this year for indefinite tenure and/or promotion have been approved, Dean Ilene Kleinsorge announced May 19.

Advancing to associate professor and receiving indefinite tenure are Keith Leavitt (management), Michelle Barnhart (marketing) and Jeff Barden (entrepreneurship), and also earning indefinite tenure is Associate Professor Seunghae Lee (interior design).

Don Neubaum (entrepreneurship), Zhaohui Wu (international business) and Jimmy Yang (finance)
have been promoted to professor, and Aaron Lewis (international business) has been elevated to senior instructor I.

Tenure and promotion require a lengthy college and university review process culminating with final approval granted by the university provost/executive vice president.


Sakura Hamada addresses the audience during "Japan Matters."
Sakura Hamada addresses the audience during “Japan Matters.”

Planning to do business with a Japanese person?

Then among other skills, you better learn the proper way to hang up a land-line telephone.

That was one of the lessons May 8 during “Japan Matters,” a presentation at Austin Hall co-sponsored by the College of Business, Oregon State’s Japanese Student Association and INTO OSU, which helps international students make smooth transitions into the local culture after they arrive in Corvallis.

Among the speakers was Yosuke Masuda, a graduate student and kengido instructor at Oregon State; kengido is a Samurai-based combination of martial arts and performing arts.

Masuda, who holds bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Yokohama National University, explained to the audience of two dozen the wrong way and the right ways to hang up a phone if you’re interested in showing respect to the person on the other end of the line.

Wrong way: Set the receiver down noisily.

Right ways: Replace it quietly, depress the hang-up button with a finger, or wait for the other person to get off the line before putting the receiver back in place.

Masuda also described proper etiquette for the exchange of business cards: Bow, hold the car with two hands and so the writing is right-side-up to the recipient, and, if the recipient is also trying to give you his business card, try to get your card below his. This double exchange, Masuda admitted, can be awkward as each attempts to get his card under the other, but somehow it works out.

“In general people in Japan pay more attention to the respect of others compared to the U.S. or other countries,” Masuda said.

Masuda also noted that in Japan, people making each other’s acquaintance don’t shake hands but rather just bow and exchange business cards.

He added that the U.S. features more workplace gender equality than Japan, and a somewhat less driven workforce; in his country, he said, it’s not uncommon for workers to sleep in their offices.

Danielle Lucia and Gabe Fleck talk about their Northwest Trek product line of hiking accessories.
Danielle Lucia and Gabe Fleck talk about their Northwest Trek product line of hiking accessories.

Cooperation, creativity and the art of building a bridge from the historical to the modern all come together for students in Christine Gallagher’s DHE 360 class, Collaborative Studio.

The course is designed to examine a variety of collaborative methodologies and situations; students work across design disciplines to complete various and complicated projects.

Exemplifying that mission is a roughly two-week undertaking that saw three- and four-person teams draw inspiration from historical textiles to create product lines based on those fabrics and what they learned about and from them; the lines had to include at least one prototype.

The vintage pieces at the core of the project are part of the School of Design and Human Environment’s Historic & Cultural Textile and Apparel Collection.

As the project description explains, the collection “was started in the 1940s through the efforts of several professors in the Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Related Arts in the School of Home Economics. The collection … consists of Euro-American apparel, non-Euro-American cultural textiles and cultural apparel but also includes fabric samples, tapestry fragments, and accessories from many cultures. While the bulk of the entire collection is from the 19th and 20th century, there is cultural wear, textiles and textile fragments from the 15th, 17th, and 18th centuries.”

Among the items the student teams used as their creative muses were a civil rank badge from China’s Ch’ing Dynasty, a navy wool bathing suit, embroidered silk, a Guatemalan huipil, a tent coat and a skirt suit. The product lines those artifacts spawned were “conceptually rich and very interesting,” Gallagher told her students following their class presentations.


Pacific Picnic, a “modern beach experience” inspired by the wool swimsuit; products included the Nautical Napkin and the Beach Basket.

The Bodhi Meditation Line, a set of home goods designed to foster meditation, such as a specialized lamp and floor mat; the civil rank badge led to this line’s creation.

Northwest Trek, a collection of hiking accessories (boots, field journal, picnic blanket) inspired by the huipil.

Chambri, a coffee shop and related products aimed at women seeking a break from day-to-day life; the Chambri are a woman-dominated tribe in Papua New Guinea, and the company and products were inspired by the tent coat of the 1960s, a time when women were beginning to enjoy new freedoms in American society.

Gallagher teaches two sections of Collaborative Studio, and the product lines developed by both will be reviewed by jurors for an exhibit that will be presented alongside the SDHE’s annual Spring Fashion Show on May 30.

Jessica Hammock and Cameron Lambert describe Chambri, a coffee shop by and for the modern woman.
Jessica Hammock and Cameron Lambert describe Chambri, a coffee shop by and for the modern woman.