Oregon State University President Ed Ray and Sara Hart Kimball Dean Mitzi Montoya both noted the challenges and importance of accessing higher education May 2 during the College of Business’ Impact at Work event at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower.
The reception and dinner, attended by 150, were aimed at honoring scholarship recipients and the donors who help fund their education.
Student success is a top initiative of both the college and the university. Ray pointed out that young people who grow up in families in the lowest quartile of income distribution have just a 9 percent chance of accessing higher education — that’s a better chance than 40 years ago, but only 3 percent better, and he and Montoya are determined to speed up the rate of improvement.
Montoya, who was a second-generation college student in her family, noted that when someone can break through and become the first person in his or her family to graduate from college, it changes the family for the better for generations.
Other speakers included Presidential Scholar Annemarie Lewandowski, a senior in management who will go to work for Boeing as a project manager following graduation, and Dean’s Council of Excellence member Ken Thrasher, former chief executive officer of Fred Meyer.
Lewandowski expressed gratitude for being able to graduate debt free, and Thrasher noted how he hadn’t planned on going to college until his mentor, legendary Portland businessman Bill Naito, helped make it possible — with the proviso that he work hard, do well and then similarly help others someday.
The evening also included recognition for six high school juniors selected for the College of Business’ Future Business Leader Scholarship.