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Leveling The Playing Field: Honors College Champions Carol and Rich Pickard

The Honors College Champions are leading an unprecedented fundraising effort in honors by making gifts of $100,000 or more in support of the college. “The Honors College Champions are completely reshaping our future as a college and expanding our sense of what is possible,” says HC Dean Toni Doolen. “Never before have we seen giving at this level, and the leadership, commitment and vision of our champions is setting the college up to be a true model of innovative and inclusive excellence in honors education at public universities.”

For Carol and Rich Pickard, experience with the Honors College has only increased their commitment to its mission.

“We believe in the mission of the Honors College to educate talented young people to the highest degree possible,” Carol and Rich explain. “Our good friend, Zachary Pinard (H.B.S. ’20 in environmental sciences), recently graduated from OSU and went through all four years in the Honors College. His experience kept us very current on how well the Honors College under Dean Toni Doolen is doing to provide a superb small college feel in a big university for extremely talented students.”

Carol, Rich and a lemur on an Oregon State University trip to Madagascar in 2019

Carol is herself an Oregon State alum and well understands the value of the degree. She graduated in 1976 with a B.S. in clothing textiles and related arts and was involved in numerous extracurricular opportunities during her time at Oregon State, including time as a member of Mortar Board, working as a resident assistant in Buxton Hall, serving as a Memorial Union Program Council board member and playing as a flautist in the marching band and symphonic band.

Rich attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and he has been an active alum. He served on the Executive Committee for the Society of Alumni, serving terms as vice president and president, and was a member of the Board of Trustees.

Carol and Rich with their first grandchild, Leo Gephart, born in March 2021

Carol and Rich met at the College of William and Mary, where both of them attended law school. Following graduation, Carol spent time in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in the US Army, rising to the rank of captain before turning to civil litigation as an insurance defense attorney. She served on the Honors College Board of Regents for 11 years and was named an Oregon State University Alumni Association Alumni Fellow of the Honors College in 2013. She is currently a member of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees.

“We decided to be Honors College Campaign Champions because we understand there is a [differential tuition] to participate in the Honors College,” Rich explains. “We feel strongly that money should not be a deciding factor in whether or not a student can attend the Honors College and wanted to level the playing field as much as possible so that any student who otherwise qualifies could participate in the Honors College.”

Carol and Rich’s Honors College Champions gift has created a new differential tuition scholarship in the Honors College that will support access to honors education for all admitted students.

“We want the Honors College to have the resources that it needs to educate young people as well as possible – providing research opportunities, small classes and other attributes of a first-rate education,” they explain.

For more on the Honors College Champions, see New Horizons: Honors College Champions Lead Unprecedented Fundraising Success.

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