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Recognizing outstanding achievements: 2017 Alumni Awards

College of Science 2017 Alumni Award recipients

The College of Science is proud to announce its 2017 Alumni Award recipients: Christopher Mathews, distinguished emeritus professor of biochemistry and biophysics, Lifetime Achievement Award in Science; Kay Merrill and Lee Sickler ('90) of the Merrill Family Foundation, Distinguished Service Award; Suzanne McGrath ('70), Distinguished Alumni Award; and Luisa Snyder and Nathan Snyder (both '09), Young Alumni Award.

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

"I am delighted to honor these exceptional alumni and friends who have made invaluable contributions to their professions, to society, to the College of Science and to Oregon State University," said College of Science Dean Roy Haggerty.

"They have enriched our communities here in Oregon and beyond through their passion for science and education and have brought honor and distinction to the College of Science and the University."

The College celebrated the accomplishments of these distinguished individuals with a gathering of invited guests comprising faculty, campus leaders, students, alumni and friends at its annual award ceremony and dinner at the Memorial Union's Horizon Room on November 17.

Congratulations to these outstanding alumni and friends of the College for their scholarship, leadership and service to science at Oregon State!

Christopher Mathews talking behind podium

Christopher Mathews, distinguished emeritus professor of biochemistry and biophysics

Lifetime Achievement Award

Pioneering biochemist Christopher Mathews has been one of the most distinguished scientists at Oregon State since his arrival here in 1977 as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. From advancing the study of DNA synthesis and replication to groundbreaking research in nucleotide and coenzyme metabolism and nucleic acid enzymology, Mathews has played a leading role in establishing the reputation of Oregon State University as an important center for molecular genetics. He was instrumental in the founding of the Center for Genomic Research and Biocomputing (CGRB), which today facilitates genome-enabled and data-driven research in the life and environmental sciences at OSU. Always in the thick of scientific exploration and collaboration, Mathews and his 35 Ph.D. students, postdocs, research assistants and 150 undergraduate students have explored looming questions in the field of regulation of DNA precursors and enzymology.

Read more about his incredible journey as a researcher, teacher, department chair and lifelong scientist.

Chuck and Kay Merrill with Ed Ray taking group photo at University Day

Merrill Family Foundation, created by Kay Merrill and her late husband Chuck Merrill ('63)

Distinguished Service Award

The Merrill Family Foundation created by Kay Merrill and her late husband Chuck Merrill ('63) has been the single most impactful scholarship in the College of Science. Since 2006, the Foundation has granted over $1 million for 544 scholarship awards. Son-in-law Lee Sickler ('90) is a dedicated steward of the Foundation and supports generous scholarships for students in biology and the geosciences.

Read more about the inspiring legacy they are creating through the Merrill Family Foundation.

Suzanne McGrath in front of cityscape view

Suzanne McGrath ('70), math alumnus

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

After graduating with a degree in mathematics, McGrath charted an ambitious career path that led to her becoming President of Vision Capital Management, Inc., an investment advisory firm she founded 18 years ago with her daughter. McGrath and her husband, math alumnus Bernie McGrath ('70, '74), have generously supported OSU across the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Business to athletics.

Read more about Suzanne McGrath and the many contributions she has made to her profession and to OSU.

Snyder family sitting in garden

Nathan Snyder ('09) and Luisa Snyder ('09), biology graduates

Young Alumni Award

Biology graduates Nathan and Luisa Snyder have attained some cherished dreams early in their careers as medical professionals. Owners of two leading dental practices in Salem, Oregon, the Snyders are thrilled to work together as a team and provide top quality patient care. Having excelled in their academic careers at OSU and in medical school, the Snyders are now building up a strong reputation in Oregon.

Read more about how dentists Nathan and Luisa have made their mark through love and determination.

Alumni Awards Gallery