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The Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and the College of Agricultural Sciences is pleased to announce that Dr. Mary L. Powelson, OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor Emeritus, has established the Drs. Mary L. and Robert L. Powelson Endowment (“Fund”) to support research, extension and outreach, and/or teaching programs in plant pathology conducted by assistant professors or similar early career state-funded faculty (instructor, professor of practice). Dr. Powelson’s generosity in establishing the endowment within the Oregon State University Foundation will provide support in perpetuity for a wide variety of activities to benefit early career plant pathologists.
Dr. Mary Powelson was named OSU Alumni Association Distinguished Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology in 2000. She received many teaching awards, including the Award of Merit from the National Association of College Teachers of Agriculture. She enriched the lives of scores of students and colleagues through insightful and compassionate mentoring. She gave outstanding professional service to the discipline of plant pathology and to the potato industry and was honored as a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society in recognition of her many professional accomplishments. She also was awarded an Honorary Life Membership in the Potato Association of America, the predominant professional organization for potato research scientists and extension specialists. During her career, Mary worked closely with growers and agricultural professionals to develop improved strategies for management of potato and vegetable diseases in Oregon and nationally. In 2016, the College of Agricultural Sciences recognized her as a Diamond Pioneer.
Dr. Robert L. Powelson (1929-2015) joined the faculty of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in 1959. For many years, he led a research team focused on the epidemiology and management of wheat diseases and taught a graduate level course in plant disease epidemiology. His research and outreach activities were instrumental in improving management of several key diseases of wheat in eastern Oregon. During his career, he advised several MS and PhD students who went on to have distinguished careers on their own as a result of his mentoring. He retired from the department in December 1984, and enjoyed a full retirement of over 30 years pursuing his many recreational interests, and creating a world-class vegetable, fruit, and flower garden.