They Believe In Our Future
Our Donors Trust Us to Do What We Have Always Done BestóGather and Disseminate Knowledge About Forests
She's Investing In The Forests of Tomorrow
The college of Forestry's largest-ever gift has come from an OSU graduate and former teacher who had the foresight to invest her salary in timber land.
Ruth Spaniol, of Stayton, Oregon, has given the College 800 acres of timber land worth $3.1 million. Eventually the money will go to establish an endowed chair in renewable natural resources at the College of Forestry, the first endowed chair the College has ever had.
The gift is being administered by the OSU Foundation under a life income agreement involving Ruth Spaniol's three children, Sherry Chain of Hillsboro, Gary Spaniol of Stayton, and Kathryn Parkans of Houston, Texas. Under this arrangement, the proceeds from the sale of the land will be placed in a trust that will yield income to the three of them for the rest of their lives. After that, the trust's principal will revert to the College to establish the endowed chair.
The gift expresses Mrs. Spaniol's long-standing keen interest in forestry and foret products. "As a society, we're going to have to do more to preserve and enhance the capability of our forests," she says. "We'll need to do a lot in the science field-develop new ideas about how to manage our forests, not just in the harvest area but in developing new products."
Almost 50 years ago, Mrs. Spaniol began buying timber land with her teacher's pay. Teaching was not the career she had planned for herself as an Oregon State student back in the early 1930-she began her studies in accounting and journalism. But times were hard, and the few jobs available in these fields almost always went to men. She changed her major because "a girl couldn't get a job in any field except education."
After graduation in 1933, she taught for a year at the high school in the mining town of Jacksonville, Oregon. "My students would mine gold under the streets of the town in the morning," she says. "Then they'd come to school at 8 o'clock and show me what they'd found."
She married Eugene Spaniol, a 1931 Oregon State graduate, in 1935. They built a house in Stayton, where Mr. Spaniol had a plumbing and heating business. Mrs. Spaniol taught at Stayton High School throughout the Second World War, then continued as a substitute teacher for a while. She went back to work full-time in the late 1950s, teaching Latin at the high school until she retired.
It was in 1944 that her father, H.W. Curring, a Hillsboro real=estate man (and an Oregon State alumnus; class of '09) told her of a nice 40-acre parcel for sale in the Tualatin Hills. Not having quite enough money herself, she went in with her sister and bought the piece. Later she inherited more timber land from her father. She and her husband continued to buy timbered property up until a few years ago, collecting quite a few acres mostly near Hillsboro.
Mr. and Mrs. Spaniol traveled extensively before his death in 1984. They made a two-moth journey around the world in 1971 and a trip to China in the fall of 1983.
Recently Mrs. Spaniol took another, more modest trip-a ride on the steam train out of Banks, Oregon, through the Tillamook State Forest. "I was in college when that forest burned," she says. "And now, to ride through that forest and see wave upon wave of green-it's just beautiful." The experience, she says, affirmed their conviction that the forests of Oregon, if wisely maintained and managed, can continue to yield their blessings to countless future generations.
She hopes the Spaniol Endowed Chair in Renewable Resources will attract the top-flight talent it will take to bring such a vision to reality. "If there's any possibility of ensuring that Oregon will continue to be a forestry state," she says, "I wanted to help make it happen."
Hicoks' Gift Carries Legacy of their Good Stewardship
The College of Forestry has received a major gift from a former Oregon State forestry student and his wife. Jerold and Vera Hicok have donated a 200-acre parcel of timber land on Rogers Mountain, in the Cascade foothills near Scio.
Proceeds from the sale of the parcel, about $502,000, will eventually benefit the Oregon Forestry Education Program (OFEP) at the College of Forestry. OFEP works to educate and train public school teachers, from kindergarten through high school, about natural resource issues and how to incorporate them into classroom teaching.
"With this gift we wanted to help the young people," says Vera Hicok. "We want to help teach them about the land and how to respect it." Her husband agrees: "I believe in teaching teachers about natural resources."
Lisa Mattes, director of development for the College of Forestry, says an estate and trust arrangement similar to that arranged for the Spaniol family will allow the Hicoks to receive income and a large charitable deduction, provide for their son's inheritance, and make a major contribution to Oregon forestry education, all at the same time.
Under their life income agreement, the Hicoks will receive income or the rest of their lives, and because of the deductible charitable contribution they'll bypass capital gains taxes. After their lifetime the assets of the trust will revert to the College of Forestry and will support the educational efforts envisioned by the donors.
"We're very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Hicok for this gift," says Mattes. "We know they're committed to good stewardship of the land and to the education of young people. This gift will be a a major enhancement of what we're able to offer."
The Hicoks' land showcases their years of hard work. They bought the cut-over parcel in 1957, when they were a young Albany couple living and raising a child on a truck driver's salary. The first year they planted 8,000 Douglas-fir seedlings all by themselves, and the next few years they put in about 7,000 trees a year. "My husband has always loved timber land," says Vera Hicok, "and we've worked awfully hard to turn it into the property it is now. We'd go up on the weekends and pitch a tent, and later we built a little cabin. We'd just stow everything in there and plant trees all weekend." When their son, Larry, got big enough, he helped, too, cutting brush and doing other chores.
They encountered all the inconveniences familiar to forest managers, including fending off the neighbors' straying livestock and coping with bad weather. Vera Hicok remembers one very rainy Thanksgiving Day. "It sounds funny," she says, "because it was pouring, but we had to go up and water the seedlings-they were stored in bundles in a little shed." They left the turkey in the oven and told Larry, then 8, to lock the doors-they'd return shortly.
The Hicoks drove up Rogers Mountain, took care of the seedlings, then discovered that the highway was impassible. They managed to find a telephone and called their son. "I told him to get hold of our neighbor and get the turkey out," says Vera Hicok. "And then Jerold and I had biscuits and Spam in the cabin-that was our Thanksgiving dinner." They set out at 6 o'clock the next morning and found that the water had receded enough for them to get through. They arrived home to find a very relieved son and part of a cold turkey.
Jerold Hicok was raised on a ranch near North Powder, Union County, Oregon, and moved with his family to Corvallis at the age of 12. He graduated from Corvallis High School in 1934. His parents, George and Amanda Hutchinson Hicok, were longtime Corvallis residents, as were his brother Francis and his sister Freida.
Both Hicok brothers attended the forestry school at Oregon State. Jerold was there during 1935 and 1936, and he remembers Professor T.J. Starker vividly: "he used to preach to us every day: 'if you ever get any money, buy some timber land.' That was the best advice I ever got."
Vera Thamer Hicok was born on a Nebraska farm, but the family moved to town (York, Neb.) when she was 5 years old. She moved west as a young woman and worked for several years at the First National Bank in Albany. The Hicoks were married on Valentine's Day, 1942; they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year.
In 1956 they bought their second piece of land, a 159-acre farm near Lacomb. The new property meant even more work for the couple, but they entered into it with enthusiasm. "You should have seen this place when we bought it," says Hicok. "Most of the existing fences were in very poor condition, and there was lots of dog fennel, thistles, blackberries, and tansy ragwort." His wife adds, "We're still fighting the weeds." They spent the next eight years fixing up the place, putting in fences and refurbishing the house. They moved there in 1973.
The Hicoks raise purebred Simmental cattle and manage the 100 acres of timber on the home place. Jerold Hicok, a long-time member of the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, was named Tree Farmer of the Year for Linn County in 1980.
They're still going strong, but they're both 76, and the Scio parcel was just getting to be too much for them. "I'm happy we gave it to the College of Forestry," says Jerold Hicok. "That's where we wanted it to go."
Dean George Brown expressed his deep appreciation of the Hicoks' donation: "With gifts of this type everyone comes out ahead. It's a true testimony to a family who nurtured the land, and who are not able to help nurture our youth-to help them learn about natural resources and the importance of sound management."
Capping a Lifetime of Generosity
True to their long and generous history of philanthropy, Faye (Forestry '38) and Lucille Stewart have given OSU one of the largest gifts it has ever received, a life income agreement of $3 million. The gift will eventually be divided three ways to benefit the College of Forestry's Forest Engineering department, intercollegiate athletics, and the university as a whole.
The forest engineering portion will not only help research and teaching in that department, says Forestry Dean George Brown, but it can be used to leverage additional grants. "This gift will be a marvelous opportunity for the College to help out state's forest industry in some very difficult times," he says.
Bill Atkinson, head of the forest engineering department, says the gift will be of great help in maintaining the excellence of the program. "It will obviously be valuable in out recruitment of top-quality students, and that means scholarships and fellowships. And it will help us improve our ability to analyzer problems, and that means computers, plotters, mapping systems, upgraded facilities, and so forth."
Although modest about their contributions, Faye and Lucille ('Cille) Stewart have already shown great caring and concern for Faye's alma mater, supporting research programs in genetics, marine mammals, forestry, and athletics. Faye Stewart, along with his brother Loran ("Stub") contributed significantly to the complex of auditoriums and meeting rooms known as the LaSells Stewart Center, named in honor of their father.
Forestry and Faye Stewart go back a long way. Born in a logging camp in Rujada, Oregon, southeast of Cottage Grove, Faye grew up under the tall timbers. He graduated from Cottage Grove High School, lettering in football, basketball, and baseball, and entered Oregon State Agricultural College, as it was then called, to earn a degree in logging engineering.
A college education wasn't common among lumbermen in those days, but LaSells Stewart, a self-made entrepreneur with a grade-school education, wouldn't have it any other way, Stewart recalls with a grin. "My dad told me I'd go to college or he'd bust my head open."
After graduation Stewart worked for his father, who with two partners owned a modest-sized outfit called Bohemia Lumber Co., named after the flat-topped mountain in the Cascade foothills southeast of Cottage Grove. When the war came, he shipped out to the South Pacific-attaining the rank of full colonel by the age of 28.
He was on the island of Saipan with the 5th Amphibious Marine Corps when he got the news that Bohemia was to be sold. He wrote home and pleaded with his father not to sell, and when he got back in 1945 he argued some more.
Eventually Faye and Loran Stewart and their brother-in-law Larry Chapman struck a deal with LaSells Stewart and the other owners to buy the company themselves.
Under their helmsmanship Bohemia grew up to be an industry giant, pioneering such products as glue-laminated beams and maximum-density fiberboard (MDF). In 1991, when it was sold to Willamette Industries, the company employed more than 2,000 workers at 11 plants in Oregon and California, and it owned some 82,000 acres of timber land in Oregon and Washington.
The Stewart brothers had moved out of active management of Bohemia in the years just before it was sold. But today, at 76, Faye Stewart is far from retired. He's president and CEO of two other Eugene companies, Western Coating and The Flying Scotsman. The latter (named by 'Cille Stewart) pioneered the use of helium balloons to log the steeps canyons of coastal Oregon. Today Stewart's balloons are keeping busy with logging contracts in British Columbia.
Western Coating produces coated-steel reinforcing bar, supplying almost the entire market west of the Rockies, Stewart says.
The Stewart bequest will have a major influence on university-wide programs, especially in their ability to respond to "unanticipated needs and opportunities," according to Roy Arnold, OSU provost. Dutch Baughman, director of athletics, also expressed gratitude. "This gift will have incredible impact on OSU athletics. Faye and 'Cille have made an enormous difference for us."
Using Genes to Fight Disease
A 1993 graduate has made a bequest of $125,000 to help College of Forestry researchers probe the genetic mechanisms of disease resistance in trees.
Conrad Wessela, who retired from the Forest Service in 1967, spent his career battling tree diseases. "I've been out of the race for a long time," he says, "but I keep up with what's going on."
He's especially interested in the work of Steve Strauss, a forest geneticist and associate professor of forest science at the College, and has directed that the bequest be used to establish a fellowship fund to support graduate students in forest genetics. About a year ago Wessela donated $25,000 outright to Strauss's work.
Strauss, a leading researcher in forest genetics and biotechnology, was named a Presidential Young Investigator by the National Science Foundation in 1988. He and his students are developing techniques of molecular genetics to try to increase the resistance of trees to disease. They're approaching the problem in several ways-developing methods for inserting disease-resistant genes into a tree's cells, studying the genes of a root-rot pathogen that attacks conifers, and finding ways to sterilize genetically engineered trees to ensure they won't release their new genes in a natural forest.
Wessela got his start in tree disease control in 1933, as a foreman on a northern Idaho Civilian Conservation Corps crew engaged in eradicating gooseberry and currant bushes to control white pine blister rust. Blister rust is caused by a parasitic fungus that cycles back and forth between white pines and alternate hosts of the Ribes genus (currants and gooseberries). The disease eventually girdles and kills the pine trees.
At that time the only way to control the fungus was to grub up all the currant and gooseberry bushes growing amid the pines. It was backbreaking work that yielded only moderate success. Still, this was Wessela's first experience in forest disease control work, and he liked it. That same year he was sent to southern Oregon to organize a control program there.
Wessela later worked for the Roosevelt-era Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, and then, when the war came, served in Europe with the Army. He joined the Forest Service in 1954 and work on control programs for several tree diseases, including oak wilt, a significant problem in the eastern United States, and dwarf mistletoe and root rots in the West.
He is encouraged at the progress thus far in producing disease-resistant trees through conventional breeding methods. "But there are some diseases for which we have no control at all," he says. "Dr. Strauss's work could prove to be very important."
Donors Upgrade CoF Computer Labs
Gifts from two donors have made significant improvements in the computing capabilities available to College of Forestry students.
A gift of $25,000 from Blount Inc., Oregon Cutting Systems Division, was used to upgrade to computer lab used by the professionals who attend College of Forestry Continuing Education workshops. Six new computers of the 386 and 486 type were purchased, along with a digitalizing tablet, a color printer, and an assortment of word-processing, graphics, and GIS (geographic information systems) software.
"You couldn't ask for any better machines to hold workshops with," says Arlene Hester, Forest Resources research assistant and the College's computer lab coordinator. Forestry students, she says, may use the computers when they're not needed for continuing education.
Oregon Cutting Systems, head-quartered in Portland, is the world's largest manufacturer of cutting chains for chain saws and concrete cutters, as well as accessories such as bars and sprockets. The $25,000 gift is the largest the division has ever donated to any one recipient, according to Vickie Hibberd, who works in marketing for the division and sits on its five-member charitable giving committee. "We like to direct our higher-education donations to the colleges we hire," says Hibberd. "Especially with today's climate in forest products, we though this gift was a good investment."
The second benefactor is the Gibbet Hill Foundation, which gave $20,000 to the college's Forest Resources Department. The gift is the latest of the Foundations annual donations over the past 12 years, bringing its total to over $150,000. The funds have made possible the purchase of computers for graduate students in the Forest Resources Department, as well as other items to support their work.
This year, the computers-six total, including the latest purchase, a 486-type microcomputer-were gathered into a newly remodeled room at Peavy Hall. The room was dedicated as the Lee Harris Computer Laboratory, in memory of a graduate student who died in 1979. Rick Strachan, a 1978 graduate in forest management and member of the Gibbet Hill Foundation board of directors, was on hand to cut the ribbon. "You do good work here, the kind of work we like to support," Strachan told Dean George Brown at the ceremony.
"This new lab gives us the opportunity to have our computer equipment consolidated in one convenient place," says Jack Walstad, Forest Resources department head. The lab's remodeling was covered by university funds.
Half the annual donation from the Gibbet Hill Foundation goes into an endowment fund. The other half is used to buy computers and equipment, to make professional journals available to graduate students, and to cover other, similar student expenses.
He's a Golden Rule Giver
When Ernest Hardman enrolled at the School of Forestry, back in 1950, he financed his education with his GI Bill benefits. Like many students then, Hardman was older than average, a World War II veteran.
He had a wife and two children, and money was tight. When he received a $1,000 scholarship in his senior year, it eased his financial burden considerably: "It was much needed at the time," says Hardman, who graduated with a degree in forest management in 1954.
He's now retired from the Forest Service after a long and fruitful career. But he hasn't forgotten the helping hand he got when he was a student. Hardman recently wrote a check for $1,000 to the Legacy Scholarship Fund-money that will extend to another student the same helping hand.
The Legacy Fund is designed to give people like Ernest Hardman-former students whose education was enhanced by scholarships-an opportunity to help the next generation. Created in 1992, the Fund is now at $9,000 and growing. Two students have received the first scholarships from it this fall.
"We're going through tough times for education," says Forestry Dean George Brown. "I know this fund will be a godsend for some of our students."
Ernest puts it simply: "I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship when I was there. I thought I should return the favor."