The Celia Strickland Austin and G. Kenneth Austin III
Professorship in Public Health and Human Sciences

Celia and Ken AustinIn 2013 Celia Strickland Austin and G. Kenneth Austin III made a generous gift commitment to establish an endowed professorship in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. They had previously created a research endowment to support the collaborative work of faculty investigating the prevention and management of cancer, particularly breast cancer. The two funds were combined into one professorship to further advance research on the prevention of chronic disease.

A 1976 Oregon State graduate in home economics communications, Celia is a mother, businesswoman, philanthropist, volunteer, and breast-cancer survivor who is interested in research exploring the correlation between diet and breast cancer, how breast cancer metastasizes to bone, how exercise programs help cancer survivors reduce fractures and frailty, and the environmental factors that increase cancer risk. The Austins hope OSU scientists can help others avoid what Celia went through. "It makes much more sense to prevent cancer than to have to treat it," she says.

At Rain Dance Ranch in Newberg the Austins breed and raise award-winning llamas for breeding stock, show, pack animals, and pets. Ken earned his business administration degree from OSU in 1976 and has been active with A-dec, the business founded by his parents which is one of the largest dental equipment manufacturers in the world. Through Ken Austin Woodworking he designs and handcrafts unique furniture and other wooden items, many of which are featured at the family's Allison Inn and Spa.

The Austins have served in various leadership roles on campus, including the College of Veterinary Medicine Dean's Advisory Council (Ken) and the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees (Celia). They have made many other generous gifts to the university, including creating an endowed scholarship for veterinary medicine students with special interest in camelids. In 2012 Celia Austin was named an Alumni Fellow by the OSU Alumni Association.

Norman Hord

Norman HordNorm Hord, an OSU faculty member since 2012, is the first Celia Strickland Austin and G. Kenneth Austin III Professor in Public Health and Human Sciences. His research analyzes how diet is connected to cardiovascular function and to cancer. For example, one of his projects focuses on the ability of certain plant foods, called nitrates and nitrites, to influence such things as metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

Ultimately, he says, "we hope to provide clinicians and physicians a list of specific foods that, if consistently consumed, can maintain normal blood pressure to decrease risk of stroke and chronic kidney disease." Less than 50 percent of the U.S. population has normal blood pressure, he notes. "Dietary approaches to lower blood pressure are cheaper and just as effective in those with mild hypertension as pharmacologic approaches."

Hord has a master's degree and doctorate in nutrition from Purdue University and a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University. He taught at Michigan State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in foods and nutrition, for 14 years before relocating to OSU.


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