The Kearney Professorship of Engineering

Connie and Lee KearneyTwo of the university's most active volunteers and generous philanthropists, Lee and Connie Kearney of Vancouver, Wash., both started their careers at OSU.

Lee Kearney earned his degree in civil engineering from OSU in 1963. He worked for 32 years for Peter Kiewit Sons' Inc., one of the largest construction and mining organizations in North America, holding several executive positions and serving on the Board of Directors. He was inducted into the OSU College of Engineering Hall of Fame in 2001.

Connie Kearney started her studies at OSU in 1961 on her way to an undergraduate degree from University of Washington and a law degree from Creighton University in Omaha, where she also later taught. She was the first female commissioner for Clark County, Wash., serving in this role from 1976 to 1980.

Lee and Connie served as co-chairs of the College of Engineering's Top-25 Campaign. Their other volunteer roles have included service on the college’s advisory board (Lee), OSU Foundation Campaign Steering Committee (Lee), and OSU Foundation Board of Trustees (Connie). They received the E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award from the OSU Alumni Association in 2008. Kearney Hall was renamed in their honor after the couple gave $4 million to transform the 100+-year-old Apperson Hall into a modern home for the university’s civil and construction engineering program.

In 2010 the Kearneys committed $2.5 million to create two faculty position endowments in OSU's School of Civil and Construction Engineering.


Scott Ashford

Scott AshfordIn 2012 Scott Ashford was named the inaugural Kearney Professor of Engineering, a 10-year appointment. A professor and head of OSU's School of Civil and Construction Engineering, he was named dean of the College of Engineering in 2014, having previously served as interim dean in 2011-12.

After graduating from Oregon State with a degree in civil engineering, Ashford worked in private industry for seven years—mostly with CH2M HILL—and then earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He started his academic career at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand and subsequently moved to the University of California, San Diego. He was named to the College of Engineering's Council of Outstanding Early Career Engineers in 1998 and joined Oregon State's engineering faculty in 2007.

Ashford's research focuses on enhancing public safety and reducing potential economic loss worldwide from earthquake and coastal hazards through cross-disciplinary research. His latest efforts are targeted at improving the resilience of the lifeline systems in the Pacific Northwest to better withstand attack from the Cascadia Subduction Zone.


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