Gene D. Knudson Forestry Chair

Gene KnudsenThe Gene D. Knudson Forestry Chair was funded in December 2007 by a $1.5 million gift from the estate of Gene D. Knudson, '39, a highly respected executive who helped build Willamette Industries into a national forestry products leader.

Knudson, who died in April 1998, became president of Willamette Industries in 1970 and was board chairman from 1976 until his retirement in 1984. Under his leadership, the company's sales grew from $173 million to $1 billion. By the time Knudson stepped down as president in 1981, Willamette Industries was the nation's fifth-largest plywood maker.

An OSU honors graduate in technical forestry, Knudson was president of the OSU Foundation from 1981-83. He also served on the steering committee of the FourSight! Campaign, a major university effort to raise funds for four areas including funds for materials science research programs. Among other involvements, he served on the Oregon State Board of Forestry and on the board of directors for the Western Forestry Center, now the World Forestry Center.

Knudson received OSU's Distinguished Service Award in 1985. In nominating him for this award, Carl Stoltenberg, then dean of the College of Forestry, said, "Mr. Knudson has made generous and significant contributions through his behind-the-scenes sharing of managerial skills with public and non-profit organizations. And although not as widely recognized, his quiet, generous sharing of personal resources has inspired many others to give similarly.... To every organization he has served, Gene Knudson brought leadership, respect, integrity, performance, and commitment."

Knudson's gifts supported several university programs including the Valley Library renovation and the OSU Research Council. The Knudson Chair was established to recognize and reward outstanding teaching, advising, and mentoring of undergraduate students, and visible leadership of undergraduate education.

Mark Needham

Mark NeedhamIn 2012, Mark Needham was named the holder of the Gene D. Knudson Chair in Forestry. An associate professor in the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Needham is Director of OSU's Natural Resources, Tourism, and Recreation (NATURE) Studies Lab. He is also an adjunct associate professor in OSU's College of Earth, Oceanic, and Atmospheric Sciences, and the University of Hawaii's Department of Geography.

Needham is an associate editor of the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife, and he studies human dimensions of natural resources as applied to forests, wildlife, marine areas, and recreation and tourism settings. His work specifically focuses on issues such as crowding, satisfaction, value orientations, attitudes, conflict, risk, and trust. He also has expertise in survey research methodologies and advanced statistical analysis.

Since arriving at OSU in 2006, Needham has published dozens of refereed articles in leading journals, written several book chapters, and presented over 100 papers at local, national, and international conferences. He currently teaches four large forestry courses per year to over 200 students annually, integrates innovative teaching approaches in the classroom, fosters undergraduate and minority student involvement in academic research and publishing, and is active in curriculum development and design for several programs (e.g., Forest Management, Recreation Resource Management).

Needham received the College of Forestry Dean's Award for Outstanding Teaching and Advising Professor for 2009, and the Dean's Award for Outstanding Research Professor for 2007. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Victoria in Canada, and his doctorate at Colorado State University.


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