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Vintage black and white picture of Warren Washington holding film in office

2014 Alumni Awards

Warren M. Washington looking at microfilm showing simulation results in 1973

Making us proud

We look to our alumni, the ambassadors of the College of Science, to help build a strong reputation of excellence. Your successes are our successes. You are vital to the future of our students, the College and the University.

We value your input and engagement, whether it is coming back to campus to talk to students, visiting with former professors or advisors at a conference, informing us of your accomplishments or sharing your views and ideas with us.

We would like to connect the College of Science to your present-day life. Let us know how we can support your lifelong learning, make connections in your field, further your scientific interests or offer opportunities for you to share your knowledge with the next generation of scientists.

The College of Science is proud to honor three distinguished alumni with 2014 Alumni Awards: atmospheric scientist Warren M. Washington (Physics, ‘58, ‘60) for the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; retired local dentist Ken Johnson for the Distinguished Service Award and James Abbott (Physics and Engineering, ’97; Chemistry, '02, ’07) for the Young Alumni Award.

The College created these achievement and service awards to publicly recognize alumni or friends of the College for distinguished personal and career accomplishments and for exemplary contributions to society that bring credit to the College as well as to Oregon State University. This is the first year the College has bestowed awards honoring service and young alumni.

“We are humbled by the outstanding career achievements, professional impact and unselfish service of these alumni and friends who exemplify the values and mission of the College,” said College of Science Dean Sastry G. Pantula. “It is important to publicly recognize these individuals’ achievements and service to advancing science, the College or society."

"They serve as inspirational role models for us all. Ultimately, our success is determined by the success of our alumni.”

The awards ceremony celebrates the College's outstanding alumni and friends through their remarkable stories.

Warren, Ken, and James
Warren M. Washington (Physics ‘58; Meteorology ‘60)

College of Science Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Warren Washington received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes alumni whose exceptional achievements in business, education, public service or research have brought honor, distinction, and visibility to the College of Science at Oregon State University.

Washington is a senior atmospheric scientist and former head of the Climate Change Research Section and director of the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. His expertise is in atmospheric and climate research.

For nearly 50 years, Washington has engaged in research and provided advice, testimony and lectures on global climate change. He has served on the President’s National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere and had presidential appointments under the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush administrations. Recently, he served on the National Science Board as a member and as its chair.

He and members of his group at NCAR shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as significant contributors to the Inter-governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment.

Washington has an extensive record of service to professional organizations, including being a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Meteorological Society (former president), the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He is the principal investigator for the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the U. S. Department of Energy cooperative agreement that carried out climate research. In 2010, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama, the nation’s highest science award.

Washington earned a BS in physics and an MS in meteorology from Oregon State and a PhD in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University. In addition, he has received honorary degrees from OSU, Bates College and University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

An OSU Alumni Fellow, Washington served as the 2006 commencement speaker and received the OSU Alumni Association’s E. B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996.

Ken Johnson, Friend of the College of Science

College of Science Distinguished Service Award

Dr. Ken Johnson received the College’s Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes the distinguished service of alumni or friends of the College of Science.

During his 42-year career as a dentist in Corvallis, Johnson directed his passion for service and dentistry into creating opportunities for pre-dental students at OSU. He has mentored more than 2,000 science students throughout the years, providing them with internships and pre-dental classes in his office. He enjoys imparting his knowledge and guidance to better prepare students for a career in dentistry while gaining hands-on experience and training.

More than 45 years ago, Johnson created the pre-dental club at OSU to help aspiring dental students decide if dentistry was the right profession for them. His motivation is to educate students about a career in dentistry early enough in their academic life so they don’t waste time, effort, and money. Johnson estimates that nearly every student who has participated in an internship in the last seven years has been accepted into dental school.

After retiring in 2007, Johnson established a program at the Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis to provide free dental care to low-income youth and their families. He has also delivered much-needed dental services around the globe, treating children in more than 40 countries, including the Marshall Islands, St. Vincent and Grenadines in the West Indies among other developing nations.

Johnson also established a pre-dental scholarship in the College of Science in 1994. The Kenneth R. Johnson Pre-Dental Society Scholarship is awarded to deserving students working toward dental school who participate in the Pre-Dental Society. To continue his legacy of generosity in perpetuity, Johnson has named OSU as a recipient of his estate, to support future generations of dentists.

James Abbott (Physics and Engineering ’97; Chemistry '02, ’07)

College of Science Young Alumni Award

Three-time alumnus Dr. James Abbott received the Young Alumni Award this year from the College. The award recognizes recent alumni who have made exceptional achievements in career, public service and/or volunteer activities.

For the past seven years, Abbott has worked as an engineer/senior scientist at Hewlett-Packard (HP), where he is currently responsible for project planning and capability roadmapping for PVD, PECVD, and ALD platforms as well as for mentoring new engineers. Previously he was responsible for HP’s workcenter sustaining and material deposition development and has five patents filed to date. Abbott has managed production tooling, production processes, and R&D process development and reduced annual costs by more than $300,000 per year.

In terms of leadership experience, Abbott has extensive experience leading teams of people from diverse backgrounds as an engineer, naval officer and researcher. For example, he has led R&D engineering teams to develop thin film materials solutions to enable high reliability printing.

Abbott has also served as Director of the Academic Advisors for Excellence Program at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command, where he trained enlisted students in time management and study skills.

Abbott earned his PhD in physical chemistry, his master's in chemistry and two bachelor’s degrees in physics and in engineering physics with a mechanical engineering emphasis.

Read more stories about: alumni and friends, chemistry, physics