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Keith McKennon left a permanent mark on Oregon State University and the OSU Foundation, leaders said following the passing of the Phoenix resident on September 14. A Lifetime Trustee, Mr. McKennon was 79.
A retired executive with Dow Chemical Company, Dow Corning Corporation, and PacifiCorp, Mr. McKennon served in volunteer leadership roles at his alma mater for many years, including stints as both president and chair of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees in the late ’90s. He and his wife, Pat, were one of three couples who chaired the $47 million expansion and renovation of the Valley Library.
“He brought to these tasks a new level of professionalism that really launched OSU into another realm of fundraising altogether,” said Mike Goodwin, president and CEO. “It was the success of the Valley Library fundraising effort that sparked dreams of launching a comprehensive capital campaign for the university. Keith helped put the infrastructure in place that is making The Campaign for OSU such a success today.”
Among other volunteer leadership roles, Mr. McKennon also served on the College of Science Board of Visitors.
Members of the OSU Harris Society, the McKennons generously supported the library expansion and the College of Science. Some of their most recent gifts to OSU completed the funding for an endowed chemistry professorship and helped meet the fundraising challenge for the construction of the Linus Pauling Science Center.
After graduating from Oregon State in 1955, Mr. McKennon joined Dow as a chemist. His career with Dow spanned 39 years, including roles as president of Dow USA, executive vice president for technology for Dow Chemical Company, and chairman and chief executive officer of Dow Corning Corporation. He then became board chairman and CEO of PacifiCorp, and was vice-chairman of Scottish Power following its acquisition of PacifiCorp.
Named a College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Fellow in 1983, Mr. McKennon was honored with the Chemical Industry Society’s Gold Medal in 1992. He received the E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003 and the OSU Foundation’s Lifetime Trustee Award in 2009.
“We will remember Keith as a warm, caring individual who always had a twinkle in his eye and the best interests of the university and the foundation at heart,” Goodwin said.