Alumni give thanks for inspirational OHSU faculty

Faculty play a crucial role in the lives of students. Experiences in the classroom permeate the stories and memories of alumni for years to come.

This year, I have had the pleasure of helping to coordinate more than 20 class reunions for the School of Medicine, Nursing and Dentistry. I’ve scanned countless yearbooks, poured over OHSU Historical Collections and edited photos of faculty images converted into life size posters.

Honoring inspirational faculty

School of Dentistry Class of 1983

Our alumni have a great deal of respect and appreciation for the faculty that taught them. So much so that five, 30 and even 50 years later, faculty still receive invitations to attend class reunions! The MD Class of 1983 had a record number of eight faculty members in attendance at their October reunion.

Alumni from all three schools are honoring faculty in other ways. The School of Dentistry Alumni Association presents a Legacy Faculty Award, recognizing a longtime faculty member whose teaching and mentoring has influenced a generation of dental professionals. The Association also has awarded honorary alumni status to many OHSU faculty, designating them part of the alumni family. This year’s honorees were Jeff Stewart, DDS, MS and Denice Stewart, DDS, MHSA.

Gratitude triggers alumni generosity

School of Nursing educator Guhli Olson with an eager class

Well over 60 OHSU endowments have been named after faculty members and those philanthropic efforts are often founded and supported by grateful alumni. A recent endowment, initiated by Jane McEldowney, BSN ’63 and Penney Hoodenpyle, BSN ’63, honored one of the most impactful administrators and teachers of the School of Nursing’s illustrious history, Guhli Olson.

The two classmates partnered with the OHSU Foundation and have raised more than 115 gifts from alumni to establish an endowed scholarship fund in the late administrator’s honor. The team expects to complete their fundraising goal by the end of this calendar year – that of their 50th class reunion – and looks forward to awarding scholarships one year thereafter.

On behalf of the Alumni Associations from the School of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing – thank you, faculty members, for creating such amazing memories with our students; thank you for staying in touch with alumni after they graduate; and thank you for inspiring the next generation of health care professionals!

If you’d like to honor an influential educator in your life, click here to make a tax deductible donation in their name. If you are interested in coordinating your class reunion the Alumni Relations Program can help. Email for your starter packet and a class list.


Lauren Cox is the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations and is the go-to person for class reunions. She and the alumni relations team are proud to count almost 35,000 dentists, nurses, physicians, researchers, technicians and other health professionals as OHSU alumni. The team strives to keep them all connected with the university, with its students and with each other.