OSU Loyal Philanthropic Partner Award



Ed Ray

Congratulations to OSU President Emeritus Ed Ray!

2023-24 Honoree

Throughout Ed Ray’s 17-year tenure as president – and the years since – he has been an extraordinary philanthropic leader. A member of the Harris Society, which honors donors who have passed the million-dollar mark in giving, Ed has created multiple endowed scholarships and other funds benefiting students, particularly in the performing arts as well as the economics department, where he is on the faculty.

He is especially well known for making challenge gifts that inspire other donors. For example, in addition to making a gift to name the black box theater at the Patricia Valian Reser Center for the Creative Arts, Ed championed the effort to create an endowment that will sustain the center, known as PRAx, in perpetuity. His challenge inspired 200 donors to “name a seat” in the Detrick Concert Hall, thereby creating a $500,000 endowment to support PRAx now and into the future.

Ed also has responded generously to other donors’ challenges. On the university’s 2021 giving day, Dam Proud Day, three alumni agreed to give $100,000 to endow the Dean of Students’ Emergency Fund if other donors provided $25,000 for immediate use. Ed made the gift that crossed this milestone, fueling the day’s excitement and momentum. On Dam Proud Day 2022, Ed responded to another donor’s $25,000 Student Financial Hardship challenge with his own gift of $25,000, inspiring donors who made 230+ additional gifts to this fund. 

Winners of the OSU Loyal Philanthropic Award receive $5,000 to designate to the fund/s of their choice at the OSU Foundation; Ed selected the Basic Needs Center Fund, which also supports the food pantry at OSU-Cascades. When accepting the award at the fall 2023 reception for faculty and staff donors, Ed said, “The source of my passion for philanthropy is no different than the passion that I know each of you have for teaching, learning, creative work, research and the absolute abiding understanding that our graduates are the most important contribution that we make to the future.”
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Past Award Recipients

Karen Swanger, 2022-23

As the director of KidSpirit, Karen Swanger leads by example, embracing the philanthropic opportunities available to grow her program’s impact thoughtfully, both for now and the future. She embodies her strong conviction to inspire youth and staff to exemplify integrity, empathy, perseverance, and optimism. 

Karen is a steadfast donor and fundraiser, partnering in efforts to create at-once funding for the programs she serves. On top of that, while most units have utilized the OSU Foundation’s annual Dam Proud Day to raise funds for immediate use, Karen has taken a long view by focusing on growing an endowment to make KidSpirit more accessible to youth of all backgrounds, in perpetuity. She also has engaged with the Women’s Giving Circle – successfully applying for grants that helped KidSpirit launch the “Girls on the Run” program and created a “Positive Youth Development Coaching Certificate” for students interested in becoming youth coaches. 


Ilene Kleinsorge, 2021-22

Ilene Kleinsorge, dean emerita of the College of Business, was the inaugural recipient of the OSU Foundation’s OSU Loyal Philanthropic Partner Award. Throughout her career and beyond, Ilene has been an invaluable collaborator and constant champion for OSU, our students, and programs. She generously supports business students, the arts and other critical initiatives, and in retirement, she is an active volunteer leader in many local organizations.

“No one finds success without the help of others,” she said when she received the award. “I am motivated to give back where I have received benefit or where I think I can actually change lives… My community provides me a safe place to live, to learn, to play. Therefore, I’m motivated to give back.”