Patrick Stone, ’74, was just back from two tours of duty in Vietnam when he attended a lecture by OSU history professor William Appleman Williams in southern Oregon. Stone was so moved by the talk, he enrolled at Oregon State, where he credits the College of Liberal Arts with giving him a “sense of perspective” and an “intellectual confidence,” both of which have served the successful businessman, art collector and voracious reader well.
“Listening to Appleman Williams’ talk put my experiences in Vietnam into perspective and helped me understand how a nation like the United States uses and misuses its power, and that it’s not your fault,” said Stone, who was struggling to reenter society following the war. At OSU, he found mentors, inspiration and direction from professors Appleman Williams, Mark Sponenburgh (art), Richard Ross (anthropology), Paul Farber (history) and Stone’s roommate, fellow Vietnam vet and lifelong friend, Mike Collins, ’79.
Stone has had a successful 35-year career in the real estate industry. He is the retired CEO of Fidelity National Information Solutions and retired president and chief operating officer of Fidelity National Financial. Stone is currently president and CEO of Williston Financial Group based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and chairman of the board of The Stone Group, a commercial real estate brokerage, consulting and investment firm based in Austin, Texas. Stone, chair-elect of the OSU Foundation Board of Trustees, has served as a trustee since 2004 and also co-chairs The Campaign for OSU.
Stone and his wife, Vicki, are now giving back to the College of Liberal Arts, choosing to endow what will be one of the top literary prizes in the nation for lifetime achievement and shine a bright spotlight on the university’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing. The program has a growing reputation for its emphasis on mentoring students, building community and reaching out to underserved populations-including at-risk youth and military veterans.
“When Vicki and I asked ourselves what we could do to draw attention to the College of Liberal Arts so it becomes a leading topic of conversation when you mention Oregon State, highlighting the Creative Writing Program made good sense because it’s such a gem,” said Stone. “The enthusiasm and commitment of the faculty to their students is infectious, but the program is such a secret, we wanted to draw more national attention to it by way of this prize.”