Dr. Edward J. Ray assumed the position of Oregon State University President on July 31, 2003 and stepped down on June 30, 2020 after 17 years as President Emeritus and Professor of Economics in the School of Public Policy. Prior to coming to Oregon State, Ray was executive vice president and Provost of The Ohio State University, where he served for 33 years as a professor of economics, including 16 years as the chair of the economics department.
Under his leadership, Oregon State University completed its first through fourth strategic plan statements, the most recent of which is Strategic Plan 4.0. External funding of research increased from $133 million to over $450 million during his tenure as president. The Ecampus online program expanded from 1,300 to over 13,000. Enrollment in Corvallis increased more than 25 percent and enrollment at OSU Cascades reached 1,400 with an ultimate goal of 3,000 to 5,000 students.
The original strategic plan statement provided the context for the first university-wide fundraising campaign, The Campaign for OSU. The campaign began with a goal of $625 million that was soon raised to $850 million and then $1 billion and actually raised $1.142 billion by the close of the campaign at the end of 2014. More than 28 major construction projects were completed with support from the fundraising campaign, including Kelley Engineering, Kearney Hall, Furman Hall, the Reser Stadium expansion, construction of the four cultural centers, The Linus Pauling Center, Austin Hall, the Learning Innovation Center (Linc), the Beth Ray Center for Academic Support, Furman Hall, The Haile Ford Center and many others. Other major projects in recent years have included expansion of the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, the construction of Peavey Hall, Johnson Hall, the Student Experience Center, the Marine Sciences Building at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the creation of the OSU Cascades Campus in Bend, and the establishment of the Portland Center.
Mindful of OSU’s commitment to the people of Oregon, Dr. Ray has overseen the adoption of dual-enrollment agreements with all 22 of the state’s community colleges, making it easier for students to complete four year degrees. He also took a leadership role in fostering a more seamless P-20 education system in the state, working with area school superintendents, community college leaders and university colleagues to strengthen institutional connections and enhance the student experience. Dr. Ray also helped to usher in a new era of partnership and cooperation among Oregon’s public universities.
Dr. Ray was a member of the economics faculty at The Ohio State University from 1970-2003, serving as economics department chair from 1976-1992. He served as an associate provost from May, 1992 until May, 1993, senior vice provost and chief Information officer from 1993-1998, and executive vice president and provost from 1998-2003, at which time he retired as executive vice president and provost emeritus.
His research interests include the history of protectionism in the United States, The determinants of U.S. foreign direct investment and foreign direct investment in the United States, the structure of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers in the U.S. and abroad and the adoption of the federal income tax and the social security system in the U.S. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Review of Economics and Statistics, The Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Law and Economics and other leading journals. He has co-authored a principles text, and his book U.S. Protectionism and the World Debt Crisis was published by Quorum Press in 1989.
Dr. Ray received his undergraduate degree in mathematics, with minors in economics and theater from Queens College (CUNY) in June, 1966, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his master’s degree in economics from Stanford University in 1969 and his doctorate in economics from Stanford in 1971.
His wife, Beth Ray, who passed away in 2014, earned her law degree from The Ohio State University in 1972 and served as a counselor and assistant dean for academic advising in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences while at Ohio State. Dr. Ray has three children and three grandchildren.