OSU-Cascades to honor Bill and Trish Smith with special recognition at commencement

Central Oregon community leaders Bill and Trish were named the recipients of the 2023 OSU-Cascades Distinguished Service Award.
June 8, 2023

Oregon State University - Cascades will honor Bend area business and community leaders Bill and Trish Smith during its 22nd annual commencement ceremony on June 18, for their decades-long community leadership in Central Oregon.

Trish Smith will accept the Distinguished Service Award on behalf of herself and her husband, who died on Nov. 18, 2022. The annual award honors individuals, businesses or organizations who have made exceptional contributions to OSU-Cascades, Central Oregon, Oregon or the world.

“Trish and Bill Smith’s community leadership has enhanced the quality of life of all Central Oregonians,” said Sherm Bloomer, chancellor and dean of OSU-Cascades. “They have left an indelible mark, increasing the diversity of our economy and opportunities for education and cultural enrichment, as well as our appreciation for protecting the natural environment.”

The commencement ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on the Oval Green at the OSU-Cascades campus.

Originally from Denver, Bill Smith arrived in Bend in 1968 as an executive with Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Co. He is credited with leading the vision to transform Bend in response to the lumber industry’s decline in the 1970s. As CEO of William Smith Properties, Inc., he developed the Old Mill District, a shopping and recreation area with an amphitheater, located along the Deschutes River on the former Brooks-Scanlon timber mill property.

Trish Smith, a co-owner of William Smith Properties, spent the early years of her career as an elementary school teacher before embarking on five decades of volunteer service to state and community organizations.

She has served as vice chair of both the Oregon Public Broadcasting and Oregon Health and Sciences University boards, and on the boards of the Gonzaga University, Oregon Community Foundation, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Portland Art Museum.

She has also supported efforts underway by local organizations including Central Oregon Community College and the Tower Theatre, Cascade Festival of Music and High Desert Museum, as well as OSU-Cascades.

The Smiths were members of the Committee of 100, a group of Central Oregon community leaders who advocated over 30 years to establish a four-year university campus to serve the region. They continued to champion development of OSU-Cascades after the campus was established in 2016.

About OSU-Cascades:  Oregon State University’s campus in Bend brings higher education to Central Oregon, the fastest growing region in the state. Surrounded by mountains, forest and high desert, OSU-Cascades is a highly innovative campus of a top-tier land grant research university, offering small classes that accelerate faculty-student mentoring and experiential learning. Degree programs meet industry and economic needs in areas such as innovation and entrepreneurship, natural ecosystems, health and wellness, and arts and sciences, and prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges. OSU-Cascades is expanding to serve 3,000 to 5,000 students, building a 128-acre campus with net-zero goals.