OSU names AVP of economic development and industry relations

Rebecca Robinson will lead the economic development and industry relations office at OSU and serve as senior advisor for strategic initiatives at OSU-Cascades.
Feb. 1, 2024

Rebecca Robinson has been appointed associate vice president for the newly formed economic development and industry relations office at Oregon State University and also will serve as senior advisor for strategic initiatives at OSU-Cascades. She will start on April 15.
Robinson comes to OSU from Kansas State University where she most recently served as president and CEO of K-State Innovation Partners, overseeing Kansas State’s innovation ecosystem, including economic development, corporate engagement, technology commercialization and strategic initiatives. 
“I am very excited to join Oregon State University and to partner with faculty, university leadership and the business community,” said Robinson. “OSU has an exciting vision for the economic development and industry relations office, including the innovation district at OSU-Cascades. I am delighted to be part of realizing that vision.”
Robinson will join OSU’s Division of Research and Innovation, which was created to support the implementation of OSU’s new strategic plan. The office will foster and advance industry-university partnerships and agency relationships that contribute to economic growth in the state, including workforce development.
The future innovation district at OSU-Cascades is a signature feature of the Bend campus’s long-range development plan and a priority for the economic development and industry relations office. The 24-acre district will connect companies to OSU-Cascades’ researchers and faculty, student interns and graduates. Land remediation is now underway for the first eight-acre phase of the district, which is expected to be built out over the next decade.
“I am delighted to welcome Rebecca to OSU, where she joins a talented team of researchers, industry leaders and community advocates who are translating research breakthroughs in fields such as semiconductors, food and beverage, and mass timber into sustainable solutions for Oregon and the world,” said OSU President Jayathi Murthy. “Fueling economic progress and developing the workforce of the future are core to our mission as Oregon’s statewide university.”
During her 15-year tenure at Kansas State, Robinson also served as director of economic development and chief corporate engagement and economic development officer. She oversaw the creation and launch of K-State 105, a statewide initiative that leveraged university and partner resources to support community development, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Her efforts, in partnership with the university and surrounding community, resulted in the recruitment of 27 technology-based companies to the Manhattan, Kansas region, creating over 1,100 new high-wage jobs. 
Robinson earned an MBA from Kansas State and is a doctorate candidate in leadership communication, also at Kansas State.
She will be based in Bend and will spend time in Corvallis, Portland and Salem as her role evolves. 
 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.
About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.


Update: change in headline