WSU Receives $3M To Bolster Food Security

Washington State University announced Wednesday a $3 million gift establishing a faculty position to focus on bolstering food security. The funds from the Rosalie & Harold Rea Brown Foundation will be used to create an Endowed Chair in Plant Pathology. The gift will be used to conduct focused on reducing losses caused by plant diseases and thereby improving food security.

“The investment from the Rosalie & Harold Rea Brown Foundation to support plant pathology faculty and research at WSU is truly transformational for the program, for WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, and for Washington State University,” said Lisa Calvert, vice president of Advancement and CEO of the WSU Foundation. “Philanthropic investments in WSU fuel innovation and discovery that improves lives, communities, and industries throughout the state, region, and world.”

Tim Murray, professor, WSU Extension plant pathologist, and chair of the Department of Plant Pathology, is the recipient of the new endowment.

“Tim is an excellent scientist and professor,” said André Wright, WSU College of Ag dean. “He’s the best choice to be the first to hold this chair. His research is already helping to improve food security, and the additional resources from this endowment will continue that for years to come.”

Murray is also the grandson of Rosalie Marie and Harold Rea Brown.

“This donation means so much to the department and me personally,” Murray said. “It will help with the work I do on food security issues and it will help future scientists in the department to conduct translational research. It is also personally rewarding, knowing that my grandparents’ names will be associated with WSU research that is helping feed the world.”

The foundation and this endowed chair are funded by businessman Harold Brown, but are named for his parents, Murray’s grandparents. Rosalie Brown was a native of Belgium and emigrated to the U.S. when less than a year old. Harold Rea Brown was a native Washingtonian, born in Seattle to a family who homesteaded in the Wenatchee area.

“On behalf of the entire WSU community, I thank Harold Brown and the Rosalie & Harold Rea Brown Foundation for the remarkable investment this gift represents in leading faculty, research and teaching in CAHNRS,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “Philanthropic support through endowed professorships and chairs amplify the depth, quality, and impact of innovative research and teaching university-wide as WSU continues its drive to be among the top 25 public research universities in the nation.”

Murray’s research focuses on wheat diseases, pathogen resistance, and sustainable methods of disease management. Murray has published over 100 scientific papers, nearly 300 technical and popular press articles, abstracts, and book chapters, and is author and editor of four books.

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