Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Four WSU Alumni Join Ranks of Those Honored by CAHNRS

PULLMAN, Wash. – A renowned food technologist, the research leader for women’s cardiovascular health in Canada, a former Washington state representative and the first Cougar to serve as chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service are the latest inductees into the Washington State University College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences Hall of Honored Alumni.

Pamela Vaillancourt, Sandra Davidge, the late Otto Amen and Thomas L. Tidwell will be honored at a ceremony beginning at 9 a.m., Saturday, in Room 409 of Hulbert Hall. They join nearly 60 CAHNRS alumni and friends previously honored by the college.

“The one thing that all of these extraordinary individuals have in common is their Washington State University education, “ said CAHNRS Dean Dan Bernardo. “It is an honor and a privilege to recognize their achievements.”

Pamela Vaillancourt completed a master’s degree in food science at WSU in 1979. “She has been a leader in our professional community at the national and regional level for over 30 years,” said food science Professor Barbara Rasco in her nomination letter, “and has received the highest recognition that our professional organization can convey as a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists.”

Vaillancourt currently serves as vice president for business development and sales for Tate & Lyle, one of the largest providers of food and beverage products in the world. Throughout her career, she has been a strong supporter of students in food science, working to raise scholarship funds, guest lecturing, and serving as one of three judges for the International Food Technologists Student Association National College Bowl. Vaillancourt will receive CAHNRS’ Women’s Leadership Award for Community Leadership and Public Service.

Sandra Davidge received her master’s degree from the Department of Animal Sciences and used her WSU experience as a springboard into women’s biology research. She currently serves as the Canada Research Chair in Women’s Cardiovascular Health and as director of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta.

“The importance of Dr. Davidge’s work is reflected by the support obtained by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Alberta heritage Foundation for Medical Research,” said animal science Professor Mike Dodson in his nomination letter. “Her work is extremely important to all women.”

Davidge will receive CAHNRS Women’s Leadership Award for Professional and Academic Leadership.

The late Otto Amen graduated from then-Washington State College in 1937 with his degree in pharmacy. After graduation, he worked as a pharmacist until assuming management of his parents’ farm halfway between Ritzville and Odessa. He and his wife, Doris, farmed for most of their lives. Mr. Amen became active in a variety of farm-related organizations, including the Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington Wheat Commission. He also served as state coordinator of the Food for Peace Program and relished an international trip to demonstrate the uses of wheat for peoples in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Japan, Ceylon and other countries.

Amen represented citizens from farming communities in eastern Washington for 16 years as a state representative in the Washington State Legislature. There, he served on the agriculture Committee, chaired the Budget Committee, and was Speaker Pro Tem for four years. He is a recipient of the WSU Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the WSU Alumni Association. Family members of Mr. Amen, who died April 29, 2011, will represent him at Saturday’s ceremony.

Tom Tidwell earned his bachelor’s degree in forest and range management from WSU in 1976 and spent the next 32 years in a number of positions with the Forest Service. He began his career as a firefighter in the Boise National Forest and went on to hold field positions in Idaho, Nevada, California and Utah, where he served as forest supervisor during the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has been credited with increasing regional effectiveness, protecting wild lands and roadless areas, and building consensus among opposing factions.

In June 2009, Tidwell became the 17th chief of the Forest Service. As such, he oversees an agency that has a budget of $5.5 billion and more than 34,000 employees in the management of 193 million acres of forest and rangeland. He reports to the under secretary for natural resources and environment, an appointee of the president of the United States.

Earlier this year, Tidwell also received the WSU Alumni Achievement Award.