Home is where the research is

“The most important work that you and I will ever do is within the walls of our homes.”

Carmen Ford Phillips

Doors open to new center, new era for college

Amid falling yellow leaves spiraling in the September sun, and with a backdrop of colorful children’s drawings depicting their impressions of home, the doors opened not only on a new era for the college, but also a new home – the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families.

With more than 150 friends and campus representatives gathered to celebrate its grand opening, new Endowed Director Rick Settersten began the celebration by sharing a personal story with guests that extends to his work with the new center. “When I became a father, someone told me, ‘The most important work that you and I will ever do is within the walls of our homes.’”

Settersten’s work, along with that of numerous researchers across the college and university, all dedicated to improving the well-being of children and families, now will take place in this new home, the Hallie Ford Center, made possible by an $8 million gift of late Oregon philanthropist Hallie Ford.

“Home,” said Settersten. “It’s the great gift that the Fords and other major donor have provided us – a place for great intellectual work and collaboration; a place for focused, strategic work; a place for spontaneous interaction; and above all, a place to inspire.”

Ford Family

In addition to Settersten, Ford’s children, Allyn Ford and Carmen Ford Phillips ’59, ’63; OSU Foundation Trustee and donor Cindy Campbell ’77; state Rep. Sara Gelser ’99; OSU President Ed Ray; and CPHHS Dean Tammy Bray addressed the crowd and placed items in a time capsule that will be held inside the building and opened in 100 years.

“We’re asking some tough questions but seeking real answers that will make a difference in the everyday lives of those in our community, out state and our nation,” Settersten said.

“For me, homes are full of stories, shared stories of who we are what we’re becoming. That’s true in this home, too. Mark this moment, because this is the moment at which so many of the stories we’ll tell in the future will start,” he said. “You know that children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers. If that’s true, this is our growing up.”

It’s not what you have, but what you give to your family, your community and your country.
— Hallie E. Ford, 1905–2007

The tough questions the center will address using its holistic, collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, revolves around four research cores devoted to Healthy Development in Early Childhood, Healthy Development for Youth and Young Adults, Parenting and Family Life, and Healthy Lifestyles and Obesity Prevention in Children and Families.

The spirit of collaboration also is evident in the design of the building itself, which features a three-story atrium and is reflective of a home with its center doorway, large windows, simple roof line, trees, gardens and benches. The ground floor includes a welcoming common area, a family-style living area, conference room and kitchen. Offices for researchers are located on the second floor, along with project rooms for conducting research. The third floor features project and conference rooms. A key feature of the new building is a series of three large murals created by Ron Mills de Pinyas, a professor of art at Linfield College.

Already home to a handful of large federally funded research projects, the center soon will be a “booming, buzzing place for grant-writing and publishing workshops, writing groups, colloquia and public events related to research, policy and practice,” Settersten said. “We have a real passion for families and children of all types – little kids, big kids and the young at heart.

“And we have big plans.”

Already, the center is receiving accolades. A tribute poem to Hallie Ford, which hangs in the center, recently won a bronze award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). In addition, the center won Best Institutional Project at the 2012 Western Wood Design Awards.

2 replies on “Home is where the research is”

Grandparents are definitely a part of families and of the murals. Due to the style of Ron’s work it is easier to distinguish between adults and children than it is to do so between lifespan variation among adults.

Ron did keep a wonderful artists-log of his process during the creation of the pieces. The log can be found at and includes photos and commentary about content.

Thanks for the question and your interest Judith!

Comments are closed.