Celia Austin returned to campus for Homecoming festivities and found herself supported and surrounded by students and faculty who were eager to share their stories and to hear her passion for cancer research and the many ways she uses her education in her successful career and home life.
A 1976 graduate, Celia is a mother, businesswoman, philanthropist, volunteer and breast-cancer survivor who is interested in research exploring the correlation between diet and breast cancer, how breast cancer metastasizes to bone, how exercise programs help cancer survivors reduce fractures and frailty, and the environmental factors that increase cancer risk.
She and her husband, Ken, support collaborative research in the prevention and management of cancer because she doesn’t want anyone else to go through what she did. “It makes much more sense to prevent cancer than to have to treat it,” she says.
“Celia represents the best of our past and our future and has been able to use everything she learned in our college toward improving the lives and health of others,” says Dean Tammy Bray.
“I love that she understands the importance of prevention – not just finding a cure,” she adds. “Although finding cures to diseases is important, Celia realizes that preventing them is just as important. And that together, we have the power to do that – through healthy eating, exercise and all the things the College of Public Health and Human Sciences is studying. As Celia says, it’s exciting!”
Someone recently told Celia they thought her degree in home economics was useless. She strongly disagreed. “I don’t think that’s true at all,” she says. “I use the things I learned at Oregon State every day! We all need to do what we can to make this world a better place. What used to be a home ec degree gives people the skills to do that.”
In addition to her philanthropic work, Celia and Ken own and operate Rain Dance Ranch in Newberg. The Austins also are part of A-dec, the family’s dental equipment business, and own Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, a project Celia was deeply involved in during her recovery.