CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University has gotten a major boost to help give students access to basic needs.
Alumnus Thomas Toomey has committed $1 million to establish the university's first endowment fund devoted to addressing student food insecurity and emergency housing.
Kevin Dougherty, associate vice provost and dean of students, said the endowment comes as they have been working to address the issues and it will help fund programs at the Human Services Resource Center.
"We are wanting to make sure that our students are going to be successful while they are here, and one of those ways is to hopefully release the worry or the concerns or the stress regarding food insecurity as well as housing insecurity," Dougherty said.
At the Human Services Resource Center, qualified students can stock up at a food pantry and get access to emergency housing, text books and more. In 2019, more than 2,400 households were served by the pantry, university officials said.
OSU junior Caleb Wilson said he works three part-time jobs and relies on the food pantry.
"It's a little sad to know that there are so many people that need this, but it's fantastic to know that there are people out there that will help us out," Wilson said.
Toomey is a 1982 graduate and is chairman and CEO of UDR Inc. He hopes his gift inspires others to take action.