History Makers

The Oregon Historical Society’s annual History Makers Dinner recognizes contemporary individuals and organizations that are positively shaping the history, culture, and landscape of Oregon. These living leaders are making history through scientific discovery and exploration, innovation in business, communications, the arts, or service in their communities. Whether they were born here, lived here, or work here, these History Makers represent the best of what the state has to offer.

We are proud to honor our 2021 History Makers at an awards ceremony at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday, October 3, 2021.

Purchase Tickets or Tables

Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available for purchase here. If you cannot attend the event but would like to support our 2021 History Makers, we invite you to make a donation in their honor. Proceeds from the History Makers Dinner support every aspect of the Oregon Historical Society’s important work to collect, preserve, and interpret Oregon’s past. For more information, please contact Ally Huffman at 503.306.5226 or ally.huffman@ohs.org.

2021 History Makers

Lillian Pitt

ACCLAIMED ARTIST

Regarded as one of the most influential Native American artists in the Pacific Northwest, Lillian Pitt’s works appear in countless personal collections, art galleries, museums, public spaces, and cultural institutions. Pitt is primarily a sculptor and mixed media artist, whose lifetime of work includes artistic expressions in clay, bronze, wearable art, prints, and glass.

Born on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, Pitt is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs people. The focus of her work draws on over 12,000 years of Native American history and tradition of the Columbia River region.

Pitt’s words best describe her creative motivation: “Everything I do, regardless of the medium, is directly related to honoring my ancestors and giving voice to the people, the environment, and the animals. It’s all about maintaining a link with tradition, and about honoring the many contributions my ancestors have made to this world.”

Lillian Pitt

Punit Renjen

VISIONARY BUSINESS LEADER

Born and raised in India, Punit Renjen first arrived in Oregon in 1984, where he attended Willamette University in Salem on a Rotary Scholarship. Renjen earned a master’s degree in management and began his career at Deloitte, a multinational professional services organization.

Named Deloitte’s Global Chief Executive Officer in 2015, Renjen is the first Asian-born person to lead one of the world’s largest professional services firms. Under his leadership, Deloitte is recognized as the world’s strongest and most valuable commercial services brand.

In 2018, Renjen launched WorldClass, Deloitte’s global initiative to advance education and professional skills for 100 million people, beginning with girls and women in India. Deloitte has also made a commitment to have net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Renjen’s commitment to improving lives globally has included serving as chair of the United Way Worldwide board, an international philanthropic organization that works to advance common good by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world.

Punit Renjen

Dr. Geraldine Richmond

RENOWNED SCIENTIST AND EDUCATOR

A University of Oregon faculty member for 36 years, Geraldine Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry, and was recently nominated by President Joseph Biden to serve as Under Secretary for Science in the United States Department of Energy.

Richmond has held numerous leadership roles in the national and international scientific arena, including serving on the National Sciences Board, and serving as Secretary of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research examines the chemistry and physics of complex surfaces, which help in understanding important problems in energy production, environmental remediation, and atmospheric chemistry. Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the National Medal of Science and the Linus Pauling Legacy Award.

A strong advocate for diversity in the scientific workforce, Richmond is the founder of COACh Global, a grassroots organization formed in 1998 that has helped advance the careers of over 20,000 women scientists and engineers in the United States and in over 20 developing nations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Geri Richmond

The Greenbrier Companies

INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY

What began in 1919 in Portland, when Swedish immigrant brothers Chester Gunderson and Alvin Gunderson founded a wire wheel manufacturing company, has grown over the past century to become a leading international supplier of equipment and services to global freight transportation markets. Through wholly-owned subsidiaries and joint ventures, The Greenbrier Companies designs, builds, and markets freight railcars and marine barges in North America, Europe, Mexico, and South America. 

Millions of people worldwide depend on Greenbrier to make freight transportation safe, reliable, efficient, and resilient. Headquartered in Lake Oswego, Greenbrier employs nearly 12,000 people around the globe. The company’s work is notable for its safety and quality standards as well as its commitment to reducing emissions at some of its facilities over the past 20 years.


Greenbrier

Past History Makers

2009

Gert Boyle  visionary business leader
Dr. Brian Druker  innovative oncologist
Michael Powell  iconic bookseller 

2010

David Adelsheim  father of the Oregon wine industry
Jean Auel  best-selling author
Mercy Corps  international charitable organization
Medical Teams International  global human services organization

2011

Ken & Joan Austin  innovative entrepreneurs
Allyn Ford  timber industry leader
Dr. Albert Starr  pioneering cardiovascular surgeon
Gus Van Sant  award-winning film director

2012

Gerry Frank  entrepreneur & public servant
Harry Glickman  father of the Portland Trail Blazers
Kathryn Jones Harrison  influential tribal leader
Norma Paulus  ground-breaking legislator

2013

Bernie & Bobbie Foster  trailblazing publishers
Melvin "Pete" Mark  business leader and philanthropist
Pendleton Woolen Mills  iconic Oregon business
Alberto Salazar  legendary distance runner & coach

2014

Thomas Lauderdale  Oregon's musical ambassador to the world
Gov. Barbara Roberts  pioneering public servant
Walter J. Urba, M.D. Ph.D.  cancer warrior
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort  golf as it was meant to be

 

2015

Ann Curry  broadcast journalist
Peggy Fowler  glass ceiling breaker
George Puentes  business executive & philanthropist
Les Schwab Tire Centers  iconic Oregon business

2016

David Hume Kennerly  photojournalist
Hoffman Construction largest general contractor in the Pacific Northwest
Dr. Jane Lubchenco  environmental scientist & marine ecologist
Phil Knight  visionary business executive & philanthropist

2017

Dr. Nathalie Johnson  surgical oncologist
Nicholas Kristof  Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Bill Schonely  voice of the Portland Trail Blazers
Reser's Fine Foods  iconic Oregon business

2018

Stacy Allison, adventurer, author, and business leader
Edward “Ed” Ray, transformational higher education leader
Bill Stoller, visionary business leader and philanthropist
Bob’s Red Mill, revolutionizing the food industry

2019

Andy Bryant, tech industry visionary
Gale Castillo, pathbreaking business and community leader
Colin O’Brady, athlete, adventurer, educator
Oregon Shakespeare Festival, world-renowned theatre

2021 History Makers Dinner Generously Sponsored by:

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