History Makers

First awarded in 2009, the History Makers Medal is regarded as one of Oregon’s most prestigious honors and is presented annually by OHS to individuals and organizations that are positively shaping the history, culture, and landscape of Oregon.

In order to provide our current History Makers the special evening they deserve, we’ve decided to postpone this year’s event and celebrate the honorees in 2021. The next Oregon History Makers Medals will be presented at a dinner at the Portland Art Museum on Sunday, October 3, 2021.

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. If you were planning to attend in 2020, we hope you’ll instead consider making a donation to the OHS Pandemic Survival Fund to help offset the cost of cancelling our biggest fundraising event. Table sponsorships and individual tickets are available for the 2021 event. For more information, please contact Molly Cochran at 503.306.5237 or molly.cochran@ohs.org.

The 2021 Oregon History Makers Medal recipients are:

Lillian Pitt


Lillian Pitt has created a lifetime of works in a variety of media, including clay, bronze, wearable art, prints, glass, and jewelry. Born and raised on the Warm Springs reservation, with ancestors who have lived in and near the Columbia Gorge for over 10,000 years, Lillian's emphasis is on creating contemporary fine art pieces that honor the history and legends of her people. Her works are regularly exhibited throughout the Pacific Northwest, as well as nationally and internationally.

Punit Renjen


Born and raised in India, Punit Renjen came to Oregon in 1984, on a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to Willamette University. After receiving a Master's in Management, he began his career at Deloitte. In 2015, he became the company's global CEO, and the first Asian born person to head one of the world's largest professional services firms. In 2018, Punit launched WorldClass, Deloitte's global initiative to advance education and skills for communities at risk, beginning with girls and women in India.

Dr. Geraldine Richmond


Dr. Geraldine Richmond is the Presidential Chair in Science and a chemistry professor at the University of Oregon. She has served on the National Science Board since 2012, and was awarded a National Medal of Science for her fundamental research on the chemistry and physics of complex surfaces and interfaces, which is relevant to energy production and environmental remediation. Throughout her career, Dr. Richmond has worked to promote women in science around the globe.

The Greenbrier Companies


What began in 1919 as a wire wheel manufacturer, founded by brothers Chester and Alvin Gunderson, has since grown into a group of companies that is one of the leading designers, manufacturers, and marketers of railroad car equipment in North America and Europe, and one of the world's foremost manufacturers of ocean-going barges. As the fourth largest publicly-traded company based in Oregon, Greenbrier also boasts over 1,100 employees in Oregon and more than 16,000 worldwide.

Who are Oregon History Makers?

History Makers are contemporary individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact in their field of work or service during their lifetime. These individuals and organizations, with ties to Oregon, 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, Oregon History Makers represent the best of what the state has to offer.

Past History Makers


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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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


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


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

2019 History Makers Dinner Generously Sponsored by:




GIFTS in honor of the HISTORY MAKERS