Local agronomist and soil scientist Don Horneck may be gone, but his legacy of research will live on through a scholarship in his honor.
Horneck, who worked at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center for 15 years, died from a heart attack in September, and his friends and associates wanted to remember his many contributions to the area. HAREC Director Phil Hamm said he developed the idea for the Don Horneck Memorial Scholarship, and Horneck’s wife, Vicki, agreed to serve on the selection committee for the annual award.
Within a few weeks of announcing the scholarship and soliciting memorial donations, Hamm said the fund has collected the required minimum of $25,000 to endow the account in order to provide scholarships from the interest for years to come. He said the scholarships will be awarded to graduate and undergraduate students studying agronomy or soils at Oregon State University, and priority will be given to HAREC students.
Although the minimum has been reached, Hamm said more contributions would provide more scholarship funding.
“If you have only $25,000, it doesn’t bring much of a scholarship, but if we could get $100,000 (in the fund), that would be probably $4,000 to $6,000 a year (in scholarships),” he said. “I’m not going to be satisfied until we have at least $50,000, but I would really be much happier with $100,000.”
Hamm said contributions, so far, have come from a variety of individuals and businesses, and a pledge from Umatilla Electric Cooperative to provide matching funds up to $12,500 advanced the memorial to the endowment level. He said he expects other companies will donate, as well, because Horneck’s work provided such a benefit to the area.
“Don, of course, was involved with multiple disciplines of research,” Hamm said. “His impact to the region was uncountable, in terms of what he did for the growers. Don contributed in so many ways.”
He said Horneck’s research included crop fertility, current season plant sampling, reducing nitrates from groundwater and finding the best uses for water from processing plants.
Hamm said Horneck’s contributions to the community, however, extended beyond his profession. He said Horneck was highly involved with the UEC Hydromania summer science camp and the local Lions Club.
“Don was a good example of what a community member should be,” he said. “He believed that doing something to make a community better is important. There’s remarkable people in the world. Unfortunately, there’s not as many of them because most people don’t get involved in things to make their community better. Don was one of those remarkable people.”
Hamm said he and his colleagues are still mourning the loss of a HAREC family member.
“Don is not going to be forgotten at all,” he said. “We’ll replace his position, but a new person will never fill the same shoes that Don filled.”
People can contribute in Horneck’s memory online at osufoundation.org or by mail to OSU Foundation, 850 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis OR 97333-4015. Donors should specify online or on the memo line of a check that the contribution is for the Don Horneck Memorial Scholarship Fund, but make the checks payable to the OSU Foundation.
HONORING DON HORNECK’S MEMORY
The Don Horneck Memorial Scholarship will benefit graduate and undergraduate students studying agronomy or soils at Oregon State University, and priority will be given to Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center students.
Contributions can be made online at osufoundation.org or by mail to OSU Foundation, 850 S.W. 35th St., Corvallis OR 97333-4015. Be sure to specify online or on the memo line of a check that the contribution is for the Don Horneck Memorial Scholarship Fund, but make the checks payable to the OSU Foundation.