Phil Harding leaves Oregon State University after 12 years in teaching and administration

Beo Simmons

After 12 years at Oregon State University, Dr. Phillip Harding will be leaving his position as Associate School Head for Undergraduate Programs.  Harding has taught courses such as Material Balances and Chemical Engineering Laboratory during his time at OSU. Harding will be leaving OSU to be the Director of Technology and Sustainability at Willamette Falls Paper Company in West Linn, Oregon. He announced his decision through email to the student body. 

“It is with mixed feelings that I announce my decision to leave OSU effective Sept.15 to join the newly-formed Willamette Falls Paper Company,” Harding said via email. “I had the joy of contributing to the preparation of the next generation of OSU engineers” 

 Anthony Straw, a Chemical Engineering student at OSU, had Harding this year in Material Balances. Straw said  Harding would “relate the work in class to personal and professional experiences and he liked to bring in practical examples to his classes“. 

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Harding said he had a lot of positive experiences with the OSU teaching community.

“I love working with students. I just really enjoy that human interaction and providing that partnership in learning and life preparation that teaching provided,” Harding said. “12 years is a long time. In my life I want to make dramatic changes that challenge me and make me ask myself ‘can I do this?’, and after 12 years at OSU and I was feeling good about my service to the students but I had been thinking it had become a little robotic, and I thought it didn’t feel good”.

During his time at OSU, Harding also worked alongside those in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

 “We have a very strong, dedicated learning community,” Harding said. “My first year we had 42 graduates, and two years ago we had 225. There’s absolutely community, and we’ve done some amazing things in the decade here”. 

Charlotte Williams, Office Coordinator for the Department of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering, worked parallel with Dr. Harding.  

“All the students love Dr. Harding and we will all miss him. He’s a great teacher and very involved with the students. I’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Harding the past 10 years.”

Dr. Harding will be working for Willamette Falls Paper Company, a recently opened paper production corporation. They hope to lead innovation in the paper industry, by providing more environmentally friendly paper milling options. Dr. Harding is hoping to use his expertise in process engineering to make sure the company starts off with the right foot forward.

Dr. Harding’s favorite experience at OSU was getting to see the freshman come in and watching them gain experience and graduate.