OHSU Basic Science Building Named for Richard T. Jones

01/23/08  Portland, OR

Name change honors former biochemistry department chairman, one-time acting OHSU president and tireless advocate and fundraiser for the institution

Oregon Health & Science University’s Basic Science Building has been renamed the Richard T. Jones Hall for Basic Medical Sciences in honor of a distinguished graduate, longtime faculty member, biochemistry department chairman and dedicated OHSU advocate who served as acting president of the university in the late 1970s.

The name change was authorized by a unanimous vote of the OHSU board of directors. The activities and functions housed in the building, the board resolution declared, “reflect the types of institutional endeavors promoted and advanced by Dr. Jones.” Among them is the department Jones chaired.

“When I think about Dick Jones, the image I have is of a man who has always been a dedicated advocate and mentor par excellence for this institution. He really has been a champion for OHSU,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., in proposing the name change to the board.

For 30 years, from 1966 to 1996, Richard T. Jones, M.D., Ph.D., was a professor of biochemistry in the OHSU School of Medicine, 27 of those years as department chairman. He was acting president of the university from July 1977 through August 1978 and special consultant to OHSU President Leonard Laster, M.D., until July 1979. He also was assistant dean for academic affairs in the early 1980s. He retired in 1995 and is an emeritus faculty member.

Jones, 78, was a highly recognized biomedical researcher and the recipient of many research and training grants, including the Discovery Award in biomedical research from the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon. His areas of expertise were hemoglobin structure and function, abonormal hemoglobin, protein chemistry, isolation of peptides, blood coagulation, human genetics and biochemistry. His work resulted in over 170 publications. He also served on various training and research committees for the National Institutes of Health and the National Board of Medical Examiners.

Jones played a significant role in fundraising for the university, serving for a quarter century as a trustee and, for a period, president of the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon, which became part of the OHSU Foundation. He was closely involved in numerous campaigns to raise funds for the university’s capital and operating needs. He and his wife Marilyn also personally made major financial contributions to the institution.

Jones earned his master’s and medical degrees from what then was the University of Oregon Medical School, now OHSU and his doctoral degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

The Basic Science Building is located in the research quadrant on OHSU’s main campus on Marquam Hill. The eight-story (including basement), 262,617-square-foot structure was completed in 1971. It was designed by Campbell Yost Partners, now Yost Grube Hall, an architectural firm known for its exposed concrete styles. The building houses the medical school’s main lecture halls, as well as the departments of biochemistry and molecular biology; molecular microbiology and immunology; cell and developmental biology; physiology and pharmacology; pathology; and the OHSU Cancer Institute.