Courtesy of the OSU Alumni Association
The Oregon State University Alumni Association has named Rockne “Rocky” Freitas, chancellor of the University of Hawai‘i at West O‘ahu, as this year’s recipient of its E.B. Lemon Distinguished Alumni Award.
The Lemon award honors alumni “who make significant contributions to society and whose accomplishments and careers bring acclaim to the university.” The highest recognition granted by the association, it is named for a legendary Oregon Stater who gave more than 70 years of service to his university.
Kathy Bickel, vice president of alumni relations at OSU and executive director of the alumni association, said Thursday that she was moved by the emotion in Freitas’ voice as he told her he would be deeply honored to return to Corvallis and accept the award at a ceremony set for April 25.
A Beaver football and National Football League great who graduated from OSU in 1968 with a bachelor’s in animal science, Freitas did not rest on his laurels when he was done playing and coaching. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees in education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and then built a distinguished second career in higher education.
Before being named chancellor of the West O’ahu campus, he served as vice president for student affairs and university and community relations for the University of Hawai‘i System. He also served as vice president and executive director of the Ke Ali‘i Pauahi Foundation; has held leadership positions at Kamehameha Schools and has served as a trustee for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He is in the Hawai‘i Sports Hall of Fame and the OSU Sports Hall of Fame.He will be recognized at the alumni association’s Spring Awards Celebration, April 25 at the CH2M HILL Alumni Center on campus. Tickets are available at