Colisse Franklin loved growing up in La Grande, a small town in rural northeastern Oregon where kids could walk or bike wherever they wanted to go, and she spent a lot of time outside with her brother and friends. Surrounded by national forests, there was plenty of nearby camping and recreation and easy access to mountains and lakes.
But when it came time to select a college she chose her dad’s alma mater (much to his delight) — Oregon State University, where she got a degree in merchandising management from the College of Home Economics.
“The university was larger than my whole town, so it was quite a shock to come here. I remember walking around campus with a map, not knowing anyone, wondering, ‘How am I ever going to find my way around?’” she says.
Although she never thought she would stay in Corvallis past college, she met her husband here (a Corvallis native) and they owned a Chevron station together in town for seven years.
“I have to say, it’s a great place to live and I’m glad that I’m still here. Although it took a while to get used to the weather, and I’m still not quite used to it. I can’t imagine a better place to raise children. The kids had so many opportunities, and we were super involved in their lives and their sports,” she says.
Her daughter became a horse enthusiast starting at the early age of 4½ years with her first horse-riding lesson — her legs sticking straight out on a giant (but gentle) Morgan horse. It became a passion that led to eventing — a horse competition including dressage, cross-country and show jumping.
“I started taking lessons with her so I could at least learn a little bit about what she was doing until the point where she started telling me I was doing it all wrong,” Franklin laughs.
But she stayed involved by volunteering at horse shows which she has continued to participate in even though her daughter is now in college (but still riding competitively). Her son was equally passionate about football and it was through their sports that Franklin met a lot of her friends, and formed a tight community.
In EECS, Franklin is the operations manager and assistant to the director which means is a jack-of-all-trades — her tasks range from project management, helping faculty through the promotion and tenure process, serving as a liaison between the school and other areas in the university, supervising academic advising and supporting fund raising.
“The best part is working with the students, staff and faculty who are all amazing people. There's a lot of energy here. The days go by very quickly,” she says.
Keeping with the family tradition, both her children chose to go to OSU. “Sometimes I look out my office window and see one of them walking by!” she says. And her dad was certainly pleased to be able to come back for Dad’s weekend as a grandfather.
Now that her kids are grown, she and her husband are enjoying traveling to places like Puerto Rico, and also spending time enjoying community events like the farmers market and local festivals.
“It’s nice going out to dinner just the two of us and no one argues with us about where to go,” she laughs.
—By Rachel Robertson