Kerry Tymchuk BA’81, JD’84 named director of the Oregon Historical Society

Kerry Tymchuk, a history major at Willamette with an extensive resume in Oregon politics, has been named executive director of the premier repository for the state’s history.

Tymchuk had served as interim director since April. He was an aide to former U.S. Sens. Gordon Smith and Bob Dole and co-authored books with Dole and his wife, Elizabeth. He also co-wrote “One Tough Mother,” the autobiography of Columbia Sportswear CEO Gert Boyle.

“Kerry Tymchuk has achieved several notable goals,” said OHS board President Jerry Hudson, a former president of Willamette University. “His masterful facilitation has renewed public support for OHS and his ability to nurture relationships and spread enthusiasm for history is truly remarkable.”

The Oregon Historical Society, located in downtown Portland, archives key artifacts in Oregon history such as Meriwether Lewis’s branding iron and a pair of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s iconic blue jeans. Tymchuk, who said he has a lifelong love of history, has visited every county in Oregon.  He wants OHS to reach out to all corners of the state, establish a firm financial footing after years of money difficulties and keep up the quality of the society’s research capabilities.

“The best definition of history is it’s who we are and the way we are,” he said. “You have to make the case every day that the state would be very much the poorer if there wasn’t an Oregon Historical Society.”