Donna H. Branson
Regents Professor Donna Hahn Branson has left a matchless record in the area of apparel systems design and production of protective clothing. In 1972, she earned a Ph.D. in Family Ecology, emphasizing functional apparel design from Michigan State University. She had previously served as instructor at the University of Rhode Island and at Michigan State University for several years before she was hired as Associate Professor in the Department of Design, Housing and Merchandising in the College of Human Sciences at OSU in 1983. She became professor in four years and in 1993 was chosen department head. Under her leadership, student enrollment grew such that DHM became the 4th largest department at OSU, and for nearly seven years, almost all faculty obtained external funding for their research projects. Working with college staff, she initiated a fundraising drive to establish the Christine Salmon Endowed Professorship. As well, Donna Branson produced an inspiring record as teacher, researcher and mentor. She taught most of the apparel design courses for ten years, served as major professor for 36 graduate students, and co-authored over 50 journal articles, over 100 refereed presentations, and eight juried design exhibits. Over the years, she obtained 28 grants, three manufacturing licenses and has two pending patents. Much of the research output was related to designing body armor that protects against IED bomb attacks but still allows for mobility and passive cooling. Her collaborative research was instrumental in protecting United States marines in the Middle East. Her awards include: the Mortar Board Outstanding OSU Teacher Award, the Marguerite Scruggs Award for Meritorious Research, the Manmade Fiber Award for Research, the National Textile Center Scientific Excellence Adviser, Oklahoma State University Regents Professor, and in 2006, the Homeland Security Award. Professor Branson retired from OSU in 2006 but continued to serve as Director of the Institute of Protective Apparel Research and Technology in Stillwater until September, 2010. For her outstanding record of teaching, research and service to state and nation, the OHEHS proudly inducts Donna H. Branson into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.