Rally in the Square draws Beaver Nation to ‘Portland’s living room’

Benny hugs some fans during the OSU Rally in the Square (photo: Theresa Hogue)

For the second consecutive year, hundreds of Oregon State University alumni, students and fans gathered in Pioneer Courthouse Square to give a celebratory sendoff to Portland-area freshmen, who begin moving to Corvallis tomorrow to begin their college career.

The Rally in the Square served as an opportunity to recognize that not only is OSU the university of choice for many Portland grads, but the dominant campus destination of the area’s best and brightest students.

“Earlier this year, the Oregonian published results from its third-annual survey of top high school graduates from Portland and surrounding area high schools. These are valedictorians, salutatorians and other high achievers,” Susie Brubaker-Cole, head of Academic Success and Engagement for OSU, told the crowd. “And the survey found that for the third consecutive year, more of those students are choosing OSU as their campus destination than any other university.

“In fact, more of them indicated they’ll be attending OSU this fall than the second- and third-place colleges combined.”

Brubaker-Cole, AM 860 KPAM morning host Bob Miller, OSU student and Oregon Board of Higher Education member Farbod Ganjifard, OSU Alumni Association leader Joth Ricci and others kept the crowd enthused with more similar evidence of OSU’s ascent.

OSU cheerleaders kept the crowd enthusiastic during the rally (photo: Theresa Hogue)

The university expects to welcome a record 25,000 students this fall, and is making big strides in academic reputation, technology transfer, research and other areas. And Ricci reminded the crowd that about one-fourth of the university’s 160,000 alumni call the Portland area home.

But the rally was about the extracurricular life of the university, too. Miller interviewed football standout Mike Remmers, a senior who has gone from walk-on status to having started the last 32 consecutive games for the Beavers. Though the football team is off to a rough beginning of the 2011 season, Remmers, a Portland native, was enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.

The OSU Marching Band and cheerleading squad provided entertainment throughout the two-hour event. But for visitors who wanted a deeper look at what OSU has to offer, representatives of colleges around the university were on hand with information booths, displays and assistance.

College of Pharmacy students providing flu shots were in such high demand, they ran through their entire stock of injections. Engineering students showed off their Mars Rover and other student-created automobiles, while a contingent from OSU’s Hinsdale Wave Laboratory modeled waves in a flume set up just for the Rally. Students in Apparel Design put on a fashion show, and Veterinary Medicine students provided check-ups for attendees who brought pets. Everyone got a chance to celebrate Benny the Beaver’s birthday with a free cupcake.

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