Former Oregon State administrator speaks about history of women on campus


CORVALLIS, Ore. – For nearly five decades, Jo Anne Trow has been considered a leader in student affairs – from the time when women college administrators were rare and the title “Dean of Women” still existed at most universities.

The former vice provost for Student Affairs at Oregon State University has been retired since 1995, but still has her finger on the pulse of an evolving institution. Trow was just named a Pillar of the Profession by the student affairs professional association, NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators).

Trow will speak about the history of women at Oregon State from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., March 30, in the Memorial Union Room 208, as part of Women’s History Month. It is a brown bag event, desserts and drinks will be provided. The event is presented by the Office of Women’s Advancement and Gender Equity (WAGE).

When Trow was hired at OSU in 1965 as assistant dean of women, there were only a handful of other female administrators, including the home economics dean and the head of the Department of Women’s Physical Education. But times were already changing. By 1969, OSU reorganized its structure and Trow became associate dean of students and later, the vice president of Student Affairs in the early 1980s.

In the tumultuous 1970s, as Title IX changed the face of college sports, and academic lawsuits brought pay discrepancies of female faculty to the forefront in Oregon, Trow became part of a group of campus women who started to organize a support group for women faculty and administrators, later to become the OSU Women’s Network.

Trow said that female students today have the opportunity for a more diverse academic experience, and more changes to take on university-wide leadership roles. Female faculty, she says, also are expanding into non-traditional fields and taking on more administrative positions.