Serving Oregon Since 1868
On October 27, 1868, Corvallis College became the state’s official land grant institution. Since then, we have grown from our first graduating class of three to over 31,800 students.
Over the past 150 years, OSU’s name has changed, our programs have multiplied and its facilities have expanded. But our mission to conduct world-leading research and to provide the highest quality education for the people of our state and beyond remains steadfast. Our impact resounds across Oregon and around the globe because we are OUT THERE, solving the world’s most pressing challenges.
We invite you to celebrate with us. Look back at everything we’ve done together and look to the future to see where we will go.
Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors and OSU150 contributors.
150 Stories of OSU
Oregon State’s Open Source Lab was instrumental in launching and hosting the Mozilla Firefox 1.0 internet browser.
Philosophy professor Marcus Borg was one the leading historical Jesus scholars of his generation.
Oregon State graduates earn more at mid-career than graduates of all other public universities in the state according to PayScale.
Known on campus as the LInC, the Learning Innovation Center features cutting-edge learning environments, including two unique classrooms-in-the-round.
Oregon State was the second GRAMMY Museum affiliate university in the nation, giving students and faculty access to its extensive archives and music industry resources.
Three former basketball players at Oregon State have won Olympic Gold medals in basketball: Mel Counts (1964), Carol Menken-Schaudt (1984) and Gary Payton (2000)
Oregon State’s first Olympic gold medal winner was Forrest Smithson at the 1908 London Games.
From 1908 to 2016, Oregon State sent 55 athletes to the Olympic Games.
2006 engineering alumna Patricia Walsh is the world’s fastest blind and low-vision triathlete.
Oregon State has been a national leader in gender equality for more than a century, offering scientific courses to women since 1890.
The first plan for Oregon State’s Corvallis campus was created in 1909 by John C. Olmsted whose father, Frederick Law Olmsted, designed Central Park in New York City.
In 1946, Oregon State engineering professor Fred Merryfield and three of his former students founded CH2M, which today one of the world’s leading engineering firms.
Launched in 1961, the Acona was one of the first ships at Oregon State designed for oceanographic research. Today, Oregon State is leading the design and construction of up to three new research vessels for the National Science Foundation and will receive the first ship in 2020.
ScholarsArchive@OSU was one of the first digital services for gathering, storing, indexing and making available the scholarly work of faculty and students. It ranks among the top university repositories in the nation.
The Valley Library was named Library of the Year by The Library Journal in 1999. It was the first time an academic institution received the award.
The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives was the first to document the hops and craft brewing industries in a particular region.
The Leatherman multipurpose hand tool was invented by 1970 mechanical engineering alumnus Tim Leatherman.
Vance DeBar “Pinto” Colvig, an art student in the 1910s, was the first Bozo the Clown. He also provided the voice for Disney characters including Goofy, along with Grumpy and Sleepy in Snow White.
Oregon State organized a women’s basketball team in 1898 — three years before a¬¬ men’s team was established.
Oregon State’s Terry Baker is the only college athlete to win a Heisman Trophy (1962) and play in a NCAA basketball Final Four tournament game.
Notre Dame coaching legend Knute Rockne also taught summer courses at Oregon State between 1925 and 1930.
Oregon State professor Frank Magruder wrote the book on political science. First published in 1917, American Government: A Consideration of the Problems of Government, became one of the longest-running college textbooks of the 20th century.
Oregon State horticulturalist George Waldo bred the famous Marionberry blackberry and Hood strawberry, along with 12 other varieties released for commercial production.
Oregon State won a 20-16 upset over Duke in the 1942 Rose Bowl. Due to fears of another attack after Pearl Harbor, the game was moved to Durham, North Carolina, the only time it wasn’t played in Pasadena, California.
In 1873, Captain Benjamin Boswell became the first active-duty Army officer to teach military tactics at a land grant college in the West.
Oregon State alumni Edward C. Allworth (1916) and John Nobel Newcomb (1967) are two of the 14 Oregonians awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military honor.
Oregon State is on top of the world. Beavers who’ve reached the summit of Mount Everest include Willi Unsoeld in 1963, Stacy Allison in 1988 and Craig Hanneman in 2012.
The 1933 Oregon State football team, known as The Ironmen, ended the 26-game winning streak of reigning champion University of Southern California with a 0-0 tie — and used no substitutes.
The Oregon State alma mater, “Carry Me Back,” was written in 1917 by agriculture graduate student W. Homer Maris.
A new strain of a succulent red marine algae called dulse developed at Oregon State’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport has an unusual trait when cooked — it tastes like bacon.
Lady MacDuff, a white leghorn chicken in Oregon State’s poultry program, made international news by laying a record-breaking 303 eggs in 1913.
From 1943 to 1945, Oregon State hosted an Army Specialized Training Program, which trained more than 3,000 U.S. soldiers in engineering, science and foreign languages.
Acclaimed singer Roosevelt “Roo” Credit, a 1990 music education graduate, was called “our Beaver on Broadway” after performing in Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of Show Boat and Porgy and Bess.
A 1917 alumnus, Douglas McKay, served as the 25th governor of Oregon from 1949-52, then joined the Eisenhower Administration as Secretary of the Interior.
First played in 1894, the Civil War football game between Oregon State and the University of Oregon is the one of the oldest rivalries in Intercollegiate athletics.
The Extension Service was established in 1911 to extend knowledge from Oregon’s land grant university to the rest of the state, three years before the nationwide program began. Today, the OSU Extension Service has a presence in each of Oregon’s 36 counties.
The first use of Beavers as a team name was in the November 18, 1908 edition of the Barometer. Prior to this period the teams were referred to as “Aggies” or “Agrics.”
Oregon State’s Gill Coliseum opened in 1949. It was the largest building in the state with no internal structural supports to hinder spectator views.
Oregon State alumnus and photojournalist Roger Werth and his colleagues at the Longview Daily News in Washington won the Pulitzer Prize for their reporting on the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
Research by Oregon State entomologist George Poinar inspired Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton by providing a plausible scientific basis for a fictional story about obtaining dinosaur DNA preserved in amber. Poinar also served as a consultant for the movie.
4-H has been part of the Extension Service since its founding in 1911. Today, Oregon 4-H serves more than 45,000 youth across the state.
Extension Home Economics programs date back to 1914, and that tradition continues today with OSU Extension Service resources like Food Hero — a go-to site for quick, tasty, healthy recipes.
Glenn Odekirk, a 1927 engineering alumnus, served as Howard Hughes’ right-hand man for many years, contributing to the design of the innovative Hughes H-1 Racer and the Spruce Goose, which is now displayed the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Bruce Mate, director of the Oregon State Marine Mammal Institute, pioneered the use of satellite-monitored tags to track threatened and endangered whales, allowing discoveries about their migration routes, habitats and behaviors.
Oregon State mathematics alumnus George Andrews discovered the “Lost Notebook” of the famous Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan in 1976. For 40 years, he and his students and colleagues proved the formulas, which contributed to real-world applications in nuclear reaction and heat conduction research.
Founded in 1908, the OSU Folk Club promotes friendship and service to the community, providing more than $100,000 in grants to non-profits and scholarships to OSU students each year.
For Mike Rich, a former OSU business student, writing started out as a hobby. Now an award-winning screenwriter, his film credits include “Secretariat,” “Finding Forrester,” “The Rookie,” “Radio” and “Cars 3.”
Oregon State’s College of Forestry partnered with Southern Oregon timber company D.R. Johnson to test production of cross-laminated timber, an innovative wood product that could revolutionize the construction and timber industries.
Oregon State researchers turned a fashion accessory into a pollution detector — using silicon wristbands that absorb molecules of organic chemicals people are exposed to in the environment.
Oregon State researchers created the popular Better Bones and Balance program, which helps older adults maintain agility as they age. The program has now reached more than 500 people in 44 states and two countries.
Known as “Mother Kidder,” Ida Kidder came to campus in 1908 and served as its first professional librarian. The alma mater, Carry Me Back, is dedicated to her.
Milton Harris, a 1926 chemistry alumnus, earned 35 patents over his career leading research teams that developed coated razor blades, flame- and radiation resistant textiles, wrinkle-free cotton, moth-proof wool, and the forerunner of a hairstyling staple, the perm. He established Oregon State’s first endowed chair, the Milton Harris Chair of Materials Science, in 1984.
Two Oregon State faculty members, John Byrne (1981-84) and Jane Lubchenco (2009-13), have served as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A third Oregon Stater, former vice president for research Rick Spinrad, was NOAA’s chief scientist from 2014 to 2017.
Oregon State oceanographers have helped the West Coast oyster industry adapt to increasing ocean acidification, implementing a seawater monitoring and treatment system to stabilize the pH level in a hatchery’s tanks.
OSU became known as the “West Point of the West” in the 1920s due to the large number of commissioned officers it produced – more than any other non-military campus in the U.S.
A-dec, a company created by 1953 engineering graduate Ken Austin, is considered the largest dental equipment maker in the U.S. and second largest in the world, known for multiple advances in the work environment for dentists, including giving them the ability to sit down while working through the development of oral suction.
OSU 1972 graduate in civil engineering technology, Dick Fosbury, developed the gold standard in high-jump technique, the Fosbury Flop. In 1968 he won the Olympic gold medal setting an Olympic record.
Animator, production designer and 1976 art graduate Harley Jessup has won an Oscar, an Emmy and an Ani (for animation). His credits include “Monsters, Inc.,” “Ratatouille,” “Cars2,” “Up,” “Toy Story 2” and “The Hunt for Red October.”
OSU scientists were the first to see a community of living creatures around deep-sea hydrothermal vents more than 40 years ago, expanding our vision of life on Earth.
International students have attended OSU since 1904. Today they comprise more than 11 percent of OSU’s total enrollment.
A new brilliant blue pigment was discovered by OSU chemist Mas Subramanian and his team in 2009 and was on the market by 2016. It is durable and so stable that it does not fade even in oil and water, and will be used in a wide range of paint, coatings, plastics. It also inspired the new color ‘Bluetiful’ by Crayola.
The first president of OSU was the Rev. William A. Finley, and the current President, Edward J. Ray, came to OSU in 2003. In all, OSU has had 19 presidents since 1868, including five acting presidents.
Oregon State’s Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Lab is a national leader in using zebrafish, a see-through fish that can be used in research to model many human diseases.
Jensen Huang, a 1984 electrical engineering alumnus, is the founder, president and CEO of NVIDIA, a driving force in the gaming market and a world leader in developing chips for self-driving cars.
Linus Pauling, who earned a degree in chemical engineering in 1922, is the only person to have received two unshared Nobel Prizes — for chemistry in 1954 and peace in 1962.
1971 mathematics alumna Peggy Cherng co-founded Panda Express and ranks 11th on the Forbes 2017 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women.
Douglas Engelbart, a 1948 electrical engineering alumnus, invented the computer mouse.
Bernie Newcomb cofounded the online stock brokerage firm E*TRADE. Legally blind since birth, the 1965 business alumnus received the Helen Keller Achievement Award in 2006 for his work to improve quality of life for the blind.
Disney composer George Bruns wrote the film score for the Jungle Book and Sleeping Beauty. The 1936 alumnus was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Alumni brothers Mike and Brian McMenamin founded McMenamins, a chain of 50+ pubs, breweries and hotels across Oregon and Washington.
Jean Richardson became Oregon State’s first female civil engineering graduate in 1949. She later headed maintenance engineering for the city of Portland.
Crop scientist Warren Kronstad helped save millions of people from famine worldwide by breeding high-yield wheat varieties.
In the 1920s, food scientist Ernest Wiegand perfected the maraschino cherry — one of many Oregon State contributions to the state’s $74 million sweet cherry industry.
Corvallis community fundraisers purchased what is now known as Lower Campus in 1871. At the time, the land was set aside for an experimental farm.
Benton County residents funded the first building on the present Oregon State campus in 1888. It was renamed Benton Hall in 1947 during the county’s centennial celebration.
The OSU Extension Service supports small farms, agricultural education and economic development with operations in all 36 Oregon counties.
The Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Stations in Newport and Astoria were the first of their kind in the nation, supporting Pacific Northwest fisheries and the region’s $100 million oyster industry.
The Oregon State Advantage Accelerator helps students, faculty and community members launch new businesses. Successful spinoff companies include faculty-led Agility Robotics, which is developing walking robots, and student-led Seiji’s Bridge, which makes therapy products for people with autism.
The College of Pharmacy is developing nanomedicine technologies to detect and treat cancer through targeted therapy and imaging.
Oregon State Ecampus consistently ranks among the top 10 online programs in the nation and offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is the largest tsunami and storm wave research facility in the United States and among the top 10 in the world.
Portland entrepreneur Michael Baker developed the first home dialysis machine in collaboration with the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute and the Oregon State Research Office.
Oregon State collaborated with HP to develop the transparent transistor technology used in flat-panel computers and televisions.
Jon DeVaan, a 1985 mathematics and computer science alumnus, led the teams that developed Microsoft Office.
The Extension Service begins radio broadcasts that reach across the state in 1925. Radio station KOAC eventually served as the foundation for what is now Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB).
National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Bernard Malamud taught at Oregon State from 1949 to 1961. His works include A New Life, The Natural and The Fixer.
Established in 1898, the pharmacy program at OAC was one of the first four-year undergraduate pharmacy programs in the nation. At the time, a majority of pharmacy programs were two-year technical school programs.
The next time you move, think of Leonard Shoen. The 1943 alumnus founded U-Haul.
John Blankenbaker, a 1952 mathematics alumnus, is widely credited with developing the first commercially available personal computer in 1971, predating the Apple 1 by five years.
Experts across Oregon State study, predict and help Oregonians prepare for earthquakes. Leading geophysicist Chris Goldfinger established the historical frequency of earthquakes along the Cascadia Subduction Zone.
Al Reser learned how to safely preserve his mother’s potato salad while he was a business student at Oregon State. From that small start, the 1960 alumnus helped turn the family business, Reser’s Fine Foods, into a billion-dollar international company.
1968 OSU master’s in chemistry graduate David Wong was one of the three scientists credited with discovering the anti-depressant Prozac in 1972 while working at Eli Lilly and Company.
In 1964, OSU entomologist Robert Goulding developed a method to time-release pesticides, a precursor to the flea collar.
The Department of Food Science and Technology at Oregon State University is one of the nation’s oldest established programs of its kind and now offers the trifecta of beverage study: beer, wine and distilled spirits.
In 2017, veterinary specialists at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Teaching Hospital treated more than 12,000 dogs, cats, horses, goats, pigs, llamas, cows, sheep and alpacas.
In 2007, OSU created a groundbreaking partnership with the Oregon Humane Society – the first of its kind in the nation – where fourth-year veterinary students spend four weeks helping to treat sick shelter animals and assisting with hundreds of spay and neuter surgeries.
The pass rate for OSU veterinary students taking the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination in 2017 was 100 percent.
The first Native American students attended Oregon Agricultural College in the 1880s. James Collins was one of them, and went on to be a superintendent of several Oregon schools.
OSU engineers, biologists and oceanographers helped to draft the framework for the 1967 Oregon Beach Bill. This legislation ensures public ownership and access to beaches all along the Oregon coast.
Juntos is an OSU Extension Service program that supports Latino youth. All participants graduate from high school and 92 percent go on to college.
Oregon produces 98 percent of the hazelnuts grown in America. When hazelnut orchards were threatened by a fatal disease, a team of OSU researchers developed new, resistant varieties that saved this regional industry.
Realizing a 30-year, grassroots effort to bring a four-year university to Central Oregon, OSU-Cascades welcomed students to its 10-acre campus in Bend in fall 2016. It’s the first public university campus to open in Oregon in 50 years and one of only five universities in the U.S. to offer a fully-accredited program that combines mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering into one multidisciplinary degree.
Project CROOS (Collaborative Research on Oregon Ocean Salmon) researchers team with local fishers to understand migration patterns for salmon species so the fishers can target healthy stock and avoid endangered ones.
Using a copper-rich compound, OSU professor Joe Beckman and his team treated spinal cord cells in mice damaged by ALS. The compound is in clinical trials to evaluate its safety, and patients and their families are cautiously optimistic that this might help extend the lives of people with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
OSU professor Jose Reyes revolutionized the energy industry with a smaller, simpler and safer design for a nuclear reactor. The OSU spinoff company, NuScale Power, created a modular nuclear reactor that does not need outside power to shut down during an emergency.
In 2016, construction workers dug up mammoth bones under Oregon State’s Reser Stadium. Through testing enamel on a tooth, they determined it lived 12,000 years ago, meaning mammoths lived alongside humans in Oregon longer than previously thought.
Aki Hill is the longest-tenured coach in Oregon State Women's Basketball history, leading the team for 17 years from 1979-95 and winning 274 games.
In 1956, OSU zoologist Max de Laubenfels published in the Journal of Paleontology one of the first hypotheses that a meteor crashing into Earth led to the extinction of dinosaurs.
OSU professor Hong Liu developed a fuel cell that turns wastewater from sewers, food processing plants and breweries into electricity. As the dirty water flows through the cells, tiny microbes break down organic matter, cleaning the water and releasing energy.
OSU food scientists have identified a sixth flavor, the flavor of starch, that helps us seek out foods that release energy slowly. Juyun Lim’s research paves the way for a new understanding of the role of carbohydrates in hunger, obesity and diabetes.
The state of Oregon hired former Oregon Agricultural College professor Conde B. McCullough as a bridge engineer in 1919 and he hired almost the entire graduating class of the college’s civil and construction engineering program. Over the next six years, they designed nearly 600 of Oregon’s highway bridges.
Three Beavers basketball players have been drafted by WNBA teams the last two years: Ruth Hamblin, Jamie Weisner and Sydney Wiese.
Holding its first concerts in 1892, the Oregon State band program is the oldest in the Pac-12. Today more than 450 student musicians participate in multiple university ensembles.
Agility Robotics, an OSU spinoff company, created a bipedal (two-legged) robot that can stand, be steered and even walk in rain and snow.
OSU assistant professor Sam Logan is a leader in the national Go Baby Go program, which developed modifications to relatively inexpensive toy cars that allow young children with mobility issues to move, play and socialize.
The Trysting Tree, located north of Furman Hall and referenced in the alma mater, was a popular romantic location from the 1890s to the 1960s. The grey poplar was replaced in 1982 with cuttings taken from the original tree.
Gordon Gilkey, a printmaker from Scio, Oregon was chief of the Allies’ German war art program and confiscated over 8,500 pieces of Nazi art. He later became professor of art and then dean of the College of Liberal Arts at OSU.
In 1889, Dr. Margaret Snell established a new program in household economics and hygiene that included lectures on preventative medicine, science-based nutrition and food safety.
Students graduate from OSU’s College of Education with double degrees, combining topics in education with everything from mathematics to history. In 2016, 90 percent of these graduates received a job immediately.
Wheatberry caviar, seaweed that tastes like bacon and oyster shooters are just a few of the products researched and developed at OSU’s Food Innovation Center in Portland.
OSU 1936 nutrition and food management graduate Mercedes Alison Bates was the first woman officer at General Mills, serving as vice president of the Betty Crocker division until she retired in 1983. She gave “Betty” a dramatic makeover to be a career woman, and served as a role model for professional women everywhere.
Oregon State chemist David (Xiulei) Ji is working with “coronene”, a pure hydrocarbon, to see if this unwanted pollutant could provide energy storage in addition to scavenging for pollution.
Linus Pauling’s 1970 book “Vitamin C and the Common Cold” expressed his conclusion that vitamin C has antiviral properties that help to protect against the common cold. It became a bestseller, making the vitamin supplement a staple in medicine cabinets around the world.
Starting with the 2003 NFL Draft, three former Beavers football players have been selected in the first round: Nick Barnett, Steven Jackson and Brandin Cooks.
Enrollment at OSU for the 2017-2018 academic year is 31,904 – this includes 24,760 students at the main campus in Corvallis, 6,087 in Ecampus (online), and 1,204 at OSU-Cascades.
The International Living Learning Center houses 312 students and has 26 classrooms, a general purpose auditorium, a coffee shop and a market.
The Linus Pauling Science Center is home to the OSU Electron Microscopy Facility which provides faculty, staff, students and international collaborators access to electron microscopes so they can visualize the structure, composition and arrangement of atoms. The facility is one of only two at a U.S. university.
OSU received $441 million in research grants in the 2017 fiscal year. That is more research dollars annually than the six other Oregon public universities combined.
Oregon State’s Corvallis campus covers 530 acres.
Reser Stadium has 43,154 seats for Beaver fans and visitors.
Weatherford Hall, completed in 1928, is the oldest residence hall west of the Mississippi still in use as a residence hall.
Goss Stadium at Coleman Field is the oldest continuously operating ballpark for college baseball in the nation. The first game was played on April 12, 1907.
OSU’s Seafood Research and Education Science Center is home to the worldwide Surimi School. Surimi is a traditional Japanese fish product. OSU helped develop a way to process low-value fish into surimi products that can be processed to imitate expensive seafood, such as imitation crabmeat.
OSU professor “Deepsea Dawn” Wright has traveled two miles below the sea using an ALVIN submersible where she studies volcanic mountain ranges and hydrothermal vents.
Two of OSU’s early African American graduates have residence halls named after them – 1926 commerce graduate Carrie Halsell and 1948 engineering graduate William Tebeau.
Oregon State University has been ranked among the top three universities in the world in forestry and oceanography on the basis of the number of research articles published in top-tier scientific journals.
Beaver Classic™ is an entire line of artisan cheeses marketed and crafted by OSU students from milk from OSU cows and produced at the Arbuthnot Dairy Center.
T.J. Starker, a graduate from the first forestry class in 1910, became a professor of forestry and founder of Starker Forests and helped establish OSU as one of the world’s elite forestry schools.
OSU’s first female Ph.D. was Chung Kwai Lui, who completed a doctorate in physics in 1941.
The Civil War, Oregon State men’s basketball vs. Oregon, is the most contested rivalry in Division 1 basketball.
Lowell Edwards (’24) in engineering, teamed with surgeon Albert Starr to develop the first artificial heart valve. He also invented pumps for the timber industry, paper mills and aircraft.
Professor Kaichang Li developed a new adhesive inspired by the rock-holding power of mussels that was adopted by about 60 percent of the plywood and veneer industry. This soybean-based adhesive replaces formaldehyde-based adhesives.
In 2016 Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center was awarded $35 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to design, construct and operate a wave energy test facility in Newport. It is anticipated to become operational in 2021-2022.
The College of Forestry owns over 14,000 acres of forest that is used for research. The closest is the McDonald Dunn Forest located north of Corvallis.
The “moon tree” is a Douglas fir tree located near the corner of 30th and Jefferson Way on the Corvallis campus. It traveled into space as a seedling with astronaut Stuart Roosa during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971.
Joyce Collin Furman Hall is the fourth name for a building that started out as Agriculture Hall in 1902. Its other names include Science Hall and Education Hall.
The Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center has had seven names since it was constructed in 1898. Titles include gymnasium, armory, playhouse and museum.
Ken Austin, 1953 engineering graduate, was the first student in OSU history to dress as Benny Beaver at athletic functions.
During the fall, winter and spring terms, the Valley Library is open continuously from 10 a.m. Sundays through 10 p.m. Fridays.
As of the end of the 2017 season, 35 Beavers have played baseball at the major league level.