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Oregon State University (OSU) is a coeducational, public research university located in Corvallismarker, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker. The university offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees and a multitude of research opportunities. There are over 200 academic degree programs offered through the university. OSU's programs in nuclear engineering, ecology, forestry, public health, biochemistry, zoology, oceanography, food science and pharmacy are recognized nationally as top tier programs. In recent years, OSU's liberal arts programs have also grown significantly. The College of Liberal Arts is now one of the largest programs on campus. Over 200,000 people have attended OSU since its founding. The Carnegie Foundation classifies Oregon State University as a "very high research activity" university.

Oregon State is one of 73 land-grant universities currently operating throughout the world. The school is also recognized as a sea-grant, space-grant and sun-grant institution, making it one of only two US institutions to retain all four designations and the only public university to do so (Cornellmarker is the only other with similar designations). In addition to Oregon State's many federally designated areas of research, the university receives more funding for research, annually, than all other public higher education institutions in Oregon combined.


Early years

OSU's Bell Tower
The university's roots date back to 1856 when Corvallis Academy, the area's first community school for primary and preparatory education, was founded in 1858, the school's name was changed to Corvallis College and formally incorporated by members of the Freemasons. The school offered its first college-level curriculum in 1865, under the administration of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

On August 22, 1868, official Articles of Incorporation were filed for Corvallis College. October 27, 1868, is known as OSU Charter Day, the day that the Oregon Legislative Assembly designated Corvallis College as the Agricultural College of the state of Oregon and the recipient of Land Grant fund income. As part of this designation, the college was required to comply with the requirements set forth in the First Morrill Act. The name was changed to Corvallis State Agricultural College and was then authorized to grant the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Arts degrees. The first graduating class was in 1870, granting Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Oregon Agricultural College

In 1890 the college became known as Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). Orange was adopted as the school color, with black as the background. The Olmsted Brothers developed the first Campus Master Plan in 1909, emphasizing trees and an architectural harmony showcasing basic classical forms in brick. The current campus design generally follows this original plan and is laid on a grid of wide, tree-lined streets. Well-partitioned buildings accent open lawns along the main passages and are mostly surrounded by clusters of tall trees. The overall scheme gives it a quaint, early American institutional feel common to campuses found in the Midwest or Southern U.S.

The Division of College Extension was organized in 1911 with Ralph Dorn Hetzel as director and, in 1912, the first off-campus faculty were placed in Marion and Wallowa counties. The Army ROTC became active in 1917, replacing the original Cadet Corps formed by students studying Military Science. In 1919, OAC began a horticultural products processing program, the first of its kind in the United States. Accreditation was granted in 1924 by the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools.

Oregon State

1927 marked yet another name change, this time to Oregon State Agricultural College. The Oregon Unification Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1929 placed the school under the oversight of the newly formed Oregon State Board of Higher Education. Doctoral education was first provided in 1935 with the conferral of four Doctor of Philosophy degrees. This year also saw the creation of the first summer session. The growing diversity in degree programs offered led to another name change in 1937, when the college became Oregon State College.

The university's current title, Oregon State University, was adopted on March 6, 1961 by a legislative act signed into law by Governor Mark Hatfield.

In 2007, Scott Reed was named the Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement as OSU Extension Service and OSU Extended Campus were aligned under this new division.



Research has played a central role in the university's overall operations for much of its history. Most of OSU's research continues at the Corvallis campus, but an increasing number of endeavors are underway at various locations throughout the state and abroad. Current research facilities, beyond the campus, include the Seafood Laboratory in Astoriamarker and the Food Innovation Laboratory in Portlandmarker. The university's college of oceanic and atmospheric sciences operates several state-of-the-art laboratories, including the Hatfield Marine Science Centermarker and two oceanographic research vessels out of Newportmarker.OSU also manages nearly of forest land, which includes the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest.

The 2005 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education recognized Oregon State as a, "Comprehensive Doctoral with Medical/Veterinary" university. This is one of only three such universities in the Pacific Northwest to be classified in this category. In 2006, Carnegie also recognized the university as having "Very High Research Activity," which makes OSU the only university in Oregon to attain these combined classifications.

The National Sea Grant College Program was founded in the 1960s. OSU is one of the original four Sea Grant Colleges selected in 1971.

In 1967 the Radiation Centermarker was constructed at the edge of campus, housing a 1.1 MW TRIGA Mark II Research Reactor. The reactor is equipped to utilize Highly Enriched Uranium for fuel. Rankings published by U.S. News & World Report in 2008 placed Oregon State eighth in the nation in graduate nuclear engineering.

OSU was one of the early members of the federal Space Grant program. Designated in 1991, the additional grant program made Oregon State one of only 13 schools in the United Statesmarker to serve as a combined Land Grant, Sea Grant, and Space Grant university. Most recently, OSU was designated as a federal Sun Grant institution. The designation, made in 2003, now makes Oregon State one of only two such universities (the other being Cornell Universitymarker), and the only public institution with all four designations.

In 1999 OSU finished a $40 million remodel to the campus library. Known as the 'Valley Librarymarker', the totally remodeled building was selected by The Library Journal as their 1999 Library of the Year, the first academic library so named.

In 2001, the university's Wave Research Laboratory was designated by the National Science Foundation as a site for tsunami research under the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation. The O.marker H.marker Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratorymarker is located on the edge of the campus and is one of the largest and most sophisticated laboratories for education, research, and testing in coastal, ocean and related areas in the world.


Students at Oregon State University have new opportunities to learn about and actively participate in entrepreneurial endeavors. OSU is the first public university to dedicate an entire building, Weatherford Hall, to a program focused on fostering student-run businesses with mentoring and related courses.

Located in the middle of campus, Weatherford Hall is one of the school's original dormitory buildings. The building is now home to the Austin Entrepreneurship Program (AEP TICK). The program is designed to incubate a multitude of student businesses participating as members of the OSU Society of Entrepreneurs.

Rankings and recognition

Weatherford Hall in 2009
OSU has more majors, minors and special programs than any other university or college in Oregon.
A 2007 study of the world's top 500 universities, based on academic merit, ranked OSU higher than any other university or college in Oregon. Amongst American universities, OSU ranked in the top 70. Worldwide, the school ranked in the top 150 universities. Other recent recognitions include a 2007 ranking by STACK magazine, in which OSU was selected as one of the nation's top 50 universities in "academics, athletic opportunity and overall performance." The school ranked 29th overall, making it one of only two Northwest schools in the top 30 and the only university from the state to receive a ranking.

As a top tier forestry school, OSU is widely considered the nation's leader in the subject. Of the 53 forestry programs at North American universities; Oregon State University College of Forestry was ranked first by a 2006 survey, "…in the total number of professional publications, first in the number of 'citations' to those publications, and is perceived by academic colleagues as the leading forestry program in North America."


Main campus

Campus from airplane
The Memorial Union
The 400-acre (1.62 km²) main campus is located in Corvallis, in the Willamette Valley. Although its surroundings are rural, the city is rapidly becoming more metropolitan and has seen recent periods of infrastructural and economic growth. This recent expansion is helping to provide the city with one of the highest standards of living in the state. Corvallis, a city of 53,000 permanent residents, was recognized in 1996 as one of the most livable cities in America.

Corvallis was most recently ranked as the 5th-smartest university town in the United States. The 2008 ranking, by, was based on the percent of educational degrees residents living in America's cities have earned. Researchers found 47.65% of Corvallis residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher, 5.62% achieved a Ph.D while 1.95% have earned other educational degrees. Over 93% of the city's residents have graduated from high school, which is an unusually high statistic for any city nationwide. In 1994 OSU was also rated the safest campus in the Pac-10 in a study of universities.

Historic district

In September 2008, the Oregon State University campus was designated the Oregon State University Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It is the only college or university campus in Oregon to have a historic district designation. The effort to have the John Charles Olmsted-designed campus listed on the NRHP took two years.

Branch campus (Bend)

OSU recently completed the construction of a branch campus located in Bendmarker. This new branch campus is called OSU-Cascades Campusmarker and offers students living in the more central region of the state an opportunity to attend select classes at a campus location closer to their homes.


Colleges and schools

The academic programs are divided among twelve colleges and two schools, each with a dean responsible for all faculty, staff, students, and academic programs. Colleges are divided into departments administered by a department head or chair. Each department is responsible for academic programs leading to degrees, certificates, options, or minors.

Student government

The Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) is the officially recognized student government at Oregon State University and represents all students in campus affairs and at community, state, and federal levels regarding issues that directly influence the quality of, and access to, postsecondary education.



Oregon State has a large alumni base, famous for work in a broad range of professions. Out of over 200,000 alumni to graduate from the university, OSU considers scientist and peace activist Linus Pauling its most famous alumnus. Pauling is the world's only recipient of two unshared Nobel Prizes. Other notable academics include United States National Academy of Sciencesmarker members Paul H. Emmett, Milton Harris, and Wayne L. Hubbell. National Academy of Engineering member Octave Levenspiel and computer mouse inventor Douglas Engelbart, who is also credited with developing the initial concept of E-mail, make the list as well.

In the business world, OSU alumni hold or have held several prominent positions in various industries. This includes Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVIDIAmarker; Leonard Shoen, founder of U-Haul; Bernie Newcomb, co-founder of E*TRADE; John A. Young, former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard; Mercedes Alison Bates, first female officer of General Mills; and former vice president of its Betty Crocker Cooking division; Thomas J. Autzen, Plywood manufacturing pioneer and namesake of Autzen Stadiummarker; Mike and Brian McMenamin, co-founders of the McMenamins chain; and Timothy S. Leatherman, inventor of the Leatherman tool and founder of the Leatherman Tool Group.

In politics, alumni include former Governor of Idaho and United States Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus; former Governor of Oregon and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Douglas McKay; former Governor of Oregon John Hubert Hall; U.S. Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates; former U.S. Representatives Rod Chandler, Julia Butler Hansen, Norris Poulson, Lowell Stockman, and Jolene Unsoeld; former U.S. Senator Frederick Steiwer; and current U.S. Senator John Ensign. Several OSU alumni have military ties, including Medal of Honor recipients Edward Allworth and John Noble Holcomb; commander of Marine forces at Henderson Hall and USMC Colonel Anthony E. Van Dyke; and World War II flying ace & USMC Major General Marion Eugene Carl.

In arts and entertainment, alumni include Pulitzer Prize winners' Chris Anderson, George Oppen, and Roger Werth; Academy Award winner Harley Jessup; actor Michael Lowry; country music singer Travis Rush; and screenwriter Mike Rich.

Oregon State athletes have a had a significant showing in professional sports, including more than 15 MLB players, more than 20 NBA players, and more than 130 NFL players. Some of the more prominent athletes include Boston Red Sox player and 2007 World Series champion Jacoby Ellsbury; NFL Pro Bowlers Chad Ocho Cinco, T. J. Houshmandzadeh, Steven Jackson and Derek Anderson; Heisman Trophy winner Terry Baker; Houston Rockets player Brent Barry; former NBA player "Iron Man" A. C. Green; and 9-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton. OSU alumni have earned more than 15 Olympic medals, including Fosbury Flop creator Dick Fosbury; first American woman to high jump over 6' Joni Huntley; and undefeated amateur wrestler Robin Reed.

Other notable alumni include NASAmarker astronauts William Oefelein and Donald Pettit, Playboy Playmates of The Year Jodi Ann Paterson and Sara Jean Underwood, and Turkish billionaire Hüsnü Özyeğin.

Faculty and staff

OSU has several notable faculty members, including entomology professor George Poinar, Jr., whose work extracting DNA from insects fossilized in amber was the inspiration for the novel and film Jurassic Park.

OSU baseball coach Pat Casey was named Coach of the Year by several publications in both 2006 and 2007 when he led the baseball team to back-to-back national championships, and former OSU basketball coaches Slats Gill and Ralph Miller are both members of the Basketball Hall of Famemarker. Current OSU head basketball coach Craig Robinson is the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama.

Student life

Dixon Recreation Center
The city that Oregon State University calls home is the seventh largest city in the state. Still, Corvallismarker is a relatively small community and many of the local events have a strong connection to the university. Oregon State has over 300 active student organizations and groups, the most of any university in the Oregon University System. The campus is located only a few hours driving distance from any number of outdoor recreation opportunities. Several federal and state natural forests and parks make up popular student destinations. These include the Cascade Range, a rugged coastline, several large forests, a desert, and many rivers. Portlandmarker, Oregon's largest city, is north of the campus.

From 1930 until 1968, Oregon State University was home to the Gamma chapter of Phrateres, a philanthropic-social organization for female college students. Gamma was the third chapter of the organization, which eventually had over 20 chapters in Canadamarker and the United Statesmarker.

The majority of older students at Oregon State University live off-campus, but on-campus housing is available and typically home to incoming freshmen. There are 12 residence halls (dormitories) on campus, which are organized into individual Residence Hall Associations (RHA). Residents make-up the membership and each association holds their own elections to select management over the hall government.

The LaSells Stewart Centermarker is the conference and performing arts center for the campus. Many famous speakers have graced the stage of the campus' main auditorium, Austin Auditorium, while the Corvallis-OSU Symphony plays there frequently. The OSU Office of Conferences and Special Events is located within the auditorium.

The University is host to a radio station, KBVR 88.7 FMmarker, a television station, KBVR TV 26, an award-winning student newspaper, The Daily Barometer, an alternative newspaper, the OSU Liberty.

Two Oregon State students are members of the Oregon Student Association Board of Directors.

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement, convocation, and athletic games are: Oregon State Fight Song.


Reser Stadium
Oregon State University Benny Beaver Mascot
In a 2008 national ranking based on academics, athletic opportunity and overall performance, Oregon State was chosen as one of the "premier" universities in America. This ranking, performed by Stack Magazine, places Oregon State 29th in the nation's "Elite 50" universities and uncontested within the state.

The history of Oregon State athletics dates back to 1893, when "Jimmie the Coyote" was chosen as the college's mascot. This was replaced by the beaver in 1910 (the beaver remains the school's mascot today). In 1915, the college became one of the four charter members of the Pacific Coast Conference.

Football is played in Reser Stadiummarker. The current costumed mascot Benny the Beaver made his first appearance in 1952. The next year, 1953, saw the opening of the football facility, Parker Stadium (now named Reser Stadiummarker). The Raising Reser campaign expanded the stadium from 35,000 seats to 46,200 throughout 2006—2007. You can watch a time lapse webcam of the expansion.

1962 saw OSU's (and the west coast's) first Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Terry Baker. The University of Oregonmarker is often seen as the school's key athletic rival, with the annual Civil War football game between the two teams being one of the nation's longest-lived rivalries.

Trysting Tree is the name of Oregon State's golf course, dedicated in 1988, the tournament level course has been recognized by Golfweek magazine as one of the top five collegiate golf courses on the West Coast. Its name is traced to a tree near Benton Hall where student couples would meet and make dates.

Basketball is held in Gill Coliseummarker, named after former Beavers coach Slats Gill. The Civil War is one of the most contested rivalries in the nation.

Baseball is held in Goss Stadium at Coleman Fieldmarker. The OSU baseball team, managed by Pat Casey, won back-to-back NCAA Division I Baseball Championships in 2006 and 2007.

Softball is held in the OSU Softball Complex. Opened in April 2001, the $1.5 million dollar OSU Softball Complex seats 750. Oregon State hosted a Regional and Super Regional tournament in the 2006 NCAA tournament, winning both and moving on to the Women's College World Series.

Oregon State has a total of three NCAA championships. In addition to the two baseball titles, the Beavers won the 1961 NCAA Men's Cross Country Championship. In 1975, the men's rowing Varsity-4 with coxswain team won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Collegiate Rowing Championships in Syracuse, New Yorkmarker, establishing a course record which stood for 15 years. In 2006 and 2008, the Oregon State racquetball team won the USA Racquetball intercollegiate championship.

Oregon State University is also home to the oldest Marching Band in the PAC-10. The Oregon State University Marching Band was started in 1890 and has become a staple at Beaver Football games. OSU football coach Mike Riley credits the marching band with 10 points at each home game and 6 at each away game.


As of 2009, the total student enrollment (undergraduate and graduate) at OSU was 21,969.

In accordance with the University’s mission for diversity, many organizations, clubs, and departments have been formed, including the Office Of Community and Diversity and several cultural and resource centers.

Oregon State University has several cultural centers aimed at promoting diversity and supporting students of color, including the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, Native American Longhouse, Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, and the Centro Cultural César Chávez.

In addition to its mission of ethnic diversity, Oregon State University supports its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender population with a Pride Center.

Points of interest

See also


i. ^ This number does not include the 611 students enrolled at the OSU Cascades Campusmarker. If included, total student enrollment is 22,580.


  1. Chronological history of Oregon State University - 1920 to 1929. Accessed 24 March 2008.
  2. Mission, Values, Guidelines, OSU History, Accreditation
  3. Hatfield Marine Science Center
  4. OSU College Forests :: McDonald-Dunn Forest
  5. Information about Oregon State University
  6. History of Sea Grant: Sea Grant: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  7. About Us: O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory
  8. AEP-TICK - College of Business, Oregon State University
  10. NRHP Nomination Form, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
  11. Oregon State University Archives
  12. Part 5 of 20: A History of Athletic Mascots at Oregon State University
  13. Oregon State University Official Athletic Site
  14. Oregon State University

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