Carry Me Back: A History of Oregon State University (1856-1999)

Chapter 1: OSU and The Oregon Trail
Oregon State University's earliest roots can be found in a journey historians call 'The Great Migration.'

Chapter 2: The Birth of Corvallis College
Early travelers along The Oregon Trail to the Willamette Valley brought with them more than the tools and farming skills they would need to prosper in their new home. They also knew the importance of schools to the future of the state.

Chapter 3: Southern Democrats and Corvallis College (1859-1865)
Often unknown, even to native Oregonians, is that much of western Oregon below Portland in the last 40 years of the 19th century was dominated by southern politics.

Chapter 4: Stern rules against strict language.
The life and times of OSU's first president William A. Finley.

Chapter 5: The Farm
The first instruction in scientific agriculture on the West Coast would be conducted, future military leaders would be trained, and OSU intercollegiate athletics would be launched....all down on The Farm.

Chapter 6: A Biography of Alice Biddle, OSU's First Alumna
Alice Biddle, from Corvallis, was actually one of three students in Oregon State's first graduating class in 1870, but she is the one we most remember.

Chapter 7: ‘I Am Met by Three Serious Embarrassments.’--The Presidency of Benjamin Lee Arnold (1872-1892)
With Finley gone, it was up to the school’s Board of Trustees to seek a quality replacement. One was found in a stout-hearted, hard-working Virginian named Benjamin Lee Arnold.

Chapter 8: Arnold Struggles to Save His Infant College
President B. L. Arnold’s first few years passed somewhat placidly, with Corvallis College firmly in the hands of the Southern Methodist Church. Nevertheless, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction elsewhere in the state existed and had from the very start.

Chapter 9: Wallis Nash...A 'Gift' to Corvallis College from Victorian England
Wallis Nash came to Oregon to build a railroad. He stayed the rest of his life to build a university.

Chapter 10: Ben Arnold's Legacy
Benjamin Arnold would show time and again, twenty years to be exact, that Corvallis College was firmly in the hands of an extraordinary leader and president.  

Chapter 11: The Stick that Stirred the Drink
William"Will" Bloss, OSU’s first head coach, the great organizer, the opening spark of a century’s-old athletic tradition.

Chapter 12: The Birth of OSU Football
Next to "Will" H. Bloss, Oregon State’s first coach and quarterback, no one knew more about the 1893 football team at State Agricultural College (SAC) than a guy who wasn’t even on the team.

Chapter 13: In the Beginning...
As Oregon State team captain Brady Burnett walked to the center of the College Field on Lower Campus for the 2 p.m. toss of the coin that would mark the beginning of OSU football history, he was astonished at the scene.

Chapter 14: 1892-1896: The Presidency of John McKnight Bloss
From Civil War hero to Oregon State University's third president.

Chapter 15: The "Apostle’ of Fresh Air: The Life and Career of Margaret Comstock Snell (1844-1923)
When Margaret Comstock Snell passed quietly away of heart failure on Aug. 23, 1923, Oregon State University lost a giant, one of the truly great faculty members in the history of the university.

Chapter 16: "Petticoat Management:" The 11-Month Presidency of Henry B. Miller (1896-1897)
The story of a president who served for less than a year, one of the shortest tenures in the school's history.

Chapter 17: "My Little Farmer Boys": The Presidency of Thomas Gatch (1897-1907)
To say the least, the presidency of Henry B. Miller left Oregon Agricultural College in a whirlwind of controversy. The new president would have to be someone loaded with credentials, someone whose level of education and experience would not only bring about an immediate restoration of the school’s academic reputation, but whose mere appearance in Corvallis would also cast aside any lingering doubts that OAC had become a pawn of state politics.

Chapter 18: William Jasper Kerr (1907-1932): "OSU's Great Builder"
An extremely complex man, William Jasper Kerr was one of Oregon State's greatest presidents...its longest serving, most colorful, and certainly most controversial one.  

Chapter 19: "An Odd Mix of Triumph and Embarrassment": William Jasper Kerr Begins His Presidency
As we saw in Chapter 18, Kerr's move to Corvallis and Oregon Agricultural College in 1907 proved controversial right from the start.

Chapter 20: "When Giants Collide: The Final Years of William Jasper Kerr's Presidency"
"No man has done more for the land-grant college system than Dr. Kerr," wrote Paul R. Kelly, editor of the Oregonian in 1954. It was a true statement. Possibly more than any other individual before or since, Kerr understood the potential for the land-grant college and promoted his vision with a missionary's zeal from the moment he became president of OAC.

Chapter 21: The Golden Age of Traditions (1890-1920)
The traditions and customs surrounding student life at OSU, and how they came about, is an interesting story, albeit a complicated one to tell.

Chapter 22: Student Life and Student Government (1915-1940)
In the last chapter, we explored student traditions and customs at OSU during the first 30 years of the 20th century. This week, we will continue to touch on this subject, but in the broader context of student life and government in the years preceding the outbreak of World War II. Doing this allows us to bring into our story something of the lives and careers of the important faculty members of the period under review, some of whom are among the greatest names in the history of the university and not a few of whom have campus buildings named after them...Milam, Weniger, Poling, Kidder, and Peavy to name just a few.

Chapter 23: George Peavy and the Depression Years
As you read this week's chapter in our survey of the history of OSU, the university faces a budget cut of historic proportions...$19 million at present for the 2001-2002 fiscal year...and to meet the crisis, the administration is facing what could be the first major reorganization of the institution in decades. How history has a way of repeating itself. The situation facing OSU today is essentially the same as that facing President William Jasper Kerr in the later years of his tenure, as well as his successor, George Wilcox Peavy.

Chapter 24: The World War II Years
Saturday and Sunday, December 6-7, 1941. Many Oregon Staters of that generation forever referred to these two days as the "Last Weekend." For thousands of students, alumni and faculty, it was.

Chapter 25: Oregon Staters and the Pacific Theater
It’s no wonder Oregonians have always loved Hawaii. It’s a lot like Oregon with the thermostat turned up a few notches. It is lush, green and flower-laden and offer the ocean, volcanic mountains, and friendly locals.

Chapter 26: Oregon Staters and the War in Europe
Fighting it out with General Ike in North Africa and Sicily.

Christmas Story from the War
Here is a short but delightful piece written by Tom Bennett for the Oregon Stater in December 1991. The story takes place outside a small Leyte Valley village in the Philippines on the afternoon of December 24, 1944, as eyewitnessed by alumnus Prosser Clark of the Class of 1938, a lieutenant colonel and battalion commander with the 96th infantry division.

Chapter 27: The "Red Scare" Comes to Corvallis
No story from the years following World War II covers the political, social and cultural climate on the Oregon State campus better than the "Spitzer Affair," in which OSU President August L. Strand honestly believed several of his new faculty hires were secretly trying to turn the campus over to the growing menace of communism.

Chapter 28: Spitzer, Part II
Strand’s success in presenting his case to the public didn’t end the "Spitzer Affair." It soon became part of the larger, increasingly acrimonious national debate over the preservation of academic freedom--and other constitutional rights--in a society that felt threatened by a non-democratic, totalitarian enemy.

Chapter 29: OSC Becomes OSU: The Legacy of August LeRoy Strand
It would be a historical injustice to OSU President August L. Strand to begin and end his tenure at Oregon State with the Spitzer Affair, which, as we saw in Chapters 27 and 28, occupied much of the energy of his presidency during the late 1940s.

Important OSU alumni and their achievements.
Amazing Beavers (1870-1900)
Amazing Beavers (World War I)
Amazing Beavers (1900-1930)
Amazing Beavers (1930-1960)
Amazing Beavers (1960-1999)