Oregon State University

Oregon State University (OSU) is a public land-grant research university in Corvallis, Oregon. OSU offers more than 200 undergraduate-degree programs along with a variety of graduate and doctoral degrees. On-campus enrollment averages near 32,000, making it the state's largest university. Since its founding over 272,000 students have graduated from OSU.[7][8] It is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity" with an additional, optional designation as a "Community Engagement" university.[9]

Oregon State University
University seal consisting of an outer ring of text "Oregon State University 1868," within is shown an American eagle atop a shield depicting mountains, an elk, a covered wagon, and the Pacific Ocean; in the ocean a British man-of-war is departing and an American steamer is arriving; the second quartering shows a sheaf, a plow, and a pickaxe and above them a banner inscribed "The Union"
Former names
Corvallis Academy (1856–1858)
Corvallis College (1858–1868)
Corvallis State Agricultural College (1868–1876)
State Agricultural College (1876–1881)
Corvallis State Agricultural College (1881–1882)
Oregon State Agricultural College (1882–1886)
State Agricultural College of Oregon (1886–1890)
Oregon Agricultural College (1890–1927)
Oregon State Agricultural College (1927–1937)
Oregon State College (1937–1961)
Motto"Out there"[1]
TypePublic land-grant research university
Established1868; 154 years ago (1868)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$819.6 million (2021)[2]
Budget$1.1 billion[3]
PresidentRebecca Johnson (interim)
ProvostEdward Feser
Students31,719 (Fall 2019)[4]
Undergraduates26,247 (Fall 2019)[4]
Postgraduates4,852 (Fall 2019)[4]
Other students
620 (Fall 2019)[4]
Location, ,
United States

44°33′57″N 123°16′44″W / 44.56583°N 123.27889°W / 44.56583; -123.27889Coordinates: 44°33′57″N 123°16′44″W / 44.56583°N 123.27889°W / 44.56583; -123.27889
CampusSmall City,[5] 400 acres (160 ha)
NewspaperThe Daily Barometer
ColorsBeaver Orange, Paddletail Black, & Bucktooth White[6]
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I FBSPac-12
MascotBenny Beaver
A shield, a tree in an open book in base, sunrise above the ocean, three mountain tops emblazoned 1868, a beaver in crest; supporting the university wordmark
Oregon State University is located in the United States
Oregon State University
Oregon State University
Location in the United States
Oregon State University is located in Oregon
Oregon State University
Oregon State University

As a land-grant university, OSU also participates in the sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant research consortia; it is one of only four such universities in the country (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Cornell University and Pennsylvania State University are the others).[10] OSU received $441 million in research funding for the 2017 fiscal year and consistently ranks as the state's top earner in research funding.[11]


The 1800sEdit

OAC Home Economics Department at Multnomah Hotel in Portland, 1920

The university's roots date to 1856, when it was founded as a primary and preparatory community school known as Corvallis Academy. The school's first teacher and principal was John Wesley Johnson, a famous figure in Oregon higher education. Johnson received his secondary education in Corvallis before working at the new academy. He later attended Yale University and was instrumental in developing other Oregon colleges.[12] Within a decade of its inception, college-level coursework was added to the academy's curriculum, making it the first public college in the region and a magnet for Oregon's young adults seeking a profession.[13] The university has had 11 names since opening, eight of them during the 1800s. Like many of today's land-grant colleges and universities, name changes were common during this period and helped schools better align themselves with some of the largest available grants in agricultural research.[14][15][16]

Early names

Year Name
1856 Corvallis Academy
1858 Corvallis College*
1868 Corvallis State Agricultural College
1876 State Agricultural College
1881 Corvallis State Agricultural College
1882 Oregon State Agricultural College
1886 State Agricultural College of Oregon
1890 Oregon Agricultural College
1927 Oregon State Agricultural College
1937 Oregon State College
1961 Oregon State University

*Unofficial name: 1868-1885[17]

Corvallis area Freemasons played a leading role in developing the early school. Several of the university's largest buildings are named after these early founders.[18][19] The school offered its first college-level curriculum in 1865, under the administration of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South and the school's first president, William A. Finley.[20]

On August 22, 1868, official articles of incorporation were filed for Corvallis College. October 27, 1868, is known as OSU Charter Day. The Oregon Legislative Assembly designated Corvallis College as the "agricultural college of the state of Oregon" and the recipient of the Land Grant. Acceptance of this grant required the college to comply with the requirements set forth in the Morrill Land-Grant Acts and the name of the school was changed to Corvallis State Agricultural College. The school was then authorized to grant Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees. The first graduating class was in 1870, with Bachelor of Arts degrees. As the school's name changed so did its mission. Coursework in the sciences and technology became the most popular starting in 1900.[21]

The 1900sEdit

In 1929 the Legislative Assembly passed the Oregon Unification Bill, which placed the school under the oversight of the newly formed Oregon State Board of Higher Education. A doctorate in education was first offered in the early 1930s, with the conferral of four Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1935. That year also saw the creation of the first summer session. The growing diversity in degree programs led to another name change in 1937, when the school became Oregon State College.[22]

The institution's current name, Oregon State University, was adopted on March 6, 1961, by a legislative act signed into law by Governor Mark Hatfield.[23]


Main campus (Corvallis)Edit

Aerial view of Memorial Union Quad

The 420-acre (170 ha) main campus is the centerpiece of Corvallis, Oregon. It is 83 miles south of Portland, near the middle of the state's Willamette Valley. Much of the main campus was designed by landscape architect John Charles Olmsted in 1906. In 2008, Olmsted's early campus design was designated by the National Register of Historic Places as the Oregon State University Historic District.[24] It is the only college or university campus in Oregon to hold a historic district designation.[25][26] The Memorial Union was designed by OSU alumni and renowned Oregon architect, Lee Arden Thomas. It has been recognized as "one of the finest examples of Neoclassical architecture in Oregon."[27]

Branch campus (Bend)Edit

In 2016 OSU completed the construction of a branch campus in Bend. This campus is called OSU-Cascades and offers students living in Oregon's central region an opportunity to attend select classes closer to their homes.[28]

Ecampus (online)Edit

Oregon State offers more than 80 degree and certificate programs made up from a selection of over 1,500 online courses in more than 110 subjects.[29] US News & World Report ranked OSU's online bachelor's degree programs 4th in the nation in 2021 and has ranked them in the top 10 since 2013.[30][31] In 2021 College Choice ranked the Ecampus liberal arts program number one in the nation.[32] The OSU faculty teaching on campus also offer many of these same programs and courses online through the Oregon State University Ecampus website. Students who pursue an online education at Oregon State earn the same diploma and transcript as on-campus students.[33]

Organization and administrationEdit

Colleges and schoolsEdit

The academic programs are divided among 12 colleges and the graduate school, each with a dean responsible for all faculty, staff, students and academic programs. Colleges are divided either into departments administered by a department head/chair or schools administered by a director who oversees program coordinators. Each school or department is responsible for academic programs leading to degrees, certificates, options or minors.

Educational extensionEdit

OSU's Beta Campanile Tower

The OSU Educational Extension is a section for non-students and adult education.

Extension ServiceEdit

The OSU Extension service is an agricultural extension established on July 24, 1911,[34] under the leadership of Vice Provost Ivory W. Lyles (OSU Extension Service Administration).[35] There are OSU Extension offices, Combined Experiment & Extension Centers, and Branch Experiment Stations in several counties.[36] Programs include 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources (includes OSU Master Gardener), Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed, Forestry and Natural Resources, OSU Open Campus, Outdoor School, and Oregon Sea Grant.[37]


Together with university leaders, the OSU Foundation publicly launched Oregon State's first comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Campaign for OSU, on October 26, 2007, with a goal of $625 million.[38] Donors exceeded the goal in October 2010 nearly a year ahead of schedule, resulting in a goal increase to $850 million. In March 2012, the goal was raised to $1 billion.[39] At OSU's annual State of the University address in Portland on January 31, 2014, President Edward J. Ray announced that campaign contributions had passed $1 billion, making OSU one of 35 public universities to cross the billion-dollar fundraising mark and one of only two organizations in the Pacific Northwest to reach that milestone.[40][41][42] The Campaign for OSU concluded on December 31, 2014, with more than $1.1 billion from 106,000 donors.[43]

The Oregon State University Foundation is a nonprofit organization chartered to raise and administer private funds in support of the university's education, research and outreach, governed by a volunteer board of trustees.[44] It holds net assets exceeding $744 million[45] and manages most of the university's composite endowment, valued at more than $596 million as of 2018.[46]

International partnershipsEdit

Weatherford Hall, 2009

Oregon State has varied and numerous[47] partnership agreements with international institutions, including James Cook University in Australia, the University of Forestry in Bulgaria, Lincoln University in New Zealand and India's Gokula Education Foundation.[48]

Academic profileEdit


Admission to Oregon State is rated "selective" by U.S. News & World Report.[49] In fall 2019, total student enrollment was 31,719,[4] the largest among all Oregon universities.

For fall 2015, OSU received 14,058 freshman applications; 11,016 were admitted (78.4%) and 3,593 enrolled.[50] The average high school grade point average (GPA) of the enrolled freshmen was 3.58, while the middle 50% range of SAT scores were 480-610 for critical reading, 490-630 for math, and 470-590 for writing.[50] The middle 50% range of the ACT Composite score was 21–28.[50]

Annual Fall Freshman Statistics[50][51][52][53][54]

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Applicants 12,197 12,330 14,239 14,115 14,058
Admits 9,471 9,720 11,303 10,975 11,016
% Admitted 77.7 78.8 79.4 77.8 78.4
Enrolled 3,506 3,333 3,970 3,718 3,593
Avg Freshman GPA 3.56 3.56 3.56 3.59 3.58
SAT Range (out of 2400)* NA 1430-1810 1430-1810 1440-1820 1440-1830
ACT Range (out of 36)* 21-27 21-27 21-27 21-28 21-28

* middle 50%


OSU has more majors, minors and special programs than any other university or college in Oregon.[55]


Research has played a central role in the university's overall operations for much of its history.[56][57][58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65] 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. Research facilities beyond the campus include the John L. Fryer Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory in Corvallis,[66] the Seafood Laboratory in Astoria and the Food Innovation Laboratory in Portland.[67]

An OSU marine technician at Hatfield Marine Science Center prepares a surface mooring

The university's College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) operates several laboratories, including the Hatfield Marine Science Center and multiple oceanographic research vessels based in Newport.[68] CEOAS is now co-leading the largest ocean science project in U.S. history, the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The OOI features a fleet of undersea gliders at six sites in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with multiple observation platforms.[69] CEOAS is also leading the design and construction of the next class of ocean-faring research vessels for the National Science Foundation, which will be the largest grant or contract ever received by any Oregon university.[70] OSU also manages nearly 11,250 acres (4,550 ha) of forest land, including the McDonald-Dunn Research Forest.[71]

Irish Bend Covered Bridge - The west side of campus is dedicated, primarily, to agricultural research. It is also home to this historic landmark.

The 2005 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education recognized OSU as a "comprehensive doctoral with medical/veterinary" university. It is one of three such universities in the Pacific Northwest to be classified in this category. In 2006, Carnegie also recognized OSU as having "very high research activity," making it the only university in Oregon to attain these combined classifications.[72]

The National Sea Grant College Program was founded in the 1960s. OSU is one of the original four Sea Grant Colleges selected in 1971.[73]

In 1967 the Radiation Center 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 (HEU) for fuel. U.S. News & World Report's 2008 rankings placed OSU eighth in the nation in graduate nuclear engineering.

OSU was one of the early members of the federal Space Grant program.[74] Designated in 1991, the additional grant program made Oregon State one of only 13 schools in the United States 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, makes Oregon State one of only three such universities (the others being Cornell University and Penn State) and the first of two public institutions with all four designations (the other being Penn State).

In 2001, OSU'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. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is on the edge of the campus and is one of the world's largest and most sophisticated laboratories for education, research and testing in coastal, ocean and related areas.[75]

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funds two research centers at OSU. The Environmental Health Sciences Center[76] has been funded since 1969 and the Superfund Research Center[77] has been funded since 2009.

OSU administers the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, a United States Forest Service facility dedicated to forestry and ecology research. The Andrews Forest is a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve.

OSU's Open Source Lab is a nonprofit founded in 2003 and funded in part by corporate sponsors that include Facebook, Google, and IBM.[78][79][80] The organization's goal is to advance open source technology, and it hires and trains OSU students in software development and operations for large-scale IT projects. The lab hosts a number of projects, including a contract with the Linux Foundation.[78][81]


Construction of the Oregon Agricultural College Armory, known today as McAlexander Fieldhouse, was completed in 1910.

Oregon State University is one of the few universities to have ROTC detachments for each branch of the US Military. Oregon State University Army ROTC is a distinguished program and has been taught regularly since 1873. The so-called Beaver Battalion is known as the West Point of the West for producing more commissioned officers than any other non-military school during World War II.[82] It is located in McAlexander Fieldhouse, named after General Ulysses G. McAlexander, the former commander of Army ROTC.

After the Second World War ended in 1945, a Department of Naval Science was added at Oregon State. Providing officer training for both the US Navy and the US Marine Corps, it is now one of the largest in the nation and has earned the unofficial title "Naval Academy of the Northwest."[83] On July 1, 1949, the US Army Air Corps training branch became a separate officer training unit now known as Aerospace Science. The Oregon State Air Force ROTC draws more freshmen scholarships than any other AFROTC unit in the nation and has had over 1,000 officers commissioned. In 1977, two graduates of the OSU AFROTC became the first women pilots in the Air Force.[84] Today, the Army and Air Force ROTC programs at the university share the McAlexander Fieldhouse.


In 1999, OSU finished a $40 million remodeling of the campus library. Known as the Valley Library, the remodeled building was selected by The Library Journal as its 1999 Library of the Year, the first academic library so named.[85]

Rankings and recognitionEdit

In 2021, U.S. News & World Report ranked OSU tied for 139th nationally, tied for 71st top public and tied for 58th "most innovative" university in the U.S., and tied for 277th best globally.[86]

In its 2021 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Oregon State University's oceanography 5th in the world, its agricultural sciences was ranked in the top "50" positions worldwide, while its earth sciences, ecology and water resources program was ranked among the top "100" international programs.[87]

Agriculture and forestry at Oregon State University ranks 26th in the world (11th in the U.S.), according to QS World University Rankings in 2021.[88]

In 2012, ECONorthwest conducted an economic impact analysis that found that each year OSU has a $2.06 billion economic footprint. $1.93 billion of this total was in the state of Oregon.[89][90]

Student lifeEdit

Corvallis is Oregon's 10th-largest city. It is a relatively small community and many of the local events have a strong connection to the university. OSU has over 400 active student organizations and groups. The campus is only a few hours' driving distance from any number of outdoor recreation opportunities. Several federal and state natural forests and parks are popular student destinations. These include the Cascade Range, a rugged coastline, several large forests, the high desert and numerous rivers and lakes. Portland, Oregon's largest city, is 85 mi (137 km) north of campus.

From 1930[101] to 1968, OSU 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 Canada and the U.S.

Most older OSU students live off campus, but on-campus housing is available and required for most incoming freshmen. There are 16 residence halls on campus,[102] which are organized into individual Hall Councils. The residence halls include Bloss Hall, Buxton Hall, Callahan Hall, Cauthorn Hall, Dixon Lodge, Finley Hall, Halsell Hall, Hawley Hall, International Living-Learning Center, McNary Hall, Poling Hall, Sackett Hall, Tebeau Hall, Weatherford Hall, West Hall, and Wilson Hall. Residents make up the membership and each council holds its own elections to select management over the hall government. All the councils are managed by the Residence Hall Association (RHA).[103]

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

The university is home to Orange Media Network, the university's student media department. Orange Media Network encompasses the award-winning The Daily Barometer student newspaper, KBVR 88.7 FM, KBVR-TV, Prism Art and Literary Journal, lifestyle magazine Beaver's Digest, and fashion magazine DAMchic.

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 Hail to Old OSU and the Alma Mater.

There is a YMCA-YWCA Round Table at the university.[104]

Student governmentEdit

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, post-secondary education.


Undergraduate demographics as of Fall 2020
Race and ethnicity[105] Total
White 62% 62
Hispanic 12% 12
Other[a] 10% 10
Asian 8% 8
Foreign national 6% 6
Black 2% 2
Native American 1% 1
Economic diversity
Low-income[b] 23% 23
Affluent[c] 77% 77

Like most American universities and colleges, OSU actively works to diversify its faculty and staff. In 1993, OSU reported having difficulties retaining and hiring minority faculty members. Only 150 out of 2,284 faculty members were black, Native American, Asian, or Hispanic.[106] In response, the school president and vice president introduced a hiring initiative to promote and enhance diversity. The initiative recognizes the compelling need to build a welcoming and inclusive university community and the direct relationship between excellence and diversity.[107]

In 2007, Scott Reed was named Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement as OSU Extension Service and OSU Ecampus were aligned under this new division. Ecampus delivers OSU degree programs and courses online and at a distance to students worldwide.[108] In accordance with the university's mission for diversity, may organizations, clubs, and departments have been formed, including the Office Of Community and Diversity[109] 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.


OSU mascot Benny Beaver

In a 2008 national ranking of academics, athletic opportunity and overall performance, Oregon State was selected as one of America's "premier" universities. The ranking, performed by STACK magazine, placed Oregon State 29th in the nation's "Elite 50" universities and was uncontested within the state for that year.[110] Since then, the University of Oregon has also appeared in the STACK rankings.

The history of Oregon State athletics dates back to 1893 when "Jimmie the Coyote" was recognized as the first official mascot.[111] In 1910, the official mascot was replaced by the beaver and remains the school's mascot to this day. In 1915, the university's varsity athletic teams were invited to join the Pacific Coast (Athletic) Conference as one of four charter members.

Reser Stadium now serves as the home field for the school's football team. The school mascot is Benny the Beaver and first appeared on the football sidelines in 1952. The next year Oregon State added a football stadium to its campus, known then as Parker Stadium. Fundraisers in 2006 and 2007 helped expand Reser Stadium from 35,000 seats to 46,200. A time lapse video recording of the expansion is viewable on the internet.[112] 1962 saw OSU's (and the west coast's) first Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Terry Baker. The University of Oregon is the university's in-state rival for athletics. The annual Oregon–Oregon State football rivalry football game is one of the longest-running rivalries in all of college football.

The university's home golf course, Trysting Tree's, features championship-worthy golf and practice facilities. The name of the course can be traced back to a locally famous tree near Community Hall on campus where student couples would meet to make dates. Basketball is held in Gill Coliseum and named after former Beavers coach Slats Gill. The Coliseum is also home to the university's Collegiate wrestling team. Baseball is played in Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. The OSU baseball team, won back-to-back NCAA Division I Baseball Championships in 2006 and 2007[113] and added a third win in 2018.[114][115] Softball is held in the OSU Softball Complex. Opened in April 2001, the $1.5 million 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 four NCAA championships. In addition to the three baseball titles (2006, 2007 and 2018), 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 York, establishing a course record which stood for 15 years.[116] The Oregon State racquetball team has won 10 consecutive USA racquetball intercollegiate championships, beginning in 2008.[117]

The 2018 Oregon State baseball team won the NCAA Division I Championship defeating the Arkansas Razorbacks in three games making it their third title ever in the sport of baseball managed by the same manager from the previous two titles Pat Casey.


Faculty and staffEdit

OSU has several notable faculty members, including:


A complete list of Oregon State alumni is available here.

Oregon State University has numerous nationally and internationally famous alumni who have contributed significantly to their professions. Among over 200,000 OSU alumni, scientist and peace activist Linus Pauling may be the most famous.[118] Pauling is the only recipient of two unshared Nobel Prizes, in the fields of chemistry and peace.[85][119]

Arts and entertainmentEdit

In arts and entertainment, alumni include:


In the business world, some OSU alumni hold or have held prominent positions in various industries, including:


Several notable OSU alumni are associated with the military, including:

Joint Service Review 2015. From left to right; Army ROTC, Naval ROTC, Air Force ROTC.


In politics, notable alumni include the following:

Science and engineeringEdit

Notable science and engineering alumni include:


Oregon State athletes have had a significant showing in professional sports, including more than 15 MLB players, more than 20 NBA players and more than 130 NFL players.[120][121][122]


Other notable alumni include:

Points of interestEdit

Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, 2022

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit


  1. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  2. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  3. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


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  3. ^ "Annual Operating Budget (Orange Book)" (PDF). Oregon State University. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Enrollment at a Glance" (PDF). Oregon State University Office of Institutional Research. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
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