Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Oregon State University

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$492.5 million (2016)

Ron Adams, interim

Acceptance rate
77.8% (2014)

Total enrollment
28,886 (2014)

Academic affiliations

Edward John Ray

Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

Oregon State University


Undergraduate tuition and fees
Local tuition: 10,296 USD (2016), Domestic tuition: 28,761 USD (2016)

University of Oregon, Portland State University, Western Oregon University, Ohio State University, Linn–Benton Community College


Oregon state university campus tour

Oregon State University (OSU) is a coeducational, public research university in the northwest United States, located in Corvallis, Oregon. The university offers more than 200 undergraduate degree programs along with numerous graduate and doctoral degree programs. It is also the largest university in the state, with a total enrollment exceeding 28,000. More than 230,000 people have graduated from OSU since its founding. The Carnegie Foundation designates Oregon State University as a "Community Engagement" university and classifies it as a doctoral university with a "Highest research activity" status along with another 114 top U.S. academic institutions.


OSU is one of 73 land-grant universities in the United States. The school is also a sea-grant, space-grant, and sun-grant institution, making it one of only two U.S. institutions to obtain all four designations and the only public university to do so (Cornell is the only other with similar designations). OSU received $308.9 million in research grants and contracts for the 2015 fiscal year, which is more research funding than all other public universities in Oregon combined.

A day in the life oregon state university

Early years

The university's roots date back to 1856, when it was established as the area's first community school for primary and preparatory education. Throughout the university's history, the name changed eleven times. Like other early established land-grant colleges and universities, the majority of name changes occurred through the 1920s. Generally, name changes were made to better align a school with the largest available federal grants in agriculture research.

Corvallis area Freemasons played an important role in developing the early school and several large campus buildings are named after these founding fathers. 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 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 First Morrill Act and the name of the school was changed to Corvallis State Agricultural College. The school 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 State

The Oregon Unification Bill was passed in 1929 by the Legislative Assembly, which placed the school under the oversight of the newly formed Oregon State Board of Higher Education. A doctoral in education was first offered in the early 1930s, with the conferral of four Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 1935. This 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 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 Ecampus were aligned under this new division. Ecampus delivers OSU degree programs and courses online and at a distance to students worldwide.


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 Astoria and the Food Innovation Laboratory in Portland. The university's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) operates several state-of-the-art laboratories, including the Hatfield Marine Science Center and three oceanographic research vessels out of Newport. 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. CEOAS is also leading the design and construction of the next class of ocean-going research vessels for the National Science Foundation, which will be the largest grant or contract ever received by any university in Oregon. OSU also manages nearly 11,250 acres (4,550 ha) 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 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. 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 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, now makes Oregon State one of only two such universities (the other being Cornell University) and the only public institution with all four designations.

In 1999, OSU finished a $40 million remodelling of the campus library. Known as the Valley Library, the totally remodelled 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. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory is 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.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences funds two research centers at Oregon State University. The Environmental Health Sciences Center has been funded continually since 1969 and the Superfund Research Center is a newer center that started funding in 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.

Rankings and recognition

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

The 2016 edition of Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Oregon State in the "151 to 200" tier for universities worldwide and "62-71" nationally. In its rankings for 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Oregon State University tied for 143rd nationally and as the 71st (tied) top public university. In addition, U.S. News & World Report ranks OSU as tied for the 218th best university globally.

In its 2016 Global Ranking of Academic Subjects, the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Oregon State University's Environmental Science & Engineering program 20th in the world, its Electrical & Electronic Engineering program was ranked in the top "151-200" positions worldwide, while its Materials Science & Engineering program was ranked among the top "301-400" international programs.

Moreover, The forestry and agricultural sciences subject at Oregon State University ranks 9th in the world (7th in the US), according to QS World University rankings in 2015.

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.


Admission to Oregon State is rated "selective" by U.S. News & World Report.

For Fall 2015, OSU received 14,058 freshmen applications; 11,016 were admitted (78.4%) and 3,593 enrolled. 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. The middle 50% range of the ACT Composite score was 21-28.

Main campus (Corvallis)

The 420-acre (170 ha) main campus is located in Corvallis, in the Willamette Valley. In 1994, OSU was rated the safest campus in the Pac-10 in a study of universities. In September 2008, much of the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis was designated the Oregon State University Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places. 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 National Register took two years.

Branch campus (Bend)

OSU recently completed the construction of a branch campus located in Bend. This new branch campus is called OSU-Cascades 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.

Ecampus (online)

Oregon State offers more than 40 degree and certificate programs made up from a selection of over 900 online courses in 90 subject areas. OSU's online bachelor's degree programs were ranked 5th in the United States by US News & World Report in 2015. These programs and courses are developed by OSU faculty and delivered online by Oregon State University Ecampus. Students who pursue an education online with OSU earn the same diploma and transcript as the university's on-campus students.

Colleges and schools

The academic programs are divided among twelve colleges plus 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.

International partnerships

Oregon State has varied, and numerous, partnership agreements with international institutions that include James Cook University in Australia, the University of Forestry in Bulgaria, Lincoln University in New Zealand and India's Gokula Education Foundation founded by Indian industrialist M. S. Ramaiah.

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, post-secondary education.

Student life

Corvallis is the tenth largest city in the state. Still, it is a relatively small community and many of the local events have a strong connection to the university. Oregon State has over 400 active student organizations and groups. 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, the high desert and numerous rivers and lakes. Portland, Oregon's largest city, is 85 miles (137 km) 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 Canada and the United States.

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 16 residence halls on campus, 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 their own elections to select management over the hall government. All of the councils are managed by the Residence Hall Association (RHA).

The LaSells Stewart Center 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 FM, a television station, KBVR TV 26 and an award-winning student newspaper, The Daily Barometer.

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.


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 that year. Since then, the University of Oregon has joined Oregon State in the STACK rankings.

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; it has remained the school's mascot. In 1915, the college became one of the four charter members of the Pacific Coast (Athletic) Conference.

Football is played in Reser Stadium. 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 Stadium). The Raising Reser campaign expanded the stadium from 35,000 seats to 46,200 throughout 2006–07. A time lapse video recording of the expansion is viewable on the internet. 1962 saw OSU's (and the west coast's) first Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Terry Baker. The University of Oregon 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's name is traced to a tree near Benton Hall where student couples would meet and make dates. Basketball is held in Gill Coliseum, named after former Beavers coach Slats Gill, also home to the University's Collegiate wrestling team. The Civil War is one of the most contested rivalries in the nation. Baseball is held in Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. 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 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 York, establishing a course record which stood for 15 years. In 2006 and 2008, the Oregon State racquetball team won the USA racquetball intercollegiate championship.


In fall 2016, total student enrollment was 30,354, the largest among all Oregon universities.

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.

Fund raising

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. 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. 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, putting Oregon State in a group of 35 public universities to cross the billion-dollar fundraising mark and one of only two organizations in the Pacific Northwest to reach the $1 billion campaign milestone. The Campaign for OSU concluded on December 31, 2014, with more than $1.1 billion from 106,000 donors.

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. The OSU Foundation is governed by a volunteer Board of Trustees. It holds assets of more than $650 million and manages the majority portion of the university’s composite endowment, valued at more than $505 million (June 30, 2015).


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. Pauling is the only recipient of two unshared Nobel Prizes, awarded in the fields of chemistry and peace.

Arts and entertainment

In arts and entertainment, alumni include:

  • Trevor Bardette, actor
  • Geffrey Davis, poet
  • Cathy Marshall, news anchor
  • Greg Nibler, radio host
  • George Oppen, Pulitzer Prize winner
  • Mike Rich, screenwriter
  • Travis Rush, country music singer
  • Lee Arden Thomas, architect who designed the OSU Memorial Union.
  • Business

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

  • Thomas J. Autzen, plywood manufacturing pioneer and namesake of the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium
  • Mercedes Alison Bates, the first female officer of General Mills and former vice-president of its Betty Crocker Cooking division
  • Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVIDIA
  • Timothy S. Leatherman, inventor of the Leatherman tool and founder of the Leatherman Tool Group; and Don Robert, CEO of Experian.
  • Brian McMenamin, co-founder of the McMenamins restaurant/hotel/theater chain
  • Bernie Newcomb, co-founder of E*TRADE
  • Leonard Shoen, founder of U-Haul
  • John A. Young, former president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard
  • Military

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

  • Edward Allworth, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Marion Eugene Carl, World War II flying ace and USMC Major General
  • Elmer E. Hall, World War II Brigadier General, USMC
  • John Noble Holcomb, Medal of Honor recipient
  • Anthony E. Van Dyke, commander of Marine forces at Henderson Hall and Colonel of the USMC
  • Ulysses G. McAlexander, Commander of Army ROTC from 1907-1911 and again from 1915-1917. Earned the nickname "Rock of the Marne" during World War I. Helped with the construction of the Memorial Union and received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1930.
  • Oregon State University is also 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. 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 the 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." On 1 July 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. Today, the Army and Air Force ROTC programs at the University share the McAlexander Fieldhouse.


    In politics, notable alumni include the following:

  • Cecil D. Andrus, former Governor of Idaho and United States Secretary of the Interior
  • Rod Chandler, former U.S. Representative
  • John Ensign, former U.S. Senator
  • John Hubert Hall, former Governor of Oregon
  • Julia Butler Hansen, former U.S. Representative
  • Douglas McKay, former Governor of Oregon and U.S. Secretary of the Interior
  • Norris Poulson, former U.S. Representative
  • Frederick Steiwer, former U.S. Senator
  • Lowell Stockman, former U.S. Representative
  • Jolene Unsoeld, former U.S. Representative
  • Mary Carlin Yates, former U.S. Ambassador to Burundi and Ghana
  • Kevin Cameron, former U.S. Representative
  • Science and engineering

    Notable science and engineering alumni include:

  • Douglas Engelbart, computer mouse inventor who is also credited with developing the initial concept of e-mail.
  • Paul H. Emmett, staff of the Manhattan Project
  • Milton Harris, founder of Harris Research Laboratories and former chair of the Board of Directors of the American Chemical Society
  • Sara Harris, climate scientist and 3M National Teaching Fellow at the University of British Columbia
  • Wayne L. Hubbell, Jules Stein Professor of Ophthalmology at UCLA
  • Donald M. Kerr, wildlife biologist and founded the High Desert Museum
  • Linus Pauling, only winner of two unshared Nobel prizes, chemist known for advancing the theory of the chemical bond and the concept of ortho-molecular medicine.
  • Stephen O. Rice, a pioneer in the related fields of information theory, communications theory, and telecommunications
  • William Tebeau, first African-American male graduate, Chemical Engineering, 1948, namesake of William Tebeau Residence Hall
  • Sports

    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.

  • Derek Anderson, NFL Pro Bowler
  • Terry Baker, Quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner in 1962
  • Brent Barry, former NBA player
  • Nathan Coy, mixed martial artist, former Maximum Fighting Championship Welterweight Champion
  • Jacoby Ellsbury, two-time World Series champion and current Yankees center fielder
  • Dick Fosbury, Olympian high jumper and creator of the Fosbury Flop
  • A. C. Green, former NBA player nicknamed "Iron Man"
  • Les Gutches, Freestyle Wrestling World Champion
  • T. J. Houshmandzadeh, NFL Pro Bowler
  • Joni Huntley, first American woman to high jump over 6 feet (1.8 m)
  • Steven Jackson, Running back, NFL Pro Bowler and currently a free agent
  • Chad Johnson, Former NFL wide receiver/Pro Bowler now with the Canadian Football League
  • Gary Payton, 2006 NBA champion, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and 9-time NBA All-Star
  • Robin Reed, undefeated amateur wrestler
  • Sean Mannion, American Quarterback for the St. Louis Rams
  • Brandin Cooks, American Wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints
  • Markus Wheaton, American Wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Others

    Other notable alumni include:

  • Stacy Allison, First American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest
  • William Oefelein, NASA astronaut
  • Hüsnü Özyeğin, Turkish business leader, self-made billionaire, philanthropist
  • Jodi Ann Paterson, Playboy Playmate of The Year
  • Donald Pettit, NASA astronaut
  • Sara Jean Underwood, Playboy Playmate of The Year
  • Faculty and staff

    OSU has several notable faculty members including:

  • George Poinar, Jr., entomology professor whose work extracting DNA from insects fossilized in amber was the inspiration for the novel and film Jurassic Park.
  • Pat Casey, baseball coach who 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
  • Slats Gill, former OSU basketball coach and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Ralph Miller, former OSU basketball coach and member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
  • Dana Reason, Director of the Popular Music Studies Program and acclaimed Canadian pianist and composer
  • Craig Robinson, former OSU head basketball coach and the brother-in-law of President Barack Obama.
  • Extension Service program

    OSU Extension Service program is a section for non-students and adult education established on July 24, 1911 under the leadership of Vice-Provost Scott Reed (OSU Extension Service Administration) OSU Extensions, Combined Experiment & Extension Centers, Branch Experiment Stations, and Open Campus are located in several counties. Programs inclde 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources (includes OSU Master Gardener, Metro Master Gardener), Family and Community Health/SNAP-Ed, and Forestry and Natural Resources.

    Points of interest

  • Hatfield Marine Science Center
  • Linus Pauling Institute
  • O. H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory
  • Oregon State University Cascades Campus
  • Peavy Arboretum
  • References

    Oregon State University Wikipedia

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