Commerce instruction was offered at Oregon State University from the time of its founding in 1868. A Department of Commerce was established at OSU in 1900 and the School of Commerce was formed as a professional school in 1908. However, the School of Commerce was transferred to the University of Oregon in 1932 as part of consolidation of academic programs at the campuses of the Oregon State System of Higher Education. A business administration degree was restored at Oregon State in 1943 and a School of Business and Technology was established in 1947. In 1983, the name was changed to the College of Business.
The Family Business Program was founded at Oregon State University in 1985 and was renamed the Austin Family Business Program in 1994 to honor endowment of the program by Ken and Joan Austin. The program fosters healthy family businesses through innovative tools and hands-on learning oppportunities.
Ken Austin graduated from Oregon State College in 1954 with a degree in industrial administration and later founded the prominent dental equipment company A-dec with his wife, Joan, in Newberg, Oregon. He was selected as the first Benny Beaver mascot in spring 1952.
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