Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

A.L. Strand Oral History Collection, 1949-1985

Biographical Note:

A.L. (August LeRoy) Strand was appointed as President of Oregon State College in the fall of 1942 and led the College through World War II and the post-war period of extensive growth in students and facilities. Strand retired in 1961 and remained in Corvallis where he served a 4-year term on the Benton County Commission. He died in Corvallis in 1980.

Strand was born in Victoria, Texas, in 1894, but moved to Montana as a young boy soon after the turn of the 20th century. He earned a BS degree in entomology from Montana State College in 1917 and MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota in the mid-1920s. He returned to Montana State College in 1931 as Professor and Head of the Entomology Department. Six years later, in 1937, he was appointed the college's President. The student union building at Montana State University was named for A.L. Strand in 1972. As student body president in 1917, he began a long-range student campaign to build the union which became a reality while he was President of Montana State College.

English instructor Nancy Leman taught at Oregon State University from 1971 until her retirement in 1987. She taught a wide range of writing courses and was active in faculty governance. Leman earned a BA in English from Tulane University in 1946 and an MA in Humanities from the University of Chicago in 1948. Leman's son, Christopher, conducted two of the interviews.

Fred M. Shideler began his career at Oregon State in 1929 as a journalism instructor and an assistant in the OSC News Bureau. Shideler was promoted to assistant professor and journalism department head in 1932, to associate professor in 1939, and to professor in 1944. In 1952 he became head of information services and in 1967 was appointed director of university relations. Shideler also served as administrative assistant to Oregon governors Paul L. Patterson and Elmo Smith in 1956. Shideler retired from OSU in 1970. Shideler was born in Girard, Kansas, in 1904. He earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kansas State College in 1927 and an MA in education from Oregon State College in 1941. He died in Corvallis on May 11, 1993.

Most of the interviewees were Oregon State College faculty during the years of Strand's presidency. Margaret Fincke joined the Oregon State College faculty in 1935 to establish the research program in foods and nutrition. She was the first faculty member in the School of Home Economics to have a Ph.D. Fincke became head of the Foods and Nutrition Department in 1944 and served as Acting Dean in 1948-1949 and 1963-1965. She retired in 1969. George W. Gleeson served as Dean of Engineering from 1944 to 1970. Gleeson earned BS, MS, and Ch.E. degrees from Oregon State and joined the faculty in 1932.

C. Warren Hovland was a professor of religious studies at Oregon State from 1949 until his retirement in 1986. Under his leadership as chair, the Oregon State Department of Religious Studies was the first authorized by the Oregon State System of Higher Education to offer an undergraduate degree in religious studies. D. Curtis Mumford was a professor of agricultural economics at Oregon State from 1938 until his retirement in 1988. Milosh Popovich joined the Oregon State mechanical engineering faculty in 1945 and became department chair in 1949. In 1954 he was appointed Assistant Dean of Engineering and in 1959 became Dean (later Vice President) of Administration, a position he held until his retirement in 1979. G. Burton Wood came to Oregon State in 1951 as head of the Agricultural Economics Department, a position he held until 1966 when he became Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. Wood retired in 1975.

C. Richard (Dick) Hoyt was a Corvallis businessman and state legislator from Corvallis and Benton County from 1959 to 1974. Jim (James E.) Lattie earned a BS in Agricultural Economics from Oregon State College in 1956. During his student years he was editor of the Barometer campus newspaper. Lattie was a reporter with the Oregonian newspaper in the early 1960s. Roberta Nelson, the wife of English Professor Herbert Nelson, knew A.L. Strand primarily through social interactions. Nelson was active in the OSU Folk Club with Strand's wife, Mollie. Russell I. Thackrey was Executive Secretary of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities from 1947 to 1962.

Merrill G. Burlingame joined the faculty of Montana State College in 1929 and became chair of the history department in 1935. Burlingame's research interests were primarily concerned with Montana and the frontier west and he authored the 1968 history of Montana State University, which is included in the reference files of this collection. Louis A. Spain was an entomology student at Montana State College, earned his BS and MS degrees under Strand's guidance, and worked in the Entomology Department for several summers. Spain was a research entomologist at Iowa State College in the 1930s.

Ruth Carter was a staff person in the Oregon State College library and a part-time English instructor from the early 1950s until her retirement in 1968.


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