Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

College of Home Economics Oral Histories, 1968-1985

Historical Note:

The College of Home Economics at Oregon State University was established in 1889 as the Department of Household Economy and Hygiene and was the first such program west of the Rocky Mountains. The College merged with the College of Health and Human Performance in 2002 to form the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Margaret Finke, Clara Storvick, and Gertrude Tank were faculty in the Foods and Nutrition Department. 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.; she conducted research on the nutritional aspects of calcium, ascorbic acid, thiamine, and other vitamins. 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.

Clara Storvick became a faculty member at Oregon State in 1945 and specialized in vitamin B6 studies. She served as Director of the Nutrition Research Institute from 1965 until her retirement in 1972. Storvick died in 2004.

Dr. Gertrude Tank was in charge of a nationally known dental clinic in Philadelphia until 1953, when she became a faculty member in foods and nutrition at Oregon State College and a researcher in the Nutrition Research Institute. Her research focused on the effects of trace elements, especially fluoride, selenium, and vanadium, on dental caries. She retired in 1965 and died in 1984.

Betty Hawthorne was also a faculty member in the Foods and Nutrition Department from 1954 until her appointment as Dean of the School of Home Economics in 1965. She retired in 1983.

Laura Cleaveland taught elementary and high school before completing an MS in Institution Management at Oregon State in 1942. In 1946, she became Assistant Professor of Institution Economics and Supervisor of Food Service for the dormitories. Cleaveland retired in 1970.

Virginia Harger became Head of Institution Management in the School of Home Economics at Oregon State in 1967 and is a co-author of the textbook, Food Service in Institutions. Harger retired in 1978.

Lester Kirkendall came to Oregon State in 1949 as Professor of Family Life. He was one of the first sexuality educators in the United States and taught college-level courses on sexuality at Oregon State beginning in 1960. He retired from Oregon State University in 1969.

Mabel Pernot was the manager of the stockroom for the Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Related Arts from 1947 until her retirement in 1965. Pernot was born in Corvallis in 1900 and lived in Corvallis much of her life. She was the daughter of Emile F. Pernot, who taught photography classes at Oregon Agricultural College and was the first chair of the Bacteriology Department. Mabel Pernot died in 1991.

Esther Taskerud began her work at Oregon State as Assistant State 4-H Club Leader in 1947. She served as head of Home Economics Extension from 1963 to 1969 and retired in 1970. Taskerud earned a BS degree from South Dakota State University and an MA from Columbia University. She died in 1997.

LeVelle Wood attended Oregon Agricultural College from 1917 until 1921, when she earned a degree in home economics education. She taught in Monmouth, Oregon, and then completed her master's degree at Teacher's College in New York City. Wood founded the Department of Institution Management at Kansas State University and was a faculty member at Ohio State University until her retirement in 1965. She co-authored Food Service in Institutions, published in 1938, with Virginia Harger and others.


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