In 1868, the Oregon Legislature designated Corvallis College as the state's agricultural college, and in 1870 Corvallis College began its agricultural curriculum. The next year the college acquired its first farm (now Lower Campus), purchased for the school by the citizens of Benton County. In 1873 the college issued its first agricultural research bulletin, and a decade later the college established a Department of Agriculture, which was the first in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station was established on the campus farm in 1888, and in 1894 the first Farmers' Short Course was offered.
In 1908, the General Department of Agriculture was reorganized into a professional School of Agriculture, and included departments in Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, and Poultry Husbandry. Additional departments were added in the 1910s and 1920s. By 1928, the School included ten departments, and degree programs were offered in General Agriculture, Agricultural Engineering, Landscape Architecture, and Horticultural Products. The School established a Ph.D. program in 1932, and conferred is first doctorate in 1935. From 1931 until 1965, the dean of the School of Agriculture also served as director of both the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Extension Service. In 1983, the name of the School was changed to the College of Agricultural Sciences.
Deans have included A. B. Cordley, 1908-1931; William A. Schoenfeld, 1931-1950; F. E. Price, 1950-1965; Wilbur T. Cooney, 1965-1979; Ernest J. Briskey, 1979-1987; Roy G. Arnold, 1987-1991; Conrad J. Weiser, 1991-1994; and Thayne R. Dutson, 1994-2008.
Emile F. Pernot was hired by Oregon Agricultural College in 1890 to teach photography and take photographs for the Experiment Station. Through his pioneering work in microphotography, he developed an interest in bacteriology, and was named the first chair of the Bacteriology Deparment in 1900. In 1910 Pernot was named bacteriologist for the city of Portland.
The E.R. Jackman Foundation, an affiliate of the Oregon State University Foundation, supports the academic and research programs of the College.
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