Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

President's Office Records, 1903-2002

Historical Note:

Since its designation as a land-grant institution of higher learning in 1868, Oregon State University has had 16 presidents, including 4 acting presidents. They have been William A. Finley, 1865-1872 (Finley was appointed president of the university's predecessor institution, Corvallis Academy, in 1865); Joseph Emery, acting, 1872; Benjamin L. Arnold, 1872-1892; John D. Letcher, acting, 1892; John M. Bloss, 1892-1896; H. B. Miller, 1896-1897; Thomas M. Gatch, 1897-1907; William Jasper Kerr, 1907- 1932; George W. Peavy, acting, 1932-1934, president, 1934-1940; Frank L. Ballard, 1940-1941; Francois A. Gilfillan, acting, 1941- 1942; August L. Strand, 1942-1961; James H. Jensen, 1961-1969; Roy A. Young, acting, 1969-1970; Robert W. MacVicar, 1970-1984; John V. Byrne, 1984-1995; and Paul G. Risser, 1996-2002. The search for a replacement to Risser is currently underway with Vice Provost Tim White as the interim President.

The president is the chief executive officer of the university. From 1868 to 1929 the president reported to the college's Board of Trustees/Regents. Since the creation of the Oregon University System (formerly the Oregon State System of Higher Education) in 1929, the president has reported to the System's chancellor.


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