In 1861, Corvallis College was sold to a group of Corvallis residents who were all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This group became the board of the college. Classes were probably first held in 1865. By 1866, the newly formed Columbia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, had gained ownership and control of the college. In 1868, Corvallis College was reincorporated as a degree granting institution of higher education. That same year, the College's Board of Trustees accepted the Oregon Legislative Assembly's designation of Corvallis College as the state's land-grant institution. The Columbia Conference appointed Board of Trustees continued to oversee the college until the mid- 1880s.
In February 1885, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed legislation that resulted in the state assuming control of the college and placing its management in the hands of a nine-member Board of Regents appointed by the Governor. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, filed suit against the state in 1887 seeking to retain control of the college.
Ultimately, the church was forced to cede control of the college to the state. During this time, the State constructed a new college building on the grounds of the college farm, as mandated by the Legislative Assembly.
Although the Board of Regents first met in 1886, the Board of Trustees continued to meet until at least 1891, likely overseeing the operations of a school at the original campus site in downtown Corvallis which they called Corvallis College.
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