Chemistry courses have been taught at Oregon State University since the earliest years of the institution; the first doctoral degree in Chemistry was awarded in 1935. A Chemistry Building (later named Gilbert Hall for Earl C. Gilbert) was constructed in 1939; it was extensively renovated and the Gilbert Addition was constructed in 1981.
John Fulton was department head from 1907 until 1940, when Earl C. Gilbert, who had been on the faculty since 1917 was appointed head. Bert Christensen followed Gilbert as Department Head in 1956.
Oregon State College was one of the first institutions to offer a chemistry course by television and to broadcast a course to students at several institutions simultaneously.
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