The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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John Byrne Oral History Interviews. January - February 2014

John Byrne Oral History Interviews

Four life history interviews conducted by Chris Petersen.

January - February 2014

Location:  Center for the Humanities, Oregon State University.

John Byrne (b. 1928) has made an indelible impact on Oregon State University through an association that has spanned over five decades. A trained geologist, Byrne arrived in Corvallis in 1960 as one of Oregon State College's first faculty members in Oceanography. Over time, Byrne assumed chairmanship of the Oceanography Department and later became Dean of OSU's newly formed School of Oceanography. In 1976 Byrne moved into upper administration, first as Dean of Research and later as Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies. Following a three-year stint in Washington, D.C., where he served as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Byrne returned to Corvallis as the twelfth President in OSU history. Byrne's presidency lasted from 1984-1995, a time period during which he did much to modernize university operations amidst a budget crisis caused by significant reductions in state funding for higher education. The Byrne oral history interviews trace the arc of his entire life, from his childhood on Long Island to his graduate studies at USC, and on to his tenures at Oregon State and with NOAA.