The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Ilene Kleinsorge Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

February 10, 2015


“Rejuvenating the College of Business”  February 10, 2015  Location: Austin Hall, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Kleinsorge describes her upbringing on a cattle farm in rural Kansas, and her educational experiences growing up. She then shares the story of her path through early adulthood, including marrying at an young age, becoming a mother, and finding employment as a factory worker and as a bookkeeper. From there she recounts the process by which she returned to school to earn a nursing degree, her years working as an emergency room nurse, her later education and work as an accountant, and her ultimate decision to pursue a doctorate and a career in academia.

After discussing her experiences as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas, Kleinsorge shares her memories of being recruited by OSU and making the decision to join the faculty of OSU's College of Business.

The remainder of the interview focuses on Kleinsorge's career and achievements at Oregon State. She notes the different positions that she has held within the College of Business, including her movement up the administrative ranks to the Dean's office, where she started in 2003. She describes the strategic planning process that she oversaw near the beginning of her tenure as Dean, and the impact that this process made on transforming what had been a moribund unit plagued by low morale into an energetic and innovative college optimistic about its future.

The session concludes with Kleinsorge sharing her memories of working with Ken and Joan Austin, and recounting the story behind the conceptualization, design, construction and use of the college's new home facility, Austin Hall.