Oregon State University
The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Dedication of the Memorial Union, June 1, 1929.
Dedication of the Memorial Union, June 1, 1929.
Harriet's Photographic Collection, Special Collections & Archives Research Center. (Click to enlarge)

About the Project

The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project is the largest oral history initiative ever conducted at OSU. Sponsored by the OSU Office of the Provost, OSU Marketing and Relations, OSU Libraries and Press (OSULP), the OSU Foundation, the OSU Alumni Office and The Oregon Stater alumni magazine, the project attempted to holistically document the history, impact and ambitions of the university through the recollections of various alumni, faculty, staff, administrators and current students affiliated with OSU. A multi-year initiative, the project was one of many to be sponsored in anticipation of the university's sesquicentennial celebration in 2018.

All interviews presented on this website may be browsed through an A-Z list or explored by interviewee affiliation or theme. In addition, interview transcripts are presented alongside each video in downloadable PDF format, and audio .mp3 files of every session are freely available for download via this link.

Along with their presentation on this web portal, the interviews gathered for the project have been described as an archival collection. For more, see the finding aid to the Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 26).

Project Details

OH 150, as it was known to the project team, includes:

  • Over 400 hours of total interview time and over 3.3 million words of transcription. (In excess of 1.8 terabytes worth of born digital video and audio were captured as a result of the project.)
  • More than 100 interviews with OSU alumni.
  • Over 100 additional interviews with OSU faculty, both current and emeritus.
  • Another 20 interviews with OSU staff (current and retired) and 10 more with current OSU students (undergraduate and graduate).

In addition:

The Memorial Union and central campus, as viewed from above, 2010.
The Memorial Union and central campus, as viewed from above, 2010.
Oregon State University. (Click to enlarge)

About Oregon State University

Founded in 1868, OSU is the state's Land Grant university and is one of only two universities in the U.S. to have Sea Grant, Space Grant and Sun Grant designations. Oregon State is also the only university in Oregon to hold both the Carnegie Foundation's top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification.

As Oregon's leading public research university, with $336 million in external funding in the 2016 fiscal year, Oregon State's impact reaches across the state and beyond. With 11 colleges, 15 Agricultural Experiment Stations, 35 county Extension offices, the Hatfield Marine Sciences Center in Newport and OSU-Cascades in Bend, Oregon State has a presence in every one of Oregon's 36 counties, with a statewide economic footprint of $2.371 billion.

Oregon State welcomes a diverse student body of over 30,000 students from across Oregon, all 50 states and more than 100 countries. They can choose from more than 200 undergraduate and more than 80 graduate degree programs, including over 30 degrees offered online through Oregon State Ecampus. Oregon State increasingly attracts high-achieving students, with nationally recognized programs in areas such as conservation biology, agricultural sciences, nuclear engineering, forestry, fisheries and wildlife management, community health, pharmacy and zoology.

The 400-acre main campus in Corvallis includes a Historic District, making Oregon State one of only a handful of U.S. university campuses listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district includes such icons as Weatherford Hall, the Memorial Union and Benton Hall, the oldest building on campus.

Project Team

The team responsible for creating this project and its online representation is as follows: Chris Petersen, project director and oral historian; Mike Dicianna, oral historian; Janice Dilg, oral historian; Kalia Flocker, research lead; Shannon Riley, writing assistant; Ryan Wick, web designer; Patch Leishman, graphic designer.

The project's executive committee consists of Molly Brown (OSU Foundation), Faye Chadwell (OSULP), Steve Clark (University Marketing and Relations), Christi Kasten (OSU Alumni Association), Larry Landis (OSULP), and Kevin Miller (The Oregon Stater). Additional funding support for the project was generously provided by two programs within the Special Collections & Archives Research Center (SCARC): the Oregon Multicultural Archives, and the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives.

Numerous other individuals have contributed to the project including, as interviewers, Anne Bahde, Dominic Cusimano, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Gregory Garcia, Adam LaMascus, Steve Matthes, Karl McCreary, Linda Richards, Trevor Sandgathe, Bob Schapper, and Geoff Somnitz. Special thanks are due as well to Raul Burriel (Academic Technologies), Elizabeth Grubb (President's Office), Penny Hardesty (OSU Foundation), and Shelly Signs (University Events), and to Hope Glenn, Angela Barker, Cody Hess, Eric Johnson, Lauren Lovestone, Michelle McKay, Anna Mitchell, John Ngo, Mary Lou Russ and Christopher Russell, all student assistants or volunteers in SCARC.

Project oral historians (from left) Mike Dicianna, Janice Dilg, Chris Petersen.
Project oral historians (from left) Mike Dicianna, Janice Dilg, Chris Petersen.
(Click to enlarge)

Technical Notes

Interviews led by project staff are captured using both video and audio recorders, and the archival-quality .mts video files and .wav audio files that are created by this process are stored on the OSULP preservation server. Raw .mts video files for a specific interview are also compiled in Adobe Premiere Elements and the .m2t file that results is uploaded for presentation in OSU's MediaSpace media distribution platform.

Online versions of each interview are available in two locations: as raw video files accessible through OSU MediaSpace; and, once transcribed, as contextualized websites presented on the project's dedicated web portal. The project portal has been created using a combination of METS/MODS metadata records to describe digital objects, TEI encoding of transcripts, and custom XSL stylesheets that enable the presentation of the embedded MediaSpace video player on an HTML template created by the Special Collections & Archives Research Center.

The project's interviews were transcribed by two professional transcription services, members of the SCARC staff, and a handful of dedicated volunteers.


For more information on the project, please contact the OSULP Special Collections & Archives Research Center at scarc@oregonstate.edu