The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Cliff Trow Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

December 13, 2013


“Supporting Education as a Historian and Public Servant”  December 13, 2013  Location: Trow residence, Corvallis, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Trow lends insight into his early years in Kansas and Colorado, as well as his decision to move to Corvallis and join the OSU History faculty. He discusses his work as a history professor and reflects on important colleagues, including the famed diplomatic historian, William Appleman Williams. Trow also recounts his memories of life and change at OSU and in Corvallis, with particular attention paid to the tumult of the Vietnam War era. He likewise notes his meeting his future wife, Jo Anne Johnson, and mentions their collaborative partnership throughout the interview.

Much of Trow's interview is devoted to his career in the Oregon Senate, which spanned close to three decades. In discussing this time, Trow relays details of his motivations and campaigning, as well as his accomplishments as a legislator and the changes that he observed during a long career in Salem. Particular focus is paid to the ramifications of the property tax limitation ballot measure 5, which was passed in 1990 and dealt a major blow to education funding statewide.

Trow concludes the interview by mentioning several other activities that he pursued while working and in retirement. These include his association with the Oregon Great Decisions Council, which enables citizen discussion of foreign policy issues. He also shares recollections of his involvement with the OSU Press and his co-founding of the OSU Academy of Lifelong Learning.