The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Marianne Vydra Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

May 27, 2015


“Leading Women's Athletics in the Modern Era”  May 27, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Vydra discusses her upbringing in Missouri, her early interests in sports, her participation on the volleyball team at Southwest Missouri State University, and her academic progression as an undergraduate. From there, she recalls her shift to graduate studies at the University of Maine, her experiences as an academic counselor during that time, and her decision to accept a similar position at Oregon State University.

Reflecting on her initial impressions of OSU, Vydra speaks of the dilapidated facilities and shoestring budgets that pervaded the Athletic Department during the early 1990s. She then emphasizes the arrival of Mitch Barnhart as Athletic Director as a turning point for improving intercollegiate athletics at OSU. From there, Vydra focuses her attention on the evolution of women's athletics during her career, remarking on how her own background in athletics has shaped her interactions with student athletes and noting mentors who helped guide her along her path.

Vydra next provides details of her advancement at OSU. She describes her initial position as an academic counselor as well as the circumstances by which she was promoted to Senior Women's Administrator. She also outlines her service to multiple NCAA and PAC-10 committees over the years, reflects on the impact that her collaborations with other female administrators have made upon her own work, notes her involvement with OSU's Leadership Institute, and shares her memories of the creation of the Beavers Without Borders service initiative. Vydra likewise discusses her leadership style, her contacts with various OSU presidents, her memories of Bob De Carolis, and the many changes that have come about since the creation of the PAC-12 conference.

As the session nears its end, Vydra speaks of past celebrations marking the implementation of Title IX, notes her work in creating two endowed scholarships for female athletes at OSU, and reflects on the great progress made by the women's basketball program. The interview concludes with Vydra's thoughts on change at OSU and her hopes for the future direction of the Athletic Department.