The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Marianne Vydra Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

May 27, 2015


Marianne J. Vydra was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1963. She grew up in Springfield, Missouri and, after graduating from high school in 1981, enrolled at Southwest Missouri State University, where she played on the school's volleyball team. She completed her undergraduate studies in 1989, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Biology and a minor in Physics.

After graduation, Vydra began work at Southwest Missouri State as an academic support services coordinator. She held that job for a year before moving on to graduate school at the University of Maine, where her focus shifted college student development. At Maine, Vydra split her time as graduate student with an assistantship position as the school's learning center coordinator. She received her Masters of Education, specializing in student development and counseling, in 1992.

Her graduate degree in hand, Vydra applied for jobs across the country and was ultimately hired by Oregon State University as the academic counselor for the Athletic Department's Academic Services Program. When she arrived, in August of 1992, she was the only counselor provided for the approximately five hundred student athletes at OSU.

In 1996 Vydra was promoted to Associate Athletic Director for Academic and Student Services, and in 1998 she became the Athletic Department's Senior Women's Administrator. By this time, Title IX had been fully implemented at Oregon State and was having a major impact on department operations. In particular, women's sports were receiving new or upgraded facilities, seeing increases in scholarships, and recruiting greater numbers of athletes.

Vydra was heavily involved in a number of department initiatives throughout the first decades of the twenty-first century. In 2000 she was named Pac-10 Administrator of the Year for women's gymnastics, served as a member of the NCAA softball rules committee, and was also the NCAA's regional representative for women's volleyball, soccer and basketball. In 2002 she contributed to the initiative that led to the reinstatement of the women's track and cross country program at OSU, became a member of the Pac-10 Executive Committee, and began a term on the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Committee. From 2006 to 2008, she chaired the NCAA Division I Softball Committee, and in 2007 she raised funds to endow two scholarships for female athletes at OSU. Vydra also played a key role in creating the Beavers Without Borders international service project, a program that helps send OSU athletes to locations around the world to provide assistance to communities in need.

In 2015 Vydra served as interim Director of Athletics, following the departure of former head Bob De Carolis. Now the Deputy Athletic Director of Administration, Vydra is the highest-ranking female administrator in the OSU Athletic Department.