The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

Sort Interviews by Affiliation or Theme

Jim Welty Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Mike Dicianna.

April 21, 2015


“Seven Decades of Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State”  April 21, 2015  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Welty provides a detailed overview of his upbringing, which was characterized primarily by frequent relocations, before, during and after World War II. He then discusses the roots of his interest in engineering, his decision to enroll at Oregon State College, and his recollections of the campus climate during the post-war years. He likewise notes his involvement in Air Force ROTC and his extracurricular activities while an undergraduate, including his involvement with Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

From there, Welty recalls his first job following college, working as an aircraft engineer for Pratt & Whitney. He then recounts his term of assignment within the Air Force, his memories of flight school, his decision to return to a university, and the circumstances that led him to enroll, once again, at Oregon State. In describing his graduate experience, Welty recalls his engagement with coursework on both mechanical and chemical engineering, his first experiences with teaching, his concurrent employment with the Bureau of Mines, and the offer of a faculty position that he received upon completing his doctorate.

Welty next reflects on his tenure as a faculty member and as department head, noting the fiscal problems that encumbered progress in the College of Engineering during his years as an administrator. He also shares his memories of co-authoring a very successful textbook and engaging in research on fluid dynamics and heat transfer, remarks on changes in engineering technology that he has observed, and makes mention of a few noteworthy students that he taught while at Oregon State.

As the session nears its close, Welty discusses his involvement in professional engineering organizations and his endowment of two faculty positions at OSU. The interview concludes with notes on Welty's family and his continuing interests, and his expression of pride in having studied and worked at OSU.