Senior class president position established; William Keady the first elected president.


Henry B. Miller (July 28, 1896-June 30, 1897), a member of the Board of Regents, appointed by the Board as the fourth president of the State Agricultural College of the State of Oregon following the retirement of President Bloss. Miller was a successful Oregon businessman and politician from Grants Pass. He later served as the consul-general in China and Japan (1900-1909) and as the Director of Extension and Publishing Programs for the School of Commerce of the University of Oregon (1914-1917).

Students established an Athletic Association to help put the athletic program on a more firm financial footing.

In March, literary societies of the college began publication of a monthly magazine, the College Barometer. The Barometer in 1906 was published as a weekly; in 1909 as a semi-weekly; and in 1922 five times each week.

Dean of the College Department established; Professor Frederick Berchtold, A.M., at the college since 1884, elected to the position.

Farmers' Institutes, forerunner of extension service, extended to include field demonstrations in farm operations.

Name of institution – Agricultural College of the State of Oregon.

Preparatory Department abolished.

Faculty totaled 21 members (19 males and 2 females).


Thomas M. Gatch, A.B., A.M., Ph.D., D.D., (Summer, 1897-January 9, 1907) appointed by the Board of Regents as the fifth president of the Agricultural College of the State of Oregon following the resignation of President Miller. President Gatch previously had been president of Willamette University for 15 years (1860-1865 and 1870-1880) and president of the University of Washington for 10 years (1887-1897). Gatch retired in 1907 to his estate near Seattle.

The Athletic Committee of the faculty proposed on May 6 that an incidental student fee be assessed ($1.00 for males; $.50 for females) to fund oratorical contests and general athletics. No action was taken on this proposal.

YWCA established.

Name of institution – President Gatch used Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) as the name of the institution.


Chair of Pharmacy established following a petition by druggists of the state for such a position.

Mechanical Building destroyed by fire on September 27. Included in the loss were all of the athletic equipment, dressing rooms, and showers used for athletic programs.

Debut of OAC women's basketball.

Faculty totaled 26 members (20 males and 6 females).

Armory and gymnasium (formerly the Museum Building and Mitchell Playhouse, and currently the Gladys Valley Gymnastics Center) erected.


In June, a second attempt to add a student fee to the registration tuition, to help fund athletics, failed.

Ellen Chamberlin (1899-1903) appointed as the first Dean of Women. (The next Dean of Women was not appointed until 1911 when Anna Zou Crayne, A.B., M.D., assumed this position. The first Dean of Men appointment occurred in 1924).

The College began offering a sub-freshman class for students who had completed 8th grade and were 15 years of age but lived at considerable distance from a high school. No students were admitted to this class who were from towns with more than 1,500 inhabitants or which supported a high school.

Enrollment: 352. The Agricultural College of the State of Oregon was the largest college in Oregon.

Ruins of Mechanical Hall

Mechanical Hall in ruins after being destroyed by fire, September 1898

OAC Cadet Battalion, 1895

OAC Cadet Battalion, 1895

Black and white photographic portrait of Henry B. Miller.

Henry B. Miller, 1915

Cover of the first issue of The College Barometer

Cover of the first issue of The College Barometer, March 1896

Black and white photographic portrait of Thomas Milton Gatch.

Thomas Milton Gatch, 1907.

Horticulture Building, 1895

Horticulture Building, 1895

Women's Basketball Team, 1899

Women's Basketball team, 1899