"I regret very much to lose Mrs. Waldo, as she has been broad-minded, fair and able in the consideration she has given to the affairs of the college."
"She has always shown that she had the best welfare of the school at heart and had contributed not only her own time, but liberally of her finances to the institution she has loved." ~ Governor Ben W. Olcott
Born in The Dalles, Oregon, May 23, 1858, Clara Humason Waldo was not only the first woman in America to be named on the Board of Regents of a state institution such as Oregon State, but she was also the first woman to give an address to a graduating class at Oregon State. Clara Humanson served as Valedictorian of St. Helen’s High School in Portland in 1876. She studied and worked at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1877 she married John B. Waldo, from a prominent pioneer family of Oregon, who served as a judge of the Oregon Supreme Court. Clara grew into her role as a society lady and public figure. Her efforts were focused on the betterment of the farm-home, the traveling library, agricultural education and the farmers' institute, among others.
Clara became an official in the State Grange, first as Overseer and then as State Lecturer, for four years. Towards the end that period, she devoted nearly all her time to writing and speaking for better homes, better schools, better roads, and better laws. Clara often worked with the farmers' institutes and therefore came into close touch with Oregon Agricultural College. Her visibility led to state recognition: she was the only woman on the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland as representative of the largest part of the project, viz., the agricultural interests of Oregon. In the latter part of 1905 Clara was appointed as the Educational Regent of Oregon State by Governor George Chamberlain.
In 1907 John B. Waldo passed away. In that same year, Clara Waldo was honored by the naming of a women's dormitory on the Oregon State campus after her. In 1908 she went to France to study problems of sociology at the school of Agriculture and Home Economics under M. Clemenceau. This educational connection furthered her philanthropic activities. Clara took up the presidency of the Oregon Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Association in 1916. Family obligations in California caused her departure from Oregon and an extended hiatus from Board of Regents activities. Governor James Withycombe retained her seat on the board for several years, but in 1919 his successor, Governor Ben W. Olcott, appointed another to her seat. Clara spent the rest of her life in California, eventually passing away in Ojai, February 13, 1933.