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This exhibit started when two archivists taught a class called “OSU, Women and Oral History: An Exploration of 150 Years." When the class was finished those archivists weren't. 

A team of exhibit researchers and curators came together, got carried away by stories, and had to make some tough choices about what to show you. We were struck by how many women had done so many wonderful things to grow this university, support its community, and learn more themselves. We noted the importance of Title IX nationally and the Women's Center locally, both fundamental to understanding the significant environmental changes for women since the mid-1970s. We were struck by how the environment on campus was slower to change than at other campuses. We talked about how many of the women who had pictures in archival collections, didn't have their names in those collections. We accepted that things change and things stay the same.

None of this would be possible if women hadn't lived their lives and done their jobs. Their connection to OSU means that we have amazing collections in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center to learn from.  

Many of these women fought hard against blatant injustices. Many of them fought against systematic or subtle discrimination. Many of them had the courage to stand up and say "enough." 

Not all of these women were activists. Some were college students who wanted to continue their education  and have fun. Some were staff who began at OSU as students and stayed because they found a job. Some were academics who followed a career path or wanted to live in Oregon. Some just liked the rain. 

And we applaud all of them, because regardless of their motivation or circumstances, to be a woman in higher education is difficult. We hope that you leave today inspired, and a bit wiser. 

To quote a woman with no link to Oregon State University, "Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants. And do your homework." Maggie Kuhn

This exhibit made possible by the generous support of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, who funded a student position spring term 2018. We thank them for this and for all their work to advocate for women on campus. 

Many of the quotes that appear on this website were extracted from oral history interviews that have been transcribed and made available online. Specific of these interviews include:

For more, see the Voices of OSU Women website.

Special thanks to the exhibits team: Alexus Austin, Chris Petersen, Clara Smith, Natalia Fernandez, Rachel Lilley, and Tiah Edmunson-Morton. Thanks also to Janice Dilg, who conducted many of the oral history interviews itemized above.

This website was created by Chris Petersen, Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Sarah Litwin, Clara Smith and Ryan Wick. 

Launch Date: June 21, 2018