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Kent Daniels Oral History Interview

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Kent Daniels Oral History Interview


The interview opens with the interviewers asking Kent Daniels to identify a few of the most pivotal moments in his life. He selects his freshman English class from high school, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and his time in the Peace Corps following the assassination. He then segues into a description of his duties in the Peace Corps and describes meeting his wife while the two were serving in Africa.

He then talks about moving his family to Corvallis his employment at Oregon State University. In this, he explains that his wife's employer in Corvallis gave him an introduction to Lou Eisgruber, the head of Agricultural Economics at OSU, with whom Daniels went on to start the International Research and Development Office. From there, Daniels talks about changes that occurred with the structure of USAID, describing how the organization shifted from an efficient, well-managed aid organization to a bureaucratic, privatized corporation.

Next, Daniels discusses his life in politics, first as a volunteer and, later, an elected official. Originally a member of the Corvallis city council, Daniels was elected county commissioner in 1990 and held this position for seven years. He then went back to work for the OSU International Research and Development Office for a few years, focusing primarily on increasing funding support from USAID. In reflecting on this time, Daniels talks about his international experiences with the university. He notes as well that the projects he was involved in through USAID and the International Agriculture Office had a social component that enabled him to meet people from all over the world.

The session then shifts to Daniels' personal life, including notes on family, Daniels' original move to Corvallis, and his affinity for Dixon Recreation Center. The interviewers conclude by asking Daniels to identify the most memorable experiences in his life. He chooses the first time he held his wife's hand and their wedding day. They then ask what advice he would offer researchers utilizing this interview in the future, and he emphasizes the importance of maintaining wide-ranging interests and not allowing one subject or role to dominate one's life.

Kenton Daniels earned his degree in International Studies, and also took courses in History and Anthropology. His life was changed when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, a moment that led Daniels to quit school and travel across the country before enlisting in the Peace Corps, which Kennedy had founded. He spent two years assisting with road construction and culvert installation in Tanzania (then called Tanganyika) during which time he met his wife, who was a Peace Corps teacher in the same town he was working in. After returning to the U.S., Daniels found a job with the Census Bureau, where he stayed for twelve years, and moved west to Berkeley to run a census office there. He later moved to Corvallis to be closer to his extended family, and accepted a job with the College of Agriculture at Oregon State University, where he helped to set up the International Research and Development Office, which he co-directed for thirteen years over two tenures. Daniels also served on the Corvallis City Council for four years and then as a Benton County Commissioner for seven years. He retired in 2001, but remained active in local politics and community affairs.


Kent Daniels


Voices of Oregon State University Oral History Collection (OH 09)


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


February 4, 2011


Jennifer Veilleux, Kim Ogren and Michael Stanton


Born Digital




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Jennifer Veilleux, Kim Ogren and Michael Stanton


Kent Daniels


Sunnyside Up Cafe, Corvallis, Oregon

Original Format

Born Digital



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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