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President's Office Records, 1903-2002

Collection Overview

Title: President's Office Records, 1903-2002

ID: RG 013

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Office of the President

Extent: 44.4 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Organized into 17 subgroups, 14 of which are designated by presidential administration. Two subgroups are organized into general subject files and another consists entirely of annual and biennial Reports. Records exist in both paper and microfilm formats.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The President's Office Records reflect the administration of the university and include documentation of policy formulation, publication of statistical information, and review of legal issues. Separate finding aids have been prepared for Subgroup 1 (B.L. Arnold), Subgroup 2 (John D. Letcher), Subgroup 3 (John M. Bloss), Subgroup 4 (H.B. Miller), and Subgroup 5 (Thomas Gatch), Subgroup 6 (General Subject Files), Subgroup 7 (William Jasper Kerr), Subgroup 11 (General Subject and Correspondence Files), and Subgroup 12 (Annual and Biennial Reports).

Access to personnel reviews in Subgroup 13 Series 1 and department reviews in Series 5 are restricted due to the presence of confidential information. All requests for access to this material should be directed to the University Archivist.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Scope and Content Notes

Subgroups 1-5 exist in both paper and microfilm formats. Most records for subgroups 6-11 are on microfilm; a few are in paper format. Subgroup 11 consists of records of both the university president and the dean of administration. Considerable duplication exists among the 4 additions that comprise this subgroup. Subgroups 13-17 are paper records only.

The President's Office records reflect the centralized nature of the university's administration that existed into the early 1970s (MacVicar administration). Most academic programs, research centers, and administrative and student support offices sent copies of substantive correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, publications, and other items to the President's Office. Consequently, nearly all university activities are documented to some extent by this record group.

President MacVicar began decentralization of the top administration of the university by adding a number of vice-presidents; separate record groups exist for those offices. The records beginning with his administration reflect the functions of the President's Office and the activities of the president, especially policies and procedures implemented and issues addressed by the president.

An addition to the President's Office Records (Accession 2010:054) consists of materials generated and collected by the President's Office that primarily document the NCAA division I athletics certification process. In addition to self-study reports, these records include correspondence, handbooks, meeting minutes, organizational charts, and policy/procedure statements. The minutes reflect meetings of the Athletic Advisory Committee, the Postsecondary Quality Education Commission (State of Oregon) and the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. These records were originally organized into groupings by "operating principle" and this series order has been retained and is reflected in the inventory. Contains confidential information-access subject to review by a Reference Archivist.

A second addition to the President's Office Records (Accession 2011:056) consists of materials documenting OSU staff research and relations with the federal government and is made up of congressional bills, correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, and press releases. The core of this transfer are Federal Agenda reports issued annually which list proposed projects that would be funded by federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation, Dept. of Energy, NASA, etc. Included in the correspondence are a number of letters from Presidents Ray, Risser, and other OSU staff to Oregon's senators and congressional delegates regarding specific pieces of legislation and visits by those representatives to campus. Particular projects described in detail in these files include endophyte research, the hosting of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Sun Grant Initiative. There are also records relating to the transfer of Horner Museum collections once administered by OSU to the Benton County Historical Society.

The publications were issued in 1968-1990 and consist of the following items:  A New Century Begins, the 1968 report of the Oregon State University president; The MacVicar Years, a tribute to Robert W. MacVicar at the time of his retirement as Oregon State president in 1984; published materials pertaining to the 1985 inauguration of John V. Byrne; and Creating the Future: A Plan for Beginning the ‘90s, a 1990 publication of strategic goals for Oregon State University.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Since its designation as a land-grant institution of higher learning in 1868, Oregon State University has had 21 presidents, including 6 acting presidents. They have been William A. Finley, 1865-1872 (Finley was appointed president of the university's predecessor institution, Corvallis Academy, in 1865); Joseph Emery, acting, 1872; Benjamin L. Arnold, 1872-1892; John D. Letcher, acting, 1892; John M. Bloss, 1892-1896; H. B. Miller, 1896-1897; Thomas M. Gatch, 1897-1907; William Jasper Kerr, 1907- 1932; George W. Peavy, acting, 1932-1934, president, 1934-1940; Frank L. Ballard, 1940-1941; Francois A. Gilfillan, acting, 1941- 1942; August L. Strand, 1942-1961; James H. Jensen, 1961-1969; Roy A. Young, acting, 1969-1970; Robert W. MacVicar, 1970-1984; John V. Byrne, 1984-1995; and Paul G. Risser, 1996-2002; Timothy P. White, 2002-2003 (acting); Edward John Ray, 2003-2020; F. King Alexander, 2020-2021; Rebecca L. Johnson, 2021-2022 (acting). The search for a replacement to Ray is currently underway with Rebecca L. Johnson acting as interim President.

The president is the chief executive officer of the university. From 1868 to 1929 the president reported to the college's Board of Trustees/Regents. Since the creation of the Oregon University System (formerly the Oregon State System of Higher Education) in 1929, the president has reported to the System's chancellor.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 180 microfilm reels.

Statement on Access: Access to personnel reviews in Subgroup 13 Series 1 and department reviews in Series 5 are restricted due to the presence of confidential information. All requests for access to this material should be directed to the University Archivist. All other materials in this collection are open for research.

Related Materials:

Photographs of OSU presidents are available in the Presidents of Oregon State University Photographic Collection (P 001) and the President's Office Photographs (P 092) as well as many other photographic groups. Moving images of the presidents are available in the President's Office Motion Picture Film and Videotapes (FV 092). The manuscripts collections include the personal papers of several OSU Presidents; these include the William A. Finley Scrapbook (MSS FinleyWA), John McKnight Bloss Collection (MSS Bloss), F. A. Gilfillan Papers (MSS Gilfillan), George W. Peavy Papers (MSS Peavy), Roy A. Young Papers (MSS YoungRA), the Robert W. MacVicar Papers (MSS MacVicar), and the Paul G. Risser Papers (MSS Risser).

The largest extant group of William Jasper Kerr's papers can be found in the Edwin T. Reed Papers (MSS Reed). Materials pertaining to August L. Strand and James A. Jensen are included in the Fred M. Shideler Papers (MSS Shideler).

President's Office publications (PUB 247) are also available in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Various files in the OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC) also contain information on the OSU presidents.

See also: The OSU Presidents Online Exhibit, featuring images and biographical sketches of OSU Presidents from 1865 to hte present.

Preferred Citation: President's Office Records (RG 013), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.


Oregon State University. Office of the President
Ballard, Frank L. (Frank Llewellyn) (1891-1971)
Bennett, Arnold (1867-1931)
Bloss, John M. (John McKnight) (1839-1905)
Byrne, John Vincent (1928-)
Finley, W. A. (William Asa) (1839-1912)
Gatch, Thomas M. (Thomas Milton) (1833-1913)
Gilfillan, F. A. (Francois Archibald) (1893-1983)
Jensen, James H.
Kerl, Caroline
Kerr, William Jasper, 1863-1947
Letcher, John D. (John Davidson) (1853-1938)
MacVicar, Robert William (1918-)
Miller, Henry B. (1854-1921)
Oregon State Agricultural College. Office of the President
Oregon State College. Office of the President
Peavy, George Wilcox (1869-1951)
Risser, Paul G.
Strand, A. L. (August Leroy) (1894-)
Young, Roy A. (Roy Alton) (1921-)

People, Places, and Topics

Arnold, Benjamin L. (Benjamin Lea), 1839-1892
Ballard, Frank L. (Frank Llewellyn), 1891-1971.
Bloss, John M. (John McKnight), 1839-1905
Byrne, John Vincent, 1928-
Collective bargaining--College employees--Oregon.
College buildings--Oregon--Corvallis.
College presidents--Oregon--Corvallis.
College presidents--Oregon.
College sports--Law and legislation--Oregon.
Education, Higher--Oregon.
Finley, W. A. (William Asa), 1839-1912
Gatch, Thomas M. (Thomas Milton), 1833-1913
Gilfillan, F. A. (Francois Archibald), 1893-1983
History of Science
Jensen, James H.
Kerl, Caroline
Kerr, William Jasper, 1863-1947
Letcher, John D. (John Davidson), 1853-1938
Local History
MacVicar, Robert William, 1918-
Miller, Henry B., 1854-1921.
Natural Resources
Oregon Agricultural College
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Oregon State Agricultural College
Oregon State College
Oregon State System of Higher Education
Oregon State University
Oregon State University--Accreditation.
Oregon State University--Administration.
Oregon State University--Finance.
Oregon State University--Planning.
Oregon State University--Sports.
Oregon State University--Students.
Oregon State University. Foundation
Oregon State University. General Counsel's Office
Oregon State University. Office of the President
Oregon State University. President's Cabinet
Oregon University System
Peavy, George Wilcox, 1869-1951
Risser, Paul G.
Strand, A. L. (August Leroy), 1894-
Universities and colleges--Accreditation--Oregon--Corvallis.
Universities and colleges--Accreditation.
Universities and colleges--Curricula--Oregon--Corvallis.
Universities and colleges--Law and legislation--Oregon.
Universities and colleges--Oregon--Corvallis--Administration.
Universities and colleges--Oregon--Corvallis--Finance.
Universities and colleges--Public relations--Oregon--Corvallis.
University History
Young, Roy A. (Roy Alton), 1921-

Forms of Material

Sound recordings.

Creative Commons License
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