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Robert W. MacVicar Papers, 1942-1995

By Chris Petersen

Collection Overview

Title: Robert W. MacVicar Papers, 1942-1995

Predominant Dates: 1969-1991

ID: MSS MacVicar

Primary Creator: MacVicar, Robert William (1918-)

Extent: 2.1 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: These papers are organized into five series: 1. Correspondence, 1981-1991; 2. Publications and Speech, 1942-1995; 3. Southern Illinois University, 1969-1992; 4. Projects, 1975-1991; 5. Awards, Certificates and Keepsakes.  Series 4 is further organized into five sub-series: 1. Northwest Academic Computing Consortium, Inc. (NorthWestNet), 1985-1991; 2. Peruvian Agriculture, 1982-1984; 3. Pharmacy Education, 1984-1987; 4. Superconducting Super Collider, 1985-1987; 5. Assorted Projects, 1977-1991.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The MacVicar Papers document the activities of Robert MacVicar, who served as President of OSU from 1970 to 1984. The collection primarily focuses upon MacVicar's work and personal life outside of OSU, including his scientific research and administrative activities at Southern Illinois University, and his involvement various projects concerning economic development in the Pacific Northwest and agricultural concerns in Africa and Latin America.

Scope and Content Notes

The correspondence in series 1 documents interactions between MacVicar and friends and colleagues concerning MacVicar's retirement from OSU as well as his receipt of various honors and accolades, community speaking engagements, the economic and political state of higher education in Oregon, Southern Illinois University, and international projects MacVicar pursued as a consultant.

Primarily made up of journal article reprints, the publications organized into series 2 also include membership directories, a chapter from an annual report, and notes for a eulogy in honor of former OSU president James Jensen.

Series 3 includes a collection of items from MacVicar's two-year stint as Chancellor of Southern Illinois University (SIU). The materials from SIU consist of three yearbooks, a membership directory, internal reports on student unrest, and an underground student newspaper.

Series 4 pertains to various projects pursued by MacVicar, primarily after retirement, as a consultant or committee member. The series includes budgetary materials, correspondence, donor lists, grant proposals, meeting minutes, reports, publications, studies, survey records, and treasurers' reports. These materials have been arranged into five sub-series addressing: 1.  the development of NorthWestNet by the Northwest Academic Computing Consortium; 2. Peruvian agriculture; 3. pharmacy education in the northwest; 4. a proposed superconducting super collider facility in Oregon; and 5. various projects including the impact of Ballot Measure 5, and a Sea Grant Program in Latin America. Sub-series 5 also includes documentation of work conducted by the United Nations Day Committee (for the State of Oregon) and the Benton/Corvallis Library Art Committee.

Series 5 is primarily made up of certificates of recognition presented to MacVicar by various Corvallis service organizations, honor societies, OSU clubs, and various branches of the U.S. armed forces, the majority of them honoring MacVicar for his service to OSU and his involvement in the military. In addition to an honorary doctorate from Dankook University in Korea, this series features small posters of poetry and sayings, including a copy of a poem read by William Stafford, Poet Laureate of Oregon, at the second inauguration of Victor Atiyeh as Governor of Oregon in 1983. The photograph and prints in series 5 consist of an image of John E. Kirkpatrick, (who was a major supporter of the Oklahoma technical branch campus in Oklahoma City), a print of the Memorial Union by Alma Schulmerich, and a print of a doorway in "Old Kuwait".

Biographical / Historical Notes

Robert William MacVicar, OSU President from 1970 to 1984, was born in Princeton, Minnesota on September 28, 1918. He attended the University of Wyoming, graduating with honors in 1939 with a B.S. degree in Chemistry. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship in 1939, but he was unable to attend due to World War II. MacVicar continued his education at Oklahoma State University where he received a master's degree in Chemistry in 1940. After serving in the Army from 1939 to 1945, MacVicar attended the University of Wisconsin, where he completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1946.

MacVicar returned to Oklahoma State as Associate Professor in Agricultural Chemistry Research and Chemistry and as Professor of Biochemistry from 1946-1964. He served as Dean of the Graduate School at Oklahoma State from 1953 to 1964. From 1957 to 1964 MacVicar also served as Vice President for Academic Affairs. He became Chancellor of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1968.

MacVicar came to Oregon State University in 1970 where he served as President until his retirement in 1984. He simultaneously held the position of Professor of Chemistry. During President MacVicar's tenure in office, the decentralization of the top administration of the university began, when he added a number of vice presidents. After his retirement, he was named Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and President Emeritus, Special Assistant to the Chancellor. He also served as Acting President of the College of Ganado, a small college in Arizona, for seven months in 1985.

MacVicar was a staunch proponent of the land grant university concept (all of his degrees were earned from land grant universities), and during his presidency, he fostered close ties between OSU and the people of Oregon. Also, while MacVicar was president, twenty-three new buildings were added to the OSU campus.

In 1983-1984 MacVicar served on the Tanzania Study Team at the Sokoine University of Agriculture. He was honorary chair for the State of Oregon of the United Nations Day Committee for 1990 and 1991. He also served as the chair of the Benton/Corvallis Library Art Committee for 1990-1991.

MacVicar remained active in higher education and in the Corvallis community until his death in Portland on December 26, 1998 at age 80.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 photograph; 4 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Collection materials were transferred to the University Archives in multiple accessions between 1994-2001.

Related Materials: An oral history interview with Robert MacVicar is held in the Oral History Interviews, Personal Histories, and Sound Recordings Collection on Agriculture, Forestry, and Oregon History (OH 005). MacVicar's presidency is documented in the President's Office Records (RG 013), in subgroup 14. Other institutional records pertaining to MacVicar can be found in the Alumni Association Records (RG 035). Among manuscript collections, the Roy A. Young Papers (MSS YoungRA), also include materials pertaining to MacVicar. Photographic images of MacVicar and his family can be found in a number of collections: the Presidents of Oregon State University Photograph Collection (P 001); the President's Office Photograph Collection (P 092); the KBVR Photograph Collection (P 170); and Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC). A videotape recording of a broadcast interview of MacVicar can be found in the Extension and Experiment Station Communications Moving Images (FV 120).

Preferred Citation: Robert W. MacVicar Papers (MSS MacVicar), Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.


MacVicar, Robert William (1918-)
Northwest Academic Computing Consortium

People, Places, and Topics

College presidents--Oregon--Corvallis.
Corvallis-Benton County Public Library
History of Science
Jensen, James H.
MacVicar, Robert William, 1918-
Natural Resources
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Pharmacy--Study and teaching (Higher)--Northwest, Pacific.
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
Student movements--Illinois.
Superconducting Super Collider.
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Correspondence, 1981-1991
Series 1 consists of correspondence with school mates and colleagues at other higher education institutions as well as letters of congratulations upon MacVicar's retirement in 1984.  The correspondence also documents MacVicar's receipt of various awards, his speaking engagements, international projects for which he served as a consultant, and the economic and political state of higher education in Oregon.
Box-Folder 1.1: Correspondence, 1981-1982
Box-Folder 1.2: Correspondence, 1982
Box-Folder 1.3: Correspondence, 1983
Box-Folder 1.4: Correspondence, 1984, 1986, 1991, undated
Series 2: Publications and Speech, 1942-1995
Series 2 holds a collection of scientific reprints of publications authored or co-authored by MacVicar, as well as three membership directories for organizations to which MacVicar belonged. Also included is an article fragment and a set of speech notes, both created by MacVicar.
Box-Folder 1.5: Scientific Article Reprints, 1942-1948
Folder includes scientific publications authored or co-authored by MacVicar including: "Nicotinic Acid in Foods," 1942; "Boron Supply and Boron Content of Potatoes," 1946; "A Further Investigation of the Replacement of Boron by Indoleacetic Acid," 1946; "The Relation of Boron to Certain Plant Oxidases," 1947; and "Studies on Nitrogen Metabolism in Tomato with Use of Isotopically Labeled Ammonium Sulfite," 1948. Folder also includes a bibliography of MacVicar's scientific publications authored from 1939-1948.
Box-Folder 1.6: Article: "Renewal in Societies and Men", 1962
Article fragment authored by MacVicar and published in the Southern Illinois University annual report.
Box-Folder 1.7: Membership Directory: American Board of Clinical Chemistry, 1995
Box-Folder 1.8: Membership Directory: American Board of Nutrition, 1994
Box-Folder 1.9: Membership Directory: The American Oxonian, (List of Americans awarded the Rhodes Scholarship), 1992
Box-Folder 1.10: Speech: Eulogy for James Jensen, 1993
Folder contains MacVicar's notes for a eulogy that he delivered following the death of former OSU President, James Jensen.
Series 3: Southern Illinois University, 1969-1992
Materials relating to the two years that MacVicar spent as Chancellor at Southern Illinois University have been organized into series 3.  Of particular note are the internal memoranda reporting on student unrest at SIU and the Big Muddy Gazette underground newspaper, which targets MacVicar and other campus leaders for their leadership during the Vietnam War era.
Box-Folder 1.11: Reports on Student Unrest, 1969
Folder includes internal reports on suspicions of radical activities on the SIU campus including two meetings of Students for a Democratic Society.
Box-Folder 3.1: Big Muddy Gazette underground student newspaper, April 9, 1969
Box-Folder 1.12: SIU Obelisk yearbook, 1969
Box-Folder 1.13: SIU Obelisk centennial publication, 1969
Commemorative special edition of the Obelisk annual focusing on the history of SIU and marking the university's centenary.
Box-Folder 1.14: SIU Obelisk yearbook, 1970
Box-Folder 1.15: Membership Directory: Emeritus Association, (Southern Illinois University), 1992
Series 4: Projects, 1975-1991
Series 4 is itself subdivided into five subseries devoted to specific projects with which MacVicar was involved. Sub-series 1 focuses on MacVicar's association with NorthWestNet, a regional network of supercomputers for use by universities and their research partners throughout the Pacific Northwest. Sub-series 2 contains reports on agricultural planning and development in Peru, as authored by Peru's Ministry of Agriculture and Food, and the United States Agency for International Development. Sub-series 3 concerns efforts to expand Pharmacy education in the West, as led by the Northwest Academic Planning Forum (which MacVicar chaired from 1985-1987) and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Sub-series 4 chronicles the effort to secure funding to locate and build a superconducting super collider research facility in Oregon. Sub-series 5 consists of a collection of smaller projects with which MacVicar was associated, including overseas trips to Africa and Latin America, as well as more local work with the Benton County Library and a group promoting United Nations Day.
Sub-Series 1: Northwest Academic Computing Consortium, Inc. (NorthWestNet), 1985-1991
Box-Folder 1.16: Correspondence, 1986-1990
Box-Folder 1.17: Committee Meeting Minutes and Agendas, 1987-1991
Box-Folder 1.18: Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, 1987-1990
Box-Folder 1.19: Grant Proposals, 1986-1990
Box-Folder 1.20: Strategic and Implementation Planning Reports, 1986-1990
Box-Folder 1.21: Meeting Participant Lists and other Materials, 1985-1990
Box-Folder 1.22: Publications, 1985-1987
Box-Folder 1.23: Reports, 1985-1987
Box-Folder 1.24: Reports, 1988-1990
Box-Folder 1.25: Meeting Agenda Books, 1987-1989
Sub-Series 2: Peruvian Agriculture, 1982-1984
Box-Folder 2.1: Report: "Baseline Study of the Peruvian Agricultural Research, Education and Extension System", 1982
Box-Folder 2.2: Report: "Agricultural Planning and Institutional Development", 1983
Sub-Series 3: Pharmacy Education, 1984-1987
Box-Folder 2.3: Correspondence and Survey Materials re: Pharmacy Education and Manpower, 1986
Box-Folder 2.4: Reports, 1984-1987
Folder includes three reports: "The Final Report of the Task Force on Pharmacy Education," 1984; "Pharmacy Manpower in the West: An Analysis of Supply and Demand," 1985; and "Pharmacy Education in the West: Report of a Survey," 1987
Box-Folder 2.5: Conference Materials, 1986
Sub-Series 4: Superconducting Super Collider, 1985-1987
Box-Folder 2.6: Marketing Plan and Program Guide, 1985
Box-Folder 2.7: Correspondence and Meeting Minutes, 1986-1987
Box-Folder 2.8: Budgetary Information, 1986
Box-Folder 2.9: Public Hearing Reports on Proposed Oregon Sites at Woodburn, Junction City and Boardman, 1985
Box-Folder 2.10: Fact Book on Boardman site, 1986
Box-Folder 2.11: Publications and Newspaper Clippings, 1985-1986
Box-Folder 2.12: Reports and Proposal Summary, 1986
Box-Folder 2.13: Final and Status Reports, 1986
Box-Folder 2.14: Proposed Sites in California, 1985-1986
Box-Folder 2.15: Proposed Sites in Other States, 1986
Sub-Series 5: Assorted Projects, 1977-1991
Box-Folder 2.16: Architectural Art Steering Committee, Corvallis-Benton County Library, 1990-1991
Box-Folder 4.1: International Sea Grant Program for Latin America, 1975-1977
Folder contains materials documenting a trip taken by MacVicar to Chile in October 1977.
Box-Folder 2.17: Nigeria Trip, 1977
Folder documents MacVicar's visit to the University of Benin and his attendance at the university's commencement ceremony, in February-March 1977.
Box-Folder 2.18: Tanzanian Agriculture and Food Supply, 1983-1984
Box-Folder 2.19: Tax Reform in Oregon, 1991
Box-Folder 2.20: United Nations Day, 1989-1991
Series 5: Awards, Certificates, and Keepsakes, 1968-1988
A collection of awards, certificates and keepsakes have been arranged into series 5. The awards and certificates mostly acknowledge MacVicar's contributions to the Medical Service Corps and Oregon State University. The series also includes a photograph and a handful of quotations written in decorative script and saved as keepsakes.
Box-Item 2.21: Assorted Awards and Keepsakes, 1969-1988
Folder contains awards and certificates given to Robert MacVicar primarily honoring his contributions to the Medical Service Corps and to OSU. Awards of note include: Legion of Merit, Medical Services Corp, 1969; Honorary Membership, Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, 1984; Distinguished Service Award, Oregon State University, 1988. Folder also includes two humorous awards given to MacVicar in jest by Stub Stewart and Adrienne Gonia Fowler, 1981-1982.
Box-Folder 3.2: Oversized Awards and Certificates, 1965-1983
Folder includes the following awards and certificates given to Robert MacVicar: Certificate of Acknowledgement, U.S. Air Force Operation North Star, 1965; Legion of Merit, Medical Service Corps, 1968; Honorary Doctorate, Dankook University (South Korea), 1980 [file also includes MacVicar's commencement address, delivered at the time of his receipt of the honorary degree]; Youth Motivation Task Force Commendation, National Alliance of Business, 1983.
Box-Folder 2.22: Decorative Quotations Saved as Keepsakes, 1980
Box-Folder 3.3: Oversize Poem: "Living By Grace", undated
Box-Folder 2.23: Photograph and Decorative Prints, 1964-1973
Folder contains a signed portrait photograph of Oklahoma City oil entrepreneur and philanthropist John E. Kilpatrick, 1964; a reproduction of a painting titled "Doorway of Old Kuwait," inscribed by Howard Gollam, 1973; and an etching of the Memorial Union by "Schulmerich," undated.

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