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James Herbert Jensen

An internationally respected scientist, educator, and administrator, James Herbert Jensen served as Oregon State University's tenth president from 1961 until 1969.  During his tenure, Jensen helped expand scientific research at OSU as well as degree programs in the liberal arts.

Born on June 16, 1906 in Madison, Nebraska, James H. Jensen earned a B.S. in agriculture (1928) and an M.S. in botany (1930) from the University of Nebraska, along with a Ph.D. in plant pathology from the University of Wisconsin in 1935.  Jensen was awarded an honorary doctorate by both North Carolina University and the University of Nebraska in 1966.  After eight years as head of the plant pathology department at North Carolina State University, Jensen became provost of Iowa State University in 1953, a position he held until coming to Oregon State University in 1961.

During his time at OSU, Jensen helped to transition Oregon State from a land grant college to a land grant university.  During his tenure, the university was also designated as a Sea Grant Center with the inclusion of the OSU Marine Science Center in Newport and three research vessels.  Jensen likewise aided in the creation of campus-wide computer instruction and curricula in computer science.  In addition, he oversaw the creation of the Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, as well as forty new buildings and construction projects.

After retirement, Jensen spent several years in Thailand and Iran as a scientific advisor for the Rockefeller Institute. On February 10, 1993, he died in Bellevue, Washington at age 86, a victim of Parkinson's disease.

Related Resources: President's Office Records, Fred M. Shideler Papers, Roy A. Young Papers, Memorabilia Collection.

Black and white photograph of James Herbert Jensen.

James Herbert Jensen, ca. 1960s.

Black and white photograph of James Herbert Jensen with Cy Everts looking through a telescope.

James Herbert Jensen at the Pacific Northwest Water Laboratory dedication, ca. 1960s.