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Clara Pratt Oral History Interview

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Clara Pratt Oral History Interview


For Clara Pratt, school was always very important and academic work has always held the greatest enjoyment. The first of two adopted children by hardworking parents, Clara grew up poor and wanted two things in her life: to not be poor, and not struggle as hard as her parents. She attended Gonzago in Spokane, WA, then studied developmental psychology at University of Oregon. She received her PhD in gerontology by age 25. She chose this field, the study of aging, because there was money and research positions available. This led her to a gerontologist position with the OSU Extension Services. After marriage, she taught Social Work at University of Washington. She loved Seattle, but her health became an issue and her husband missed the country, so they returned to OSU.

Clara spent 16 years teaching gerontology at OSU and developed the largest conference on gerontology in the state. Over her years at OSU, Clara worked on many committees, became an endowment chair, and worked on a grant project for Healthy Start for first-time parents of infants. Clara speaks a great deal about her position as a Dean in various departments, first Home Economics, working with the Education and Health and Human Performance (HHP), and her efforts to restructure the flawed programs. She was a no-nonsense administrator and problem-solver that believed in getting discontented and resentful feelings out in the open, working through them collaboratively, listening to each other, and then getting past it so progress could be made. Her final positon was the department chair for HHP, which she loved and would have continued with, but she suffered a stroke and decided, reluctantly, that it was time to retire.

Clara continued to work part time for OSU evaluating the Extension programs. She also did private consulting and was a Chair for the Advisory Committee for Health Start. Her greatest accomplishments were to work positions in which she enjoyed and was able to find financial success. This allowed her to travel, adopt two children from China, and help support her older children and her grandchildren. She believes her work ethic and persistence at including her children in her work environment was an important life lesson. Her recognitions include the Elizabeth Richie award for undergraduate teaching and the Faculty Services award for her work on budget restructuring and revision.


Clara Pratt


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


Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries


February 2, 2010


Aleece Kopczenski, Kendra Lewis, and Patti Thrall


Born Digital




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Aleece Kopczenski, Kendra Lewis, and Patti Thrall


Clara Pratt


Pratt residence, Corvallis, Oregon

Original Format

Born Digital



OHMS Object

Interview Format


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