Oregon State University: A Legacy of Transformation

Aerial view painting of OSC campus, 1912

February 10 – September 9, 2018

  • Free for Members
  • Family-friendly
  • Researchers
  • Teachers
  • Handicap Accessible Friendly

Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Ave
Portland, Oregon 97205
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For 150 years, Oregon State University has provided access to a high-quality college education for all Oregonians, solving tough challenges through groundbreaking research, serving community needs, and propelling the state and global economy. Following the Morrill Act of 1862, the Oregon Legislative Assembly designated Corvallis College as the state’s land grant college on October 27, 1868. Today, Oregon State serves more than 31,800 students and continues its land grant mission to reach communities across the state through OSU Extension Service operations in all 36 counties.


This exhibit shares — through 150 stories — how Oregon State University has transformed the community, the state, the nation, and the world in surprising ways.  A new blue pigment discovered by OSU chemist Mas Subramanian — the first in more than 200 years — will first appear as a Crayola crayon in late 2017. The vivid color, which does not fade, reflects heat, and absorbs ultraviolet light, may next be used in roof coatings to help keep buildings cooler and reduce energy use. And, there is a good chance that the nearest TV or smartphone flat screen uses a high-performance transparent transistor that was invented at Oregon State.

Talented graduates are Oregon State’s greatest contribution to the world. Some are more well-known like Dick Fosbury (’72), whose back-first high jump technique — the Fosbury Flop — revolutionized the sport and won him a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics. Others may not be recognized by name, but their innovations have revolutionized the world: Douglas Engelbart (’48); invented the computer mouse; award-winning animator Harley Jessup (’76) brought characters to life in Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, and other movies; and Bernie Newcomb (’65) cofounded E*Trade, one of the first internet stock-trading companies.