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Western Oregon University: Over 150 years

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Historical Timeline: text version

Members of the Disciples of Christ depart to found a new town and build a Christian college

1850-1853
Members of the Disciples of Christ (also know as the Campbellite Church after its founder Alexander Campbell, and later the Christian Church) depart from Warren County, Illinois for Polk County, Oregon to found a new town and build a Christian college. Many of these immigrants came to Illinois from other parts of the country to help plan and participate in the trek to the Oregon Territory. The Christian school was an incentive to those who had finally settled down in Illinois and did not want to undertake the long journey to an unknown land. 1854-5 Land is selected for a new town and the school in 1854. Ira Butler casts the tie-breaking vote and the name Monmouth is chosen over Dover for the new town. In 1855, the first board of trustees for the college is elected. Ira Butler is voted president, T.H. Hutchinson secretary, and T.H. Lucas treasurer. The Board of Trustees begins preparations for the college in Monmouth.

Ira Butler is voted the first president of the school 1856
Monmouth University, patterned after Bethany College in West Virginia, is founded by the Disciples of Christ. Land is donated to the school from three members of the church, Thomas H. Lucas, John B. Smith and Squire S. Whitman. The school shares space with the newly organized First Christian Church of Monmouth. The 20x30 foot building stands on the corner of Main Street and Monmouth Avenue. Board is available for students in good families at $2.50 to $3.00 a week.
H.R. Avery - first principal of the Education Department of Monmouth University 1858-61
1858 The first university building is constructed on land set aside for the school. The two story building is completed at a cost of approximately $5,000. In 1861, H.R. Avery is hired as the first principal of the Education Department of Monmouth University. Avery’s salary for the 240 day academic year is $1,000 payable quarterly. Tuition rates vary from $5 for English to $9 for trigonometry, Greek, and Latin.

The school was often called the “Brick College” because of the large brick structure. The building is later named Campbell Hall in honor of the two Campbell presidents

Thomas F. Campbell is hired as the Christian College’s second president

1865-69
Monmouth University’s name is changed to Christian College and consolidated with Bethel College, another Disciples of Christ school near Monmouth. Levi L. Rowland is selected as the first president of the college in Monmouth. Rowland, educated at the Disciples of Christ’s Bethany College in Virginia, was a professor at Bethel College before it merged with Monmouth University. Bethany College in Virginia was the blueprint for both Monmouth University and Bethel College. 1869 Thomas F. Campbell, who also studied at Bethany College in Virginia, is hired as the Christian College’s second president. Campbell is an effective fundraiser and oversees the initial construction of the first permanent university building. The school was often called the “Brick College” because of the large brick structure he helped build. The building is later named Campbell Hall in honor of the two Campbell presidents.
Suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony speaks to a large audience in the Campbell Hall Chapel 1871
The first stage of Campbell Hall construction is completed. The north and south wings and the bell tower are later additions. The Christian College graduating class of 1871 contains eight students. In October, suffrage advocate Susan B. Anthony speaks to a large audience in the Campbell Hall Chapel. Traveling with Abigail Scott Duniway, Anthony visits several Mid-Willamette Valley communities, including Dayton, Lafayette, McMinnville, and Forest Grove on her way from Salem to Portland.
  1872-7
The enrollment is 237 in 1872 and school rules include the following prohibitions. A good student “did not bring intoxicating beverages to the college premises or use it elsewhere, abstained from all things immoral, disorderly, such as gambling, card playing – even for amusement, profanity, did not leave town without permission of the president or faculty, did not attend a ball, visit a saloon or billiard hall or other improper place of amusement, did not visit another student except at the home of that student’s parents in Monmouth…”
  1880-1
The 1880 enrollment at the college falls to just 13 students and the total tuition received is only $600. In 1881, the Christian College establishes a “normal” department in Monmouth. Normal departments and schools were a primary method of teacher training at the time. The new normal department helps pave the way for future public funding of the institution as a teacher training school.
  1882
In an effort to save the struggling school, the Christian College becomes a public institution and the name is changed to the Oregon State Normal School (OSNS). David T. Stanley assumes the school’s presidency. Stanley, a product of a normal school in Missouri, returns to the college where he once taught mathematics. The school actually receives no government funding until 1893, when the state allocated $22,382 for operating expenses at OSNS. After retiring in 1890, Stanley earns a law degree from Drake University and a medical degree from Barnes University.
1887: Cupids Knoll 1886-7
Tuition is $15.00 for normal, collegiate, and commercial classes per year ($5.00 per term) and each student is charged an incidental fee of $5.00 per term. A room is $1.50-$3.50 per week. The 1887 graduating class of Oregon State Normal School plants a giant sequoia outside Campbell Hall. Today the giant sequoia stands 123 ft tall. In 1888 The Monmouth State Normal School Association is formed and incorporated into the Board of Trustees.

1888: Commencement decorations

Prince L. Campbell, son of T.F. Campbell, becomes president of the Oregon State Normal School

1889
Prince L. Campbell, son of T.F. Campbell, becomes president of the Oregon State Normal School. P.L. Campbell leaves OSNS in 1902 to become president of the University of Oregon in Eugene. The south wing and bell tower of Campbell Hall, or the Brick College as it was known, are finished during his presidency. The south wing and tower of Campbell Hall, like the original structure, are built without any state funding.
1898:Campbell hall library is completed 1898
The north wing addition of Campbell Hall is completed. The north wing houses the school’s library until the construction of a library building in 1951.
1899: Class picture 1899
The Oregon State Normal School adds a third year of classes to the curriculum. This included a half year of “sub-normal” courses to bring less prepared students up to college expectations. The previous year, the state legislature ceases to automatically certify graduates of the state’s normal schools as teachers. Normal school graduates are now required to pass a licensing examination prior to being certified to teach in the state.
Edwin D. Ressler is selected as president of Oregon State Normal School in 1902 1902-3
Edwin D. Ressler is selected as president of Oregon State Normal School in 1902. Ressler serves at OSNS until 1909 when he becomes Dean of the School of Vocational Education at Oregon State University. In 1903, the 1871 component of Campbell Hall catches fire due to an overheated furnace flue. Students and people from the town fight the fire until help from Dallas and Independence arrives.
  1904
The student code of conduct declares “Each student will be expected to subordinate every other interest to his regular school duties. ….Profanity, gambling, the use of intoxicating liquors, visiting saloons, attending public balls at any time, or private dancing parties except at the end of terms, carrying concealed weapons, smoking cigarettes, and all other practices in violation of good morals... are distinctly prohibited…Students will be expected to be in their rooms early and not to lounge about the stores or on the streets
  1905-08
1906 - Normal school funding measure is approved by the voters but the ballot measure is vetoed by Governor Chamberlain. The Oregon State Normal School continues operating on contributions and salary cuts as funding from the state dries up. President Ressler works pro bono and the faculty voluntarily reduces their salary by $5,000. The student body donates $1,500 and pays double the tuition of the University of Oregon and Oregon State to keep the school afloat.

The Oregon Legislature passes a bill abolishing all normal school legislation

1909: view of Monmouth

1909
The Oregon Legislature passes a bill, sponsored by Senator F. J. Miller, abolishing all normal school legislation. The bill leaves the Oregon normal schools without enough state funds to complete the school year. Again, private donations and cutbacks keep the school open. At the end of the academic year, OSNS and the two other remaining normal schools close due to a lack of funding from the state legislature.
John H. Ackerman is named as president 1910-11
Ira C. Powell collects the required number of signatures for a ballot initiative re-establishing a state normal school in Monmouth. On November 8, the measure passes with 50,191 votes in support and 40,044 against. It provides a permanent funding source for the ONS from a levy on taxable property. In 1911, OSNS is funded and renamed the Oregon Normal School (ONS). John H. Ackerman, the State Superintendent of Schools and proponent of reopening the school, is named as president. Enrollment is 138.
The first student dormitory on the Monmouth campus opens for use and is later named after Jessica Todd 1913
The first student dormitory on the Monmouth campus opens for use. Later named after Jessica Todd, the first Dean of Women at the school, the building is tastefully furnished and decorated by Todd. Her ghost is rumored to still walk the hallways of the dormitory and nearby Senior Cottage. Maple hall is also constructed, at a cost of $8,500. Maple Hall is initially used as a gymnasium and recreation center.
D.E. Cooper is elected as the first student council president 1914
ONS begins to debate the question of a student government on campus. The first student government, known as the Student Council of the Oregon Normal School, holds its first official meeting on May 6, 1914. D.E. Cooper is elected as the first president and Emma Applegate as secretary. The Campbell Hall library collection now tops 4,000 volumes.
Construction finishes on the Campus Elementary School later renamed as ITC 1916-7
Construction finishes on the Campus Elementary School. The building replaces a wood structure built in 1882 that served as the training school and the area’s only school until 1911. Campus Elementary School closes in 1986, and the school renames the building as the Instructional Technology Center. In 1918, the second floor of the south wing of Campbell Hall is remodeled to provide additional space for offices and the auditorium.
  1918
William H. Burton is dismissed from his teaching position. Burton, an outspoken critic of the rigid discipline imposed by President Ackerman, disrupts the commencement exercise by standing and delivering a tirade against Ackerman. Burton’s first text book is banned from the campus for “disrespectful” references to Ackerman. Burton and the school reach reconciliation in 1942 under President Howard when Burton lectures on the campus in Monmouth.
Joseph S. Landers is selected as the seventh president of the institution in 1921 1920-21
In 1920, Enrollment increases to 322 students, more than doubling the student body since the school’s re-opening in 1911. Joseph S. Landers is selected as the seventh president of the institution in 1921. Landers resigns in 1932 amid controversy over “progressive education” training for teachers. After his tenure as president, Landers continues teaching as professor emeritus at ONS until his retirement in 1947.
  1924
President Landers continues his effort to expand the school’s curriculum and increase graduation and teaching certificate requirements. Landers does not achieve this goal during his administration, but succeeds in increasing the length of elementary school teacher education to two years of normal school training. Faculty House, today known as West House, is purchased with dormitory profits.
Larry Wolfe coaching ONS football team 1928
Larry Wolfe is hired as head coach of the ONS football team. Wolfe quickly builds the program into a regional powerhouse. A 1928 copy of the Lamron suggests the name “Wolves” for the school’s athletic teams, and the idea quickly takes hold. The school’s mascot, Waldo Wolfe, is a combination of Waldo Zeller, the first ONS coach, and Larry Wolfe. Summer term enrollment is at an all time high with 1,100 students.
  1931
Governor Julius L. Meier demands an investigation into charges of “gross extravagance and incompetency” of ONS, President Landers, and the “lack of proper moral and academic standards” at the school. Landers resigns amid the investigation which concludes that “such charges...do not constitute sufficient cause for the dismissal of President Landers.” The investigation, however, recommends Landers be censured for two instances of poor judgment.
Julius A. Churchill is hired as the ONS president 1932
Julius A. Churchill is hired as the ONS president. Churchill was previously the first president of the Oregon State Normal School in Ashland, where he helped establish the tradition of Shakespearean plays. Churchill successfully lobbies the legislature in 1939 for a bill to change the names of the Oregon normal schools to colleges of education. A proposal to close the Oregon Normal School and use the campus as an annex to the State Penitentiary is defeated in the legislature.
1936: The Administration Building is dedicated on the campus in Monmouth 1936
The Administration Building is dedicated on the campus in Monmouth. The building replaces Campbell Hall as the administrative center of the school. In addition to its administrative functions, science and psychology classes are taught in the building until 1970 and 1960 respectively.
Charles A. Howard is selected to replace Churchill as president of the college 1938-39
In 1938 the Oregon Normal School is fully accredited by the American Association of Teachers Colleges. The school’s name is changed to Oregon College of Education (OCE) in 1939, reflecting President Churchill’s desire for an expanded curriculum. Charles A. Howard is selected to replace Churchill as president of the college. Howard had been president of Eastern Oregon College of Education prior to assuming the presidency of OCE
1940s: Monmouth ave. 1940
The Polk County Fair is held at the Oregon College of Education’s Memorial Stadium. The fair is located at the school until the current site in Rickreall was built and ready for use in 1952. Underground power and phone lines are installed on Monmouth Avenue in the 1940s. The underground lines replace the unsightly telephone and power poles on campus.
  1942
The enrollment at the Oregon College of Education plummets as World War Two draws men and women into military service. Women from OCE are transported to Camp Adair, 15 miles south of Monmouth, on the weekends for social activities. Servicemen from Camp Adair also attend college social events in Monmouth to help offset the lack of men in attendance due to the war. OCE grants its first four-year degrees at spring commencement.
WW2 era dance 1943-45
Enrollment in the school continues to decline due the war. The 1943 enrollment is 147 students, including only three male students. The enrollment reaches 343 students in 1946, with men outnumbering women on campus for the first time.
1946: Arnold Arms building with homecoming decorations 1946
Oregon College of Education purchases the Arnold Arms boarding house on Jackson Street for $23,000. Arnold Arms is initially used as housing for World War II veterans. Used as both a men’s and women’s dorm over the years, Arnold Arms now houses the mathematics faculty offices. Marshall Dana, editorial writer for the Portland Oregon Journal is awarded the first and only doctorate granted by the school.
Henry M. Gunn is hired as president of the Oregon College of Education 1947
Oregon Normal School graduate Henry M. Gunn is hired as president of the Oregon College of Education. Gunn returns to the college at Monmouth after receiving a master from the University of Oregon and a doctorate from Stanford University. Gunn serves as president until 1950 when he accepts a superintendent position in Palo Alto, California. ONS awards its first emeritus status to a professor.
Roben J. Maaske becomes the eleventh president of OCE 1950
Roben J. Maaske becomes the eleventh president of OCE. Maaske was president of the Eastern Oregon College of Education from 1939 until 1950 when he accepts the position in Monmouth. Maaske heads the university until 1955 when he unexpectedly dies of a heart attack while working at his desk. Football field lights are purchased, from University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, with hopes of increasing attendance and revenue by holding night games.

1951: The OCE completes the first dedicated library building on campus

view two: 1951: The OCE completes the first dedicated library building on campus

1951
The OCE completes the first dedicated library building on campus. The building, now Academic Programs and Support, replaces the cramped Campbell Hall Library. The new library is recognized for its architectural design but suffers from noise problems due to the unique design. The school purchases 5 ½ acres of “fairgrounds” property around the present day football field, and included the covered grandstand and a barn which is used to exhibit livestock.
  1952
The Oregon College of Education adds a Master of Science degree in elementary education to the curriculum. Undergraduate major programs in humanities, social sciences, and science-mathematics for the college are also approved for the school in Monmouth.
Leonard W. Rice is selected as the fourteenth president 1955
Roy E. Lieuallen becomes president of OCE. Lieuallen was Registrar before accepting the presidency. Lieuallen resigns in 1961 and is replaced by interim president Ellis A. Stebbins. Lieuallen oversees construction of the College Center, (now the Werner University Center), Maaske Hall, General Arts (now Smith Music Hall), and Wolverton Memorial Pool. Prior to the construction of the pool, the swimming team held competitions in the Willamette River. Enrollment reaches 748 students.

 

Life magazine - Wes Luchau’s photograph of the bell tower falling

1962-63
In 1962, Leonard W. Rice is selected as the fourteenth president. The south wing and bell tower of Campbell Hall and the Old Grove is destroyed by the 120 mph winds of the Columbus Day Storm of 1962. Life features Wes Luchau’s photograph of the bell tower falling in the magazine.Student Health Services is built, costing $138.36. Enrollment drops slightly due to the damaged appearance of the campus caused by the storm.
  1965
The Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSS) is dedicated on the OCE campus. HSS, designed by two faculty members, replaces the south wing of Campbell Hall destroyed in 1962. The building and carillon, a gift from the Alumni Association, sit in approximately the same location as the south wing and bell tower of Campbell Hall. The Education Building is also completed in 1965. Enrollment reaches 2,073.
1967: Giant sequoia tree lighting 1967
Student Gayna Miles Meyers suggests that the Giant Sequoia planted outside Campbell Hall by the graduation class of 1887 be lit during the holiday season. The tradition continues today on the campus.

1973: Student protest of Monmouth ave

1973_ClView two - 1973: STudent protest of Monmouth ave

1973
The state legislature again investigates the possibility of shutting down OCE. When Colorado voters reject the funding measure for the 1976 Winter Olympics in Denver, a new site is sought. Two Monmouth men, Scott McArthur and Dee Bridges, propose Cupid’s Knoll. Despite a $2.25 budget, the International Olympic Committee did not select the 321-foot hill. OCE and Monmouth city officials discuss closing Monmouth Avenue after a series of accidents involving pedestrians spark student protests.
  1974-76
In 1974, OCE’s College of Education is awarded the highest honor given by the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) for excellence in the elementary education program. Rice Auditorium is completed and dedicated. Built to replace the theater in Campbell Hall destroyed by the Columbus Day Storm, Rice is home to the popular Smith Fine Arts Series which brings talented performers to the area each year.
1977:Gerald Leinwand becomes president of the Oregon College of Education 1977
Gerald Leinwand becomes president of the Oregon College of Education. Leinwand pushes for a name change to Western Oregon State College (WOSC) to reflect the school’s growing academic diversity. Leinwand retires in 1982 and James Beaird serves as interim president.
View one: Memorial Stadium burns to the ground View two: Memorial Stadium burns to the ground 1979-80
Memorial Stadium burns to the ground in spectacular fashion only days before the 1979 commencement was to be held there. A new stadium, McArthur Field, is dedicated in 1981. The stadium is named after Coach Bill McArthur, who spent 34 years at the school. In 1980, the Legislature considers serious budget cuts for higher education. Again, talk of closing OCE and changing it into a state prison commences.
Administrative staff holding t-shirt with new college name 1981
The Oregon College of Education is receives its fifth name in 125 years. The change to Western Oregon State College (WOSC) reflects the changing role and direction of the college in Monmouth. The next several years would be a period of rapid growth for WOSC, despite talk of closing the college.
Oregon Police Academy building 1983
Richard Meyers is selected as president of Western Oregon State College, succeeding interim president James Beaird. Meyers successfully defends the school against proposed closure plans and the school’s attendance numbers begins to rise. Meyers also negotiates a deal making WOSC the permanent home of the Oregon Police Academy.
  1985
The Jensen Arctic Museum is dedicated on the WOSC campus. The museum is the only one on the West Coast dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, and educating about Arctic ecology and culture. The museum is named after Professor Emeritus Paul Jensen, and his personal collection is used as the foundation for the museum. WOSC leads the state system with an enrollment gain of 12 percent. 1987 McArthur Field receives a new playing surface and competition track. The crowned playing surface is replaced with a flat field and a system of pipes and sensors to drain water more efficiently. The track is built by Rekortan to showcase its new high-tech surface materials. Three years prior, Rekortan built and designed the track for the 1984 Los Angles Olympics.
  1990-93
Heritage Hall opens its doors in the fall of 1989. The $6.2 million dormitory houses over 400 students inside the 271,310 bricks used to construct it. Enrollment reaches an all time high at Western Oregon State College. The enrollment of 4,017 comes less than eight years after the threatened closure of the school. In 1993, the Oregon Military Academy opens on the WOSC campus. The Oregon Military Academy is the first armed services training center on the campus of a four-year university in the country.
1990: Newspaper clipping from Skully the Skeleton -  “bone-napped” 1994
Skully the Skeleton, is “bone-napped” from the Natural Science Building. A ransom letter is left at the Western Star, the campus newspaper . The letter demands the paper print an editorial. When the newspaper refuses, a second letter is left by the bone-napper. This time, campus police photograph the thief with a pinhole camera installed in the ceiling. The Lady Wolves lose in the finals of the NAIA basketball tournament to Northern State 48-45 in front of a home court crowd in Monmouth.
Lady wolves holding basketball championship  banner Betty J. Youngblood is becomes the first woman president 1995-96
Betty J. Youngblood is becomes the first woman president of the institution and serves as its head until 2002. Youngblood replaces interim president Bill Cowart, appointed after Meyers’ 1994 resignation. She oversees the move to university status and the construction of Hamersly Library. On March 15, 1996, the Lady Wolves win the NAIA National Basketball Championships. WOSC defeats Northwest Nazarene 75-67 to capture the first national title for any sport at Western. Sandie Graves is named to the NAIA All-American Basketball Team, and Rusty Rogers is Coach of the Year.
  1997-98
Western Oregon State College becomes a four-year university and the name is changed to the current Western Oregon University. Enrollment reaches a record-high of 4,283 students and exceeds growth projects. The second phase of construction on the Werner University Center begins. The expansion increases the floor space to 85,000 square feet. WOU’s YouthQuest, a career exploration camp, receives the 1998 Exemplary and Innovative Program Award from the Western Association of Summer Session Administrators.
Hamersly Library 2002: Philip W. Conn is selected to replace Betty Youngblood as president 2000-02
Hamersly Library opens its doors to Western Oregon University students and the surrounding community. The $14.3 million building is the third building used as a library on the campus. Philip W. Conn is selected to replace Betty Youngblood as president. In 2002, WOU athletics finish the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II status begun in 1998. WOU hosts the track and field event for the 2002 Special Olympics. Over 160 students, staff, and faculty plan and volunteer at the event.
  2003
The City of Monmouth allows alcohol sales for the first time in its 146-year history. Poe’s Pantry and Fish Market is the first business in Monmouth to serve an alcoholic drink since the founding of the town. Poe’s Pantry pours the inaugural glass of beer during a press conference to celebrate the end of Monmouth’s prohibition. The November 5, 2002 measure passed with 58% of residents voting in favor of allowing alcohol sales in the city. Monmouth had been Oregon’s only remaining dry town.
Nalacey Porter competes in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens 2004
Enrollment at Western Oregon University reaches 4,500 undergraduate and 400 graduate students. Associated Students of Western Oregon University President Jeremy Quintanilla resigns days before the start of the spring term. Senate President Rebekah Wilcox assumes his duties. Nalacey Porter competes in the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Porter is a member of the Western traveling track team and competes against athletes with no disabilities. WOU professor Henry Hughes’ book Men Holding Eggs wins the Oregon Book Award for Poetry.
  2005
Phillip Conn retires as president of Western Oregon University. John Minahan returns to Western Oregon University as interim president. Minahan was a Professor of Philosophy and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1986 until 1998. In 1998 Minahan became Provost at WOU until his retirement in 2004. WOU adds a bachelor of fine arts degree to the curriculum, making the university only the second school in the Oregon public higher education system to offer the degree.
  2006
Western Oregon University celebrates its 150th birthday. Founded in 1856 by members of the Disciples of Christ, the university in Monmouth is the oldest public university in Oregon