President's Office Records (RG 13)
44.4 cubic feet and 180 reels of microfilm

Oregon State University President Paul G. Risser, 1996. Shown here (middle figure) at a Triad Club meeting with University Honors College Director Jon Hendricks, Risser assumed the presidency of OSU in January 1996 after serving three years as President of Miami University in Ohio. In addition to his work in university administration, Risser also taught university level botany before coming to OSU. As President, Risser has emphasized the need for increased marketing and student recruitment and retention at OSU. [OSU Archives: P 98:1748]

Scope and Content Note

The records of the President's Office reflect the administration of the university and includes the documentation of policy formulation, publication of statistical information, and review of legal issues.

Organized into 17 subgroups, primarily by presidential administration. See subgroup and series outline. Subgroups 1-5 exist in both paper and microfilm formats. Most records for subgroups 6-11 are on microfilm; a few are in paper format. Subgroup 11 consists of records of both the university president and the dean of administration. Considerable duplication exists among the 4 additions that comprise this subgroup. Subgroups 13-17 are paper records only.

The President's Office records reflect the centralized nature of the university's administration that existed into the early 1970s (MacVicar administration). Most academic programs, research centers, and administrative and student support offices sent copies of substantive correspondence, reports, meeting minutes, publications, and other items to the President's Office. Consequently, nearly all university activities are documented to some extent by this record group.

President MacVicar began decentralization of the top administration of the university by adding a number of vice- presidents; separate record groups exist for those offices. The records beginning with his administration reflect the functions of the President's Office and the activities of the president, especially policies and procedures implemented and issues addressed by the president.

Multiple Accessions, 2004

New Accession, 2006

New Accession, 2007

New Accession, 2008


Access to the Department Review files in subgroup 13 and the 1984 NCAA inquiry records in subgroup 16 requires approval of the University Archivist and/or Legal Advisor.

Historical Note

Since its designation as a land-grant institution of higher learning in 1868, Oregon State University has had 16 presidents, including 4 acting presidents. They have been William A. Finley, 1865-1872 (Finley was appointed president of the university's predecessor institution, Corvallis Academy, in 1865); Joseph Emery, acting, 1872; Benjamin L. Arnold, 1872-1892; John D. Letcher, acting, 1892; John M. Bloss, 1892-1896; H. B. Miller, 1896-1897; Thomas M. Gatch, 1897-1907; William Jasper Kerr, 1907- 1932; George W. Peavy, acting, 1932-1934, president, 1934-1940; Frank L. Ballard, 1940-1941; Francois A. Gilfillan, acting, 1941- 1942; August L. Strand, 1942-1961; James H. Jensen, 1961-1969; Roy A. Young, acting, 1969-1970; Robert W. MacVicar, 1970-1984; John V. Byrne, 1984-1995; and Paul G. Risser, 1996-2002. The search for a replacement to Risser is currently underway with Vice Provost Tim White as the interim President.

The president is the chief executive officer of the university. From 1868 to 1929 the president reported to the college's Board of Trustees/Regents. Since the creation of the Oregon University System (formerly the Oregon State System of Higher Education) in 1929, the president has reported to the System's chancellor.

Related Materials

Photographs of OSU presidents are available in the Presidents of OSU Photographic Collection (P 1) and the President's Office Photographic Collection (P 92) as well as many other photographic groups. Moving images of the presidents are available in the President's Office Motion Picture Films and Videotapes Collection (P 92). The manuscripts collections include the personal papers of several OSU Presidents; these include the William A. Finley Scrapbook, the John M. Bloss Collection, the Francois A. Gilfillan Papers, the George W. Peavy Papers, the Roy A. Young Papers, the Robert MacVicar Papers, and the Paul G. Risser Papers.

The largest extant group of William Jasper Kerr's papers can be found in the Edwin T. Reed Papers. Materials pertaining to August L. Strand and James A. Jensen are included in the Fred M. Shideler Papers.

President's Office publications (PUB 247) are also available in the Archives. Various files in the Memorabilia Collection also contain information on the OSU presidents.

Shelf Locations

3/3/6/10-60; 3/3/5/10-60; 3/3/4/10-50; 3/3/3/10-60; 3/3/2/10-60;
3/3/1/10-20; 3/3/1/40-50; 4/4/10-60; 4/2/7/60; 4/3/2/60; 4/3/5/50
7/1/2/a; 7/1/3/a; 7/2/4/f (oversize boxes)
SR1/2/3/40 (sound recordings)
SR 4/2/4/i (inaugural medallion)
microfilm cabinet

Subgroup and Series Outline

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