History and Community

Campus Traditions

Serving Oregon Since 1868

On October 27, 1868, Corvallis College became the state’s official land grant institution. Since then, we have grown from our first graduating class of three to over 31,800 students.

Over the past 150 years, OSU’s name has changed, our programs have multiplied and its facilities have expanded. But our mission to conduct world-leading research and to provide the highest quality education for the people of our state and beyond remains steadfast. Our impact resounds across Oregon and around the globe because we are OUT THERE, solving the world’s most pressing challenges.

Campus History

Impacting the West for over 150 Years

It all began in 1853 when the Oregon territorial legislature named three commissioners to select the Marysville site and erect the university. Brick, lumber, and other material were assembled and a kiln was built for the purpose of erecting a university building where Ballard Extension Hall now stands (originally Snell Hall). The town name changed to Corvallis, meaning the "heart of the valley," on December 20, 1853.

OSU Charter Day, October 27, 1868 was the first state support for higher education in Oregon. Other designated land grant colleges in 1868 were the University of Illinois at Urbana and the University of California at Berkeley. Corvallis College was given authority by the State of Oregon to grant three degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Arts.

Orange was selected as the school color on May 2, 1893. The students immediately adopted black as a background for their color. It wasn't until March 6, 1961, that the campus was officially named Oregon State University. 


Cheer on your fellow Beavers!

We've seen our baseball team win the College World Series and our women's basketball team in the Sweet 16. With 17 NCAA men's and women's sports, there are many opportunities to wear your orange and black!  Plus, the University of Oregon rivalry (Beavers vs. Ducks) in ANY sport is always something to look forward to. Never forget that Oregon State students get into athletic events for free!

Benny Beaver

Ken Austin was the first student to appear at OSU athletic events dressed as "Benny Beaver." This was during the football season of 1952. His outfit looked primitive by today's standards. Ken, an engineering major, is retired today and with his wife, Joan is co-owner of A-dec, one of the world's largest manufacturers of dental equipment based in Newberg, Oregon. Ken has been recognized as one of OSU's outstanding alumni of the 20th century.

Football Traditions and School Songs

OSU our hats are off to you,
Beavers, Beavers fighters thru and thru.
We'll cheer throughout the land,
We'll root for ev'ry plan,
Watch our team go tearing down the field,
Those of iron their strength will never yield.
Hail, hail, hail, hail,
Hail to old OSU.
(OSU Fight! B-E-A-V-E-R-S)

Written by Harold A. Wilkins

Here we come with a toast and song for the college up on the hill.
We love her shady slopes and trees its mem'ries cheer and thrill
But fondest thoughts when the years have run,
Will be of teams and vict'ries won,
Each man (one) a loyal son
Hail! to old OSU
OSU our hats are off to you
Beavers, Beavers, fighters through and through,
We'll cheer for every man, (or, "We'll cheer throughout the land,")
We'll root for every stand, (or, "We'll root for every plan,")
That's made for old OSU.
Watch our team go tearing down the field,
Men (those) of iron their strength will never yield,
Hail, hail, hail, hail,
Hail to old OSU. 

Annual Events


Orange and Black on the Football Field

Welcome Week

Move-In Day

No matter where you're from, once you move in you're a resident of Beaver Nation. Move-in Day is one of the best days of the year.  We offer lots of help and support (physical and emotional) for the day you make campus home.

End of Summer Beaver Bash

The End of Summer Beaver Bash is back, with a foam party featuring DJ CONDOR, laser tag, and a life size version of Hungry Hippos! Then come grab some FREE pancakes in the Memorial Union Ballroom after the event!

New Student Walk and Convocation

Join your fellow new students for one of the largest traditions of Welcome Week. You will stand with your academic college and walk from the MU Quad to Gill Coliseum and be welcomed by the faculty and staff of OSU.  This serves as your official academic welcome to OSU, and mirrors a similar tradition that occurs during Commencement.


Benny at Oregon State football game

Fall Events


Corvallis decorates its streets in orange and black in preparation for Homecoming Week. In addition to traditional homecoming festivities such as the football game and tug of war, there is a student carnival.

Family Weekends

In November and May, we welcome parents, siblings, grandparents and friends to experience a weekend in the life of a Beaver. It's a chance to reconnect while attending comedy shows, sporting events, and other campus entertainment.


Dam Jam event at oreogn state university

Spring Events

Spring Fashion Show

Featuring Oregon State Designers and models, this annual event showcases the work of future professional apparel designers. Oh, and the music is awesome, too!

Plaza Palooza 

Formerly known as 'DAM JAM', Plaza Palooza is an annual music event put on for students, by students. It's a time when the OSU community can come together to celebrate the end of the year and share in an inclusive experience that's fun for everyone. Prior to the concert, check out the annual Jamboree, featuring fun, interactive games, prizes, student group performances and awards, and opportunities to earn early access to the event!  Prior headliners include Macklemore, T-Pain, Akon, Tai Verdes and others.

Hui o Hawai'i Club Ho'ike 

The Ho'ike (formerly known as the Luau) - a 68-year tradition - features a range of Polynesian dances performed by Oregon State students, as well as tasty traditional Hawaiian food. This event is coordinated and supported by current Hawaiian students, parents and alumni.