Oregon Tech "Firsts"

  • First Campus: 822 acres – began 1947 – Oregon Vocational School (OVS). Former Marine Barracks – 80 buildings – 3 miles from downtown
  • First day of class: Tuesday, July 15, 1947.Thirty-three students in:Auto mechanics, commercial cooking, & automotive body & fender
  • First Faculty Senate formed: 1965
  • First name: Oregon Vocational School (OVS).Changed 12-21-48 by State Board of Education to Oregon Technical Institute (OTI). “Eliminates an unfortunate connotation with penal institutions”. First use of name Oregon Institute of Technology – 1973.
  • The early curriculum included the classes of gun-smithing, baking and commercial cooking, clock and watch repair, dry cleaning, silk screening, auto mechanics, refrigeration servicing, and many others. A class was established when ten students requested it
  • First basketball team: “The Owls” entered competition Fall, 1947
  • First OVS football team practices – early September 1948- Kiwanis Park in the Mills Addition
  • First Dean of Students: Robert L. Smith1947-61
  • First “periodical newspaper for the campus titled The Owl” – was first printed in November, 1948
  • First annual commencement exercises were held: June 24, 1949. 233 grads.208 were vets; 15 not.Senator. Harry Boivin spoke
  • First catalog issued: 9-3-49; 64 pages; 4,000 copies
  • First approval of OTI as acceptable school for scholarships by Daly Scholarship Fund of Lakeview -June 10, 1950 – meant first college-level designation for OTI
  • First textbook by Oregon Tech Faculty: 1956, authored by Hagen and Jacobi, on X-ray Technology
  • Landmark decision by State Board of Education in 1957:“The Klamath Falls School was to have the same relationship to the Board that State Colleges and Universities had to the Board of Higher Education”
  • First Associate Degree to be granted in Applied Science approved by State Board of Education, December 10-11, 1957
  • First choice and purchase of new campus site, 6-13-60
  • First shovelful of dirt: State Senator Harry Boivin8-19-1961
  • First two buildings to be built: Semon & Owens Hall
  • Regional accreditation: 12-7-1962
  • Landmark: “Formal dedication of the Nation’s newest college campus” by Governor Mark Hatfield, October 26, 1964
  • First BT degree approved 10-12-1966, in Engineering Technologies: Civil, Electrical, Mechanical
  • First Honor Society: Omega Pi, local - 4-29-1968
  • Law changing name to Oregon Institute of Technology first became effective October 5, 1973
  • First President after Dr. Purvine: Dr. Kenneth F. Light,1976
  • First approval for a baccalaureate degree: 1968
  • First summer sessions began in the mid-fifties
  • First Faculty Charter: 2-3-1970
  • First Student Council began8-1947
  • First Homecoming Queen: 1949, Gale Bachman
  • First Bachelor’s Degree: Bachelor of Technology, in Engineering Technology – “BT”1966-1979
  • First computerization of Campus between 1983 and 1992, promoted by President Blake
  • First regional accreditation as “a specialized higher institution” in 1962
  • Oregon Tech’s radio station, KTEC, went on the air for the first time 12-19-1950
  • New swimming pool completed end of 1983 academic year
  • First Master's Degree: In the Fall of 1995, Oregon Tech introduces a Master of Science in Engineering Technology program, with specialization in Computer Engineering Technology.

Resources on Oregon Tech’s history

Oregon Institute of Technology, 1947-1997, The First Fifty Years, vol. 11 of the Journal of the Shaw Historical Library, (1997)

OVS, OTI, Oregon Tech: OREGON TECH’S FIRST 30 YEARS, 1946 – 1976 by Winston D. Purvine

The Owler, OIT’s yearbook from 1950 to 1983. Copies are available for use at the Oregon Tech Main Library Access Services desk and in the Shaw Historical Library.

For More Information

Library Reference

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Campus History Collection
3201 Campus Dr.
Klamath Falls, OR 97601

Last Updated December 2014

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