Oregon Tech 75 logo

 Welcome to the Oregon Tech 75th Year Celebration 

As one travels through these pages, one feels a sense of the growth of a small vocational school into a college, and a university and finally to being referred to as the Oregon State’s Polytechnic University. The website will include many of those people who worked to develop higher education in central Oregon and expand our reach to a diverse population of students. 

Working With Bakery Machinery



After much preparation, Oregon Vocational School (OVS) opened registration on July 14th of 1947.  Originally, OVS admitted only war veterans and their wives in the initial schools of Auto Mechanics, Commercial Cooking and Automotive Body & Fender. 

Registration day saw 33 students enrolled and by April 15th of 1948 the school would have 515 students enrolled over a much-expanded curriculum.  Within a year, preparation for classes in accounting, commercial art and design, and medical technology were planned for the fall of 1948.  The six-term course of study for medical technology prepared students to become medical laboratory technicians.  To support applied learning, a student spent one month in laboratory work in a hospital.  The student graduated after 180 term hours. 

Welding a Fender
Two Students in Medical Lab
Using Microtome


Oregon Vocational School -  Marine Barracks


First Campus

The World War II Klamath Falls Marine Recuperation Barracks were originally used for the treatment of Marine Corps veterans that had contracted various tropical diseases in the South Pacific.  At the end of the war the barracks were no longer needed and were scheduled to be vacated.  After many months of negotiations with the military authorities, the barracks were transferred to the Oregon State Board of Education on May 2, 1947. 




Dr. Winston Purvine (1912 – 2009) 


Dr. Winston Dane Purvine was a key figure in the founding of the Oregon Vocation School in Klamath Falls, OR and was appointed as Director by the State Board of Education in 1947 after funds were approved.  He later became the President of Oregon Tech until his retirement in 1976. 

Due to his major efforts, the institution stayed in Klamath Falls and prospered.  Under his leadership, the Institute grew from a vocational school to a four-year bachelor's degree college by 1966.  He was a strong supporter of quality in training and of good activities in the Associated Student Body. 

During his lifetime, he received many awards and commendations for his outstanding service and dedication to higher education in Oregon. In 1969, he was awarded the James H. McGraw Award for Outstanding Contribution to Engineering Education.  In 1993, Dr. Purvine became the 12th person nationwide to be cited as a Pioneer in Engineering Technology Education by the American Society for Engineering Education. 


Dr Winston Purvine



Frank Wilson - Football Player


Sports History

The history of Oregon Tech athletics dates back to the origins of the College, with a football and basketball team competing during the 1948-49 academic season – with Owls selected by the student body as the title of the two programs. 

Tech competed in the Oregon Collegiate Conference from 1950-1970, alongside Eastern Oregon, George Fox, Western Oregon, Portland State and Southern Oregon – many of the same opponents they still face today. The Owls won their first conference football title in 1954 and claimed their first basketball championship during the 1956-57 season. 

Learn more about Oregon Tech Sports History 



Return of Hootie!

Return of Hootie! 

This summer an iconic representation of Oregon Tech returned to campus in celebration of the university’s 75th anniversary.  This 7-foot-tall owl made of 1/8-inch steel has a history that traces back to the university’s origins. 

Hootie was designed and cut in the metal shop at the Oregon Technical Institute (OTI).  It is believed to have been created by alumnus and welding instructor George Marostica and served as a sign at the entrance of the original campus.  Once the campus moved from the Old Fort Road location to its current location, the Hootie sign was placed at Campus Drive and Highway 97 to serve as a symbol of the school. Eventually, a new sign was made and this original Hootie representation was left to rust in the snow. 

Great thanks to our Iota fraternity and Donna Butchino for preserving a big slice of history!  You can read the full story here




Dr Martha Anne Dow


Dr. Martha Anne Dow (1939 – 2007) 

Martha Anne Dow was OIT’s fifth president, known for her vision, servant leadership and open-door policy.  Her leadership transformed the school’s vision and helped the institute make a transition from its vocational roots into the future.  Some of the many positive outcomes include the establishment of the Oregon Renewable Energy Center and the Oregon Center of Health Professions. 

In 2000, she received the Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Service given by the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce and the Candice Richard Award for outstanding contributions to economic development, given by the Klamath County Economic Development Association. 

On Sept. 12, 2007, OIT’s new health sciences building was named in her honor - the Martha Anne Dow Center for Health Professions.  Dr. Dow held a bachelor’s from Northern Montana College, a master’s from Montana State University and a Ph.D. from University of Hawaii-Manoa. 



75th Anniversary Noble Owl Wine


Thanks to Tom and Angela Sanchez the Oregon Tech's 75th anniversary wine is now bottled and ready for sale! 

See details on our alumni web page here:  https://alumni.oit.edu/noble-owl-wine

Noble Owl wine