In 1947, Robert M. Kerr, Edwin B. Aldrich, and E. C. Sammons established the OSC Foundation with the aid of OSC President A. L. Strand. They saw the Foundation as a means of creating opportunities that the college could not fulfill with state funds alone. That year they collected the first donation to OSC Foundation. It was for five dollars.
"We were rich in vision for what the Foundation could achieve, but poor in resources," said the late Kerr. "Many people were skeptical that the Foundation could actually be successful."
The endowment began with $20,000 in 1961. It took 16 years to reach its first $1 million in total receipts, and only four more years to double that amount.
Today, the Oregon State University Foundation has helped the university achieve a composite endowment valued at more than $510 million, with earnings distributed annually. In that time, Oregon State has grown from a well-respected land grant college to an internationally recognized public research university with a land, sea, space, and sun grant mission. OSU's individual colleges make major contributions to communities nearby and around the world through research innovations, publications, and high-caliber students graduating into the marketplace.
Gifts from alumni and friends assure that OSU will continue to increase in excellence, to the benefit of our students, the state of Oregon, and our world.
Pictured is an etching of Benton Hall, ca 1890s. P 025, OSU Archives. Used with permission.