Since 1962

Written by: Hannah Field | News Editor

Western’s average first-year student would never pass by Campbell Hall and consider that something is missing.

The building blends in with the rest of the old architecture — a staple to Western’s image. Before 1962, however, it had a whole section of rooms and even a bell tower that was lost to the Columbus Day Storm that wrecked the West coast — blowing in dangerous winds and torrents of rain statewide.

Student Wes Luchau photographed the devastation in action, a photo blasted to national media that even ended up earning Luchau 400 dollars which would be equivalent to four thousand dollars in today’s currency.

There is more of this hidden history that exists in the Western archives —  residing in the library archives and passed on in stories.

According to “Since 1856… Historical Views of the College at Monmouth,” a book kept shelved in Western’s Wayne & Lynn Hamersly Library, the enrollment in 1962 was at 1200 students. 

The book states, “The College attracted a student body most of whom were first generation college-bound,” which corresponds today with Western program SEP., specific to first-generation students, a trait Western has incorporated for over 60 years.

At this time, Western was not yet Western Oregon University, but the Oregon College of Education, and would go by this name until the year 1981.

The sixties arranged a period of rapid growth for the college, tripling their numbers by the end of the decade. More educational programs were established, as well as programs related to the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. 

The college underwent degree establishment requiring prerequisites for classes in elementary education, whereas previously, students could take the required classes in any order they desired, much unlike today’s system. 

More staff were hired and more funding was given to Western so it would eventually become the school as we know it today. It was a long journey from 1962’s disaster-struck college to today’s successful university.

More of Western’s complicated history can be easily found on the Wayne & Lynn Hamersly Library’s website and archival materials. Books, such as “Since 1869…,” are easily accessible and available to be checked out. 

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