The bright sound of a strumming ukulele. The lingering scent of roasted kalua pig. For 68 years, Oregon State has celebrated the culture of Hawaii with the Hō‘ike, meaning “show” or“exhibit,” and Lū’au,
meaning “feast” — OSU’s largest student-run event.
In the event’s first years, during the 1950s, only about 150 students hailed from Hawaii. (In 2022, there were 500.) Finding themselves 2,500 miles from home, they decided to bring a little bit of the islands to Corvallis and
started an enduring tradition of sharing their culture with the OSU community and strengthening the school’s tight knit Hawaiian family.
This spring, 90 student dancers filled the LaSells Stewart Center to showcase dancing traditions, telling stories passed down through generations in chants and songs. Parents on the home islands sent about 380 pounds of native flowers,
bushels of island greenery and other cargo like handmade jewelry, pineapple gummies and frozen kulolo desserts.
“Hula is about poetry and movement,” says Sandy Tsuneyoshi. Since the 1990s, the long-time OSU community leader affectionately known as “Aunty Sandy, ”has mentored the Hui O Hawai’i student club that puts
on the festivities. Volunteers and students turned-chefs whip together menus in the Global Community Kitchen, blending local food and traditional fare: shoyu chicken, tofu poke and, of course, smoked kalua pork — 420 pounds
worth this year. Tsuneyoshi has seen the event sell out venues for the past 27 years (except when the pandemic paused live events). This spring, Beavers snapped up all 1,200 tickets days before the festivities. —SIOBHAN MURRAY
No. 8 — The Ghost of Waldo Hall
Does an unearthly presence walk the floors of Waldo Hall? Does the former women’s dormitory house previous tenants who can never leave? Or is it simply a combination of urban legends and the quirks of a 116-year-old building
that give it that uncanny feeling? For decades, students and faculty have asked these questions.
Amas Aduviri, director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), has had the same office on the third floor of Waldo Hall since 2005. During the early part of his career, he traveled frequently. He always carried pamphlets
with him, but one night around 2009, as he was packing for an early morning flight toWashington,D.C., he realized he’d forgotten to grab some.
When he got to the office, it was around midnight on a Saturday night. Campus was very quiet. Because Aduviri had heard plenty of stories about Waldo’s supernatural reputation, he was nervous going into the building so late.“My
heart was racing,” he recalled. “I tried to go as fast as I could to get to my office.”
When he reached the third floor, he found lights off.As he reached for the switch, he saw a white figure with something draped over its body hovering by the staircase down the hall. It whooshed silently up the stairs toward the
fourth floor. He said he felt the rush of air as it disappeared.
“I could feel the swish,” he said. “That freaked me out.”
Terrified, Aduviri rushed to his office, grabbed a stack of pamphlets and ran. He did not look back.
Waldo Hall opened in 1907 as a women’s dormitory. It is an imposing Richardson Romanesque-style building, the first on campus with indoor plumbing. Funny, since the second-floor women’s bath room is said to have some
of the most supernatural activity, with reports of creepy feelings, singing and full-bodied apparitions.
For 60 years ,Waldo housed generations of young women and was home to many notable female faculty members, including the university’s first librarian, Ida Kidder. (She becomes important to this story later.)
By the mid 1960s, severe neglect left the building at risk of being condemned, and for the safety of students, the dorms were emptied and the first three floors converted into office and classroom space. The fourth floor was sealed
There’s something about an abandoned space that lends itself to stories, and to ghosts. People began to report seeing figures in the upper-story windows. Footsteps, the clicking of high heels, and the sound of furniture being
moved around were all reported by those working below. Had specters made themselves at home or were graduate students sneaking onto the dusty floor for some private time?
Several witnesses claimed to see a woman in 1920s-era attire wandering the building. Soon people began to wonder if this could be Ida Kidder, who had lived in Waldo during the turn of the 20th century.
Tiah Edmunson-Morton is an archivist at OSU Special Collections and Archives, and previously offered a ghost tour around campus that included Waldo Hall lore. She said long term building residents have passed down stories for years.
“These definitely are good stories even if the facts behind them are a little shaky,” she said.
As to why Ida Kidder ended up being the figure most associated with the haunting, she speculates it was easy to cast her as a friendly ghost. “The mythology round her really solidified as maternal, caretaker, etc., and that
made her an attractive, benevolent ghost,”she said. “Because while people like to be scared, they also like to be comforted.”
In 2010, after the infusion of stimulus money from the state, Waldo’s fourth floor was renovated and reopened as new office space.The conveniently creepy and dusty spot is now bright and lively once more. Aduviri, who saw
the apparition before the remodel took place, says he hasn’t seen anything since. But, he adds, he also has made a point never again to visit the office late at night. —THERESA HOGUE
No. 9 — Well-Loved Watering Holes
A half-century has passed since Greg Little, ’73, earned his business degree at Oregon Sate, squeezing in school work around visits to Corvallis watering holes like the Oregon Museum, Mother’s Mattress Factory and Tavern,
Lum Lee’s, Lamplighter, Goofy’s Tavern and the Beaver Hut. He notes that those last two were actually the same place — a bar sufficiently identity-challenged that it transitioned from Beaver Hut to Goofy’s
and back, but with a strong North Star: a 10-tiny-beers-for-a-dollar special known as “Dimers.” (Dimers were so popular that you could also find them at Mother’s.)
Less than two years after graduating, Little put his extracurricular studies to entrepreneurial use when he helped launch his own tavern, Squirrel’s, located at the corner of Southwest Second Street and Monroe Avenue. (Little
got the nickname Squirrel as a sideline-chattering high school football player.) All these decades later, he is uniquely placed to talk about the tradition of Corvallis’ much-visited, well-loved bars.
“We became known as the ‘downtown learning center,’” he said of Squirrel’s. “A lot of graduate students, they became regular customers.You could find your prof there, ask him questions and get
information and not have to go to school per se.That’s always been kind of fun for us, having that rapport with that little bit older student.”
Once upon a time, Squirrel’s was part of a Corvallis bar scene that included Little’s college-era haunts plus other locales like the Night Deposit, the Class Reunion, the Peacock, Nendel’s, Don’s Den, Toa
Yuen, the Stein Tavern, Murphy’s Tavern (in Southtown), Price’s Tavern and the Thunderbird Lounge.
The Peacock remains a downtown fixture, and Murphy’s relocated to downtown a few years ago, but all the other old stalwarts are gone — a testament to how hard it can be to run an enduring drinking establishment even
in a college town. “Things have definitely changed. We still do quite a bit of beer, but others have gone to a lot of seltzers and ciders,” Little said.“I’ve got a few more years for sure. I just like
the idea of a community gathering spot.” —STEVE LUNDEBERG, ’85
No. 10 — Everyone an Athlete
For over 100 years, Recreational Sports programs have helped students find community through the love of sport.
“Every man an athlete” was the mantra of A.D. Browne, director of the newly formed Intramural Athletics Program in
1916. He set the ambitious goal of at least 95% student participation in intramural activities. His goal was expanded in 1928 by Ruth Glassow, director of physical education for women, who declared, “A sport for every woman.”
Recreational Sports at Oregon State continues this legacy today as one of the oldest intramural programs in the nation. The Corvallis campus o"ers more than 50 intramural sport leagues, tournaments and events annually, and there are 39 student-run Sport Clubs (including seven equestrian-based ones). Basketball, volleyball and soccer continue to be popular, alongside new offerings. Adaptive sports include wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, goalball and beep ball. Esports allow students to compete on the virtual field, from NBA2K to Mario Kart.
Students can also navigate a canoe through the Dixon Recreation Center pool while playing water battleship, a competition where participants try to sink one another with buckets of water. —BRIAN HUSTOLES
No. 11 — Walking in His Footsteps
April 9, 1968. Five days after the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., a nation mourned, and the Oregon State community took to the streets.
OSU President James Jensen dismissed university classes from 10 a.m. to noon and closed the library and campus offices. More than 1,200 students, faculty and townspeople gathered at the Memorial Union and solemnly marched downtown: a gathering so large, the Daily Barometer reported, that as the first of the procession reached the courthouse, students were still lined up back to the quad a mile away.
One day earlier, legislation to make King’s birthday a federal holiday had been introduced in Congress. Though it would take 15 years before the holiday was signed into law, in the interim, OSU students and faculty began their own traditions to honor the great civil rights leader.
The most enduring one began in 1983 when the university launched the Peace Breakfast, the centerpiece of OSU’s annual celebration of King’s life and legacy. Over the decades, the celebration has included guest lectures, films, community service, dances, awards and more.
Students also honored King from the 1980s into the 2010s with a candlelit walk from the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center (LBHBCC) to the Memorial Union. In 2017, this became the current Peace March held after the breakfast. Co-hosted by the cultural center and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the one-mile march goes from the CH2M HILL Alumni Center, past the cultural center on Monroe and back to the Student Experience Center Plaza adjacent to the MU.
“The MLKPeace March commemorates Dr. King and also carries significance in reference to the OSU Black student walkout of 1969,” said Jamar Bean, LBHBCC director, referring to the significant nonviolent student action that happened after a football coach threatened to remove student-athlete Fred Milton from the team unless he shaved his goatee. Seeing this as discrimination, the Black Student Union organized, and 47 Black students symbolically
walked out of campus through the east gates. Talks afterward resulted in changes including the creation of the Educational Opportunities Program and the original Black Student Union Cultural Center.
“Dr.King’s legacy lives on in our students today, ”Bean said, “and continues to inspire them to be agents of change when faced with injustice and oppression.”—CATHLEEN HOCKMAN-WERT
No. 12 — Becoming a Bend Beav
Around 2018, student staff at OSU-Cascades in Bend created a new way to welcome students to their young, tight-knit campus. At the start of Welcome Week, first-year students painted rocks to reflect their aspirations. Then, the day before classes began, they were gathered for a “secret tradition.” Just after sunset, the students walked silently in single file along a candle-lit path to the top of a bluff over looking campus. Staff explained it was time to become Bend Beavs and instructed them to throw their painted rocks into “the pit” so that a part of them would forever be a part of campus. “It symbolizes each student’s connection to OSU-Cascades and their lifetime title of a ‘Bend Beav,’” Quentin Comus, ’23, explained. Students were often left speechless and teary. As enrollment grows and the Bend campus’s rough edges are developed, Student Affairs is readying to transform this tradition into something new. That’s why the secret, fondly held by many OSU-Cascades alumni, can now be revealed. —SCHOLLE MCFARLAND
No. 13 — "Oregon State, Fight, Fight, Fight!"
Oregon State's Fight Song is as instantly recognizable to Beaver fans today as it was more than a hundred years ago. A shortened version of “Hail to Old OAC,” written by alumnus Harold A. Wilkins in 1914, the Fight Song’s lyrics have changed slightly with the times to reflect the school’s changing name, as well as gender neutral language (“We’ll cheer throughout the land,” for example, replacing “We’ll cheer for every man”). Through it all, the spirit has remained the same. If you’re in Corvallis Friday night before a home game, you might catch the band playing it as they tour downtown bars after practice. (Find their route at beav.es/barband.) Watch a fun video of the 2018 Oregon State Choir surprising the MU Lounge with the full song at bit.ly/OSUfightsong. —SCHOLLE MCFARLAND
No. 14 — Pride Week
In the early hours ofApril 29, 1994, members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Alliance were camped out in a big tent on the MU Quad. It was only the third year Oregon State had celebrated what’s now known as Pride Week and the second with a tent. The first tent had been egged. Three people, later charged with criminal mischief, tried to pull up the stakes and knock it down. Holding space on the Quad, the students had concluded, required a 24 hour presence.
What sounded like a shot rang out around 2 a.m.
A figure was seen running away with what appeared to be a long-barreled gun. No one was ever caught or charged.
What happened next was a pivotal moment in OSU history. With university administration silent, student body President Brian Clem, ’94, and President elect April (Waddy) Berg,’99, stepped in. They organized a tent city to surround the Pride Tent. Members of student government and others camped out that night in solidarity; local merchants donated caffeinated supplies.
“We’re here basically just to show our support for LGBA,” Berg told the Daily Barometer. “When something like this happens to one community, it happens to everyone.”
About a month later, OSU President John Byrne established the Campus Commission on Hate Crimes and Hate Related Activity. The next year, Pride Week organizer Amy Millward noted a change in tone on campus: “We received so much support…people actually came to us to offer their help.”
University of Oregon students had established a Pride Week nearly 20 years earlier — they even advertised in the Barometer.“[In Eugene,] OSU is known as ‘Oregon Straight,’” Randy Shilts, managing editor of UO’s student newspaper, told the Barometer in 1975. (Shilts later authored the best-selling book And the Band Played On, chronicling the AIDS epidemic.)
But once OSU’s Pride Week tradition began, student organizers kept it coming back each May, despite controversy, conflict and — at least for the first decade — a steady stream of angry letters. Over the past 30 years, the week has featured speakers, dances, panel discussions and more in the name of, as the 1996 year book put it, “friendship and visibility.”
Camping out in the tent remained a part of the tradition for years, though later it became more festive and involved marshmallows. After the Pride Center building opened in the fall of 2004, students instead held a “slumber party” there. —SCHOLLE MCFARLAND
No. 15 — Graduation Teas
Nearly all that remains of a tradition that started and stopped from the 1930s through the 1990s are about 100 teacups and saucers carefully wrapped and stored in the Hawthorn Suite in Milam Hall. In the 1930s, women graduates across campus began gathering upstairs in the Women’s Building for tea as part of a Commencement celebration. Nationwide, it was rare for a woman to attend college at this time. In 1930-31, only a quarter of college students were women. To honor the occasion, each participant donated a teacup and saucer, signing their name and graduation year on the bottom. At some point, the tea parties stopped, but women in physical education picked it back up, and the custom continued through the mid-1980s, led by staff in the then College of Health and Physical Education (now called the College of Health, see p.20). In the mid-1990s, faculty briefly revived the tradition, using the cups at a Commencement brunch. This time, the event included men. Former staff member Michelle Mahana recalls a male graduate shyly producing a cup and saucer, saying his grandmother had requested he take part in the tradition as she had. After a few years, the tea parties died out once more, leaving behind cups, saucers and memories. —KATHRYN STROPPEL
No. 16 — Custom Caps
Commencement is perhaps the most traditional of university events, tying the experience of today’s graduates to those across the decades. Within the great event are myriad noteworthy OSU traditions. Once frowned upon, decorating graduation caps (which appears to have started in the 1990s) is now so common that the OSU Alumni Association has held cap decoration events, and a May piece in The New York Times Style Section featured companies making tidy profits creating trendsetting cap designs. Meanwhile, many graduates of OSU’s Civil and Construction Engineering program wear black hardhats instead.
No. 17 — Diploma in Hand
Even as the number of graduates at the Corvallis ceremony has soared above 7,000, OSU has clung to the idea that grads should get their real diplomas at Commencement, rather than (as they’d get at most other large universities and many small ones) a note saying “Congrats, yours is in the mail.” This tricky business used to be accomplished by forcing students to march and sit in alphabetical order within their college groups, but now it’s based on a constantly self-correcting system involving cards that get handed in as graduates approach the podiums, and a small army of employees and volunteers who scramble to keep diplomas in the right order.
No. 18 — Removing the Gown, Taking the Oath
A particularly moving Commencement tradition happens when a senior military officer goes to the podium. Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) grads — 30 this past June — remove their cap and gown, stand in military head wear and uniform, and accept their commissions as officers.
No. 19 — One University, Many Special Moments
Graduates of OSU-Cascades follow the bagpipes in a ceremony in Bend, while across the Corvallis campus before and after the main Commencement ceremony, groups of graduates gather for special moments together.
OSU Ecampus typically has brought together its graduates-to-be in the Valley Library Rotunda — or, more recently, at the MU — on Commencement morning. Some students are meeting their professors and seeing the campus in person for the first time.
Outside one of these gatherings a few years ago, a young mother in cap and gown took photo after photo of the surroundings, including an old-style lamppost outside Kerr Hall, as her parents stood nearby, each holding one of her children. Asked what she was doing, the soon-to-be Ecampus grad said, “This is my university, and I’ve never seen it before!” — KEVIN MILLER, ’78