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Campus Profile: Trailblazing Women of OSU

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at OR State chapter.


We owe so much to the women pictured above so we thought we would tell you a bit more about their stories and their experiences here at OSU. Pictured on the left is Carrie Beatrice Halsell (Ward) who was the first female African-American student to graduate from OSU in 1926. Pictured on the right is Alice E. Biddle who was the first woman to graduate from what is now called OSU which at the time was called Corvallis College in 1870. Want to learn more? Read on.

Carrie Beatrice Halsell: Carrie Beatrice Halsell earned her undergraduate degree in commerce (at what was then called Oregon Agricultural College) despite the fact that black students were forbidden to live on campus at the time. She later went on to earn her master’s degree in business education from New York University and spent the rest of her life working in higher education in various departments ranging from teaching to admissions. She taught for more than 30 years at historically black colleges and while at Virginia State University she became a charter member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority (which now has a charter here at Oregon State as well as of 2016). Her last career move was to retire from South Carolina State in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1968. She later passed away in Orangeburg in 1989. Then in 2002, Oregon State University opened Halsell Hall in honor of Carrie and all that she accomplished. Halsell Hall is one of the halls which offers sophomore and above housing and also serves as a gender inclusive community and it houses around 200 students.

Alice E. Biddle: Alice E. Biddle was one of three graduates from what was then known as Corvallis College alongside Robert M. Veatch and James K. P. Currin. She received a degree in liberal arts at the young age of 16 years old. When she received her degree she read a paper at commencement called “Progress of Mind”. In December 1870 she married one of her professors, William W. Moreland. Moreland was a professor of natural sciences who later as a legaslative clerk designated Corvallis College as a land-grant institution meaning they would be granted 90,000 acres of land. There is now a statue that resides near the SEC Plaza and Strand Hall in her honor that reads, “The Quest symbolizes Alice E. Biddle, who in 1870 became the first woman to graduate from what is now Oregon State University. It reflects the energy, dedication, and strength of all students in the pursuit of learning.” The statue was made possible by Oregon’s Art in Public Places program and was first installed in 1983 and has since been moved to various locations around campus.

Happy Women’s History Month!

Madeline is a Senior at Oregon State majoring in Merchandising Management and minoring in writing. She was the 2016-'17 president of Chi Theta Phi, a local design sorority on campus. If she's not in class, at a club meeting, chapter, or writing, she's probably spending time with her family, friends, walking her dogs, eating junk food, or watching too many crime, comedy, or fashion shows on Netflix. She likes cheese, dogs, creative projects, obnoxious animal prints, garage sales, farmer's markets, and generally just being silly.