John Vincent Byrne
President John V.
[OSU Archives P1:106]
Byrne assumed the presidency in November 1984 and served for 11 years
until the end of 1995. His career at
Oregon State University spanned 35 years.
Born in Hempstead, New York, Byrne earned a bachelor's degree in
marine geology in 1951 from Hamilton College in New York, a
master's degree in geology from Columbia University in 1953, and a
Ph.D. in marine geology from the University of Southern California
John V. Byrne, 1965. Byrne came to OSU in
1960 as an associate professor of marine geology after having
worked as a research geologist with Humble Oil. In 1968 he was
appointed chair of the Oceanography Department. [OSU Archives
Byrne's OSU career began in 1960 as a faculty member in the
Oceanography Department and in 1972 he became the first Dean of the
School of Oceanography.
He subsequently served as Dean of Research, Acting Dean of the
Graduate School, and Vice President for Research and Graduate
Studies between 1976 and 1981.
Byrne as Dean of Oceanography, 1975. In 1972,
the Oceanography Department was designated as the School of
Oceanography and Byrne was appointed the first Dean, a position he
held until 1976. [OSU Archives Sea Grant College Program
Biennial Report for 1974-75 (RG 201)]
In 1981, Byrne left OSU to become Administrator of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration, a position he held until he was
appointment University President in 1984.
Hatfield, MacVicar, and Byrne
at Marine Science
Center Dedication, 1983. Senator Mark Hatfield joins Robert
MacVicar (center), OSU President, and John V. Byrne, then head of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at the
dedication of the Marine Science Center in Hatfield's honor. Byrne
became the OSU President the following year, 1984. [OSU
In May 1995, Byrne announced his retirement effective in late 1995
or early 1996. During his 11-year presidency, OSU was impacted by
significant reductions in state funding forcing the merger of the
College of Education with the College of Home Economics and
elimination of the departments of Journalism, Religious Studies,
and General Science. However, Byrne helped boost private giving
and was instrumental in raising $40 million for expansion of the
President Byrne at campus Ag Days, 1989.
Byrne milks a cow under the watchful eye of a student from the
College of Agricultural Sciences. [OSU Archives P3, Accession
94:079; published in 1994 Beaver yearbook, p.
Byrne jams with basketball band, 1993. An
avid musician and sports fan, Byrne was regularly seen playing
saxophone with the basketball band during home games. In spite of
decreasing financial resources, athletic programs continued to be
successful during Byrne's presidency with nationally-ranked teams
in women's gymnastics, wrestling, basketball (men's and women's),
and women's soccer as well as academic honors for student-athletes
in all sports. [OSU Archives 1993 Beaver yearbook, p.
Where to Find More Information about John Byrne
President's Office Records
Memorabilia Collection - Byrne, John V.
OSU Chronological History for the
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