William Jasper Kerr
President William Jasper Kerr, ca.
Photograph by the Harris and Ewing studio of Washington, D.C.,
noted for their portrait photographs of many prominent
[OSU Archives P1:29]
William Jasper Kerr was chosen as President of Oregon Agricultural
College in 1907 and lead the College through a 25-year period of
tremendous growth in numbers of students and faculty, academic and
research programs, and physical facilities.
William Jasper Kerr, ca. 1905. This
portrait photograph was taken a few years before Kerr came to Oregon,
while he was President of the Agricultural College of Utah (now Utah
State University). [OSU Archives P1:26]
Born in Richmond, Utah, in 1863, Kerr attended public schools and
received a B.S. degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah
in 1885. He worked in business briefly and then became a teacher
and Superintendent of the Smithfield (Utah) schools. In 1887, he
joined the faculty of Brigham Young College as a mathematics
professor. He also taught at the University of Utah before serving
as the president of Brigham Young College (1894-1900) and Utah
State Agricultural College (1900-1907).
"On time, by the watch, as usual," 1913. Kerr
walks briskly across campus with Lincoln Steffins who lectured on
"Social Conditions" at the College Convocation on October 22nd.
Photograph by Edwin T. Reed. [OSU Archives
Kerr's influence on Oregon higher education continued as he
the first Chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education
from 1932 until his retirement in 1935. From 1935 until 1939, he
served as the Director of Research in Production and Marketing for
the Oregon State System of Higher Education. After his retirement,
he resided in Portland where he maintained an office and remained
active in civic affairs until his death in 1947.
President William Jasper Kerr, ca. 1930.
"Batter up", ca. 1915. The normally staid
Kerr sheds his jacket and takes a turn at bat. [OSU Archives
The Kerr family, ca. 1915. Kerr married
Leonora Deseret Hamilton in 1885 and together they had six
children, most of whom graduated from OAC: Vesta (1908), Leona
(1912), Genieve (1922), and Robert Marion (1926). Lynette
(Special, 1918) attended for four years but did not graduate,
becoming instead a well-known profession musician. Horace, the
oldest, graduated from Stanford before the family came to
Standing (left to right): Ralph Reynolds; Vesta Kerr Reynolds;
William Horace Kerr; Adma Green Kerr; Lynette Kerr; and Genieve
Kerr. Seated (left to right): Leona Kerr; Leonora Deseret Hamilton
Kerr ("Mrs. Kerr"); Robert Marion Kerr; and William Jasper Kerr.
[OSU Archives P1:108]
Where to Find More Information about William Jasper Kerr
President's Office Records
Edwin T. Reed Papers
(Kerr Reference File and Biographical Manuscript)
Memorabilia Collection - Kerr, William Jasper
OSU Chronological History for the
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