BEND, OR -- The opening of Oregon's first new public university in 50 years is the culmination of decades of work. But, the new four-year OSU-Cascades campus in Bend is now a reality. Oregon State University officials, local dignitaries, even the Governor joined Tuesday's celebration at the westside campus.
Governor Kate Brown told the crowd, "This has been a long-time coming for Central Oregon. Many people, over several decades, have had a part in setting this plan in motion. Today, we see their tireless efforts come to fruition." She noted the importance of having a four-year university in the region, "Students who love this place will now be able to stay here and invest in the region's future and continue to ski Mt. Bachelor, flyfish on the Deschutes or rock climb at Smith Rock. You being here is a boon to businesses and industries in Central Oregon who want to maintain highly-trained, qualified workers to keep the economy here humming."
In recent years, the Bend campus of OSU has gone from at risk of closing to expanding to its own stand-alone location. OSU-Cascades Vice President Becky Johnson is credited with that success. She fought for state funding for the campus, and reached out to the community to address concerns about building a university on the west side of Bend. At Tuesday's ceremony she admitted it's been a long ride. "So, we arrive here today, on the verge of making history for Central Oregon, and on the shoulders of all those who helped us along the way. I wish I could recognize each and every one of you by name but time won't allow that. All of you are here because you support OSU-Cascades."
The school's first new academic building is named for the Tykeson Family. The former owners of Bend Broadband provided a million dollars to the initial fundraising campaign for the campus. Amy Tykeson told the crowd she's proud to have had a hand in the process. "People often ask why a family of University of Oregon Ducks is such an ardent supporter of an Oregon State University outpost. Green, yellow, orange and black aside, all colors lead to a brighter future with more educational opportunity for our local students. We believe there is no better investment in education than in the education of our youth."
Classes begin at Tykeson Hall on Wednesday, September 21. OSU-Cascades offers 18 undergraduate and graduate degrees, including energy systems engineering, hospitality management and tourism and outdoor leadership. Officials expect to add 10 more programs in the next two to five years, including nursing, outdoor products and software development.