CORVALLIS - Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, founder Randy Conrads, Oregon State University President Ed Ray and others will gather outside of OSU's historic Weatherford Hall on Saturday, Oct. 23, to officially dedicate the building as the new home for the Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

The grand opening ceremony, part of OSU's Homecoming Weekend, will begin at 10 a.m. It is free and open to the public.

Weatherford Hall reopened this fall after a $20 million renovation, transforming the 76-year-old building into a specially designed home for nearly 300 students in OSU's Austin Entrepreneurship Program. What makes Weatherford unique is its complete focus on entrepreneurship - from the students, to live-in faculty, in-hall lectures by visiting industry leaders,and special "incubator" rooms where students can design and develop their own businesses.

Program leaders say the Austin Entrepreneurship Program at Weatherford is the nation's largest, most distinctive residential college focusing on entrepreneurship.

The grand opening ceremony will feature remarks by Kulongoski, who often has stressed the importance of higher education to the Oregon economy. Also appearing will be Ken and Joan Austin, owners of A-Dec, a Newberg, Ore., company that is an international leader in dental equipment. It was their $4 million gift that provided the impetus for the renovation.

Conrads will be the keynote speaker. He founded Classmates Online, Inc., operator of, in his basement in 1995 after a 21-year career at Boeing as an engineer. has grown to serve more than 38 million active members, enabling them to find, connect and stay in touch with friends and acquaintances from school, work and the military. Conrads launched the company after his own experience of trying to locate a friend from the high school he attended in the Philippines.

Also speaking will be Ilene Kleinsorge, dean of OSU's College of Business; Ron Adams, dean of OSU's College of Engineering; Tom Scheuermann, director of OSU's Housing and Dining Services; and Tom Loika, president of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program Club.

The Austin Entrepreneurship Program is a collaborative effort among OSU's colleges of business and engineering, and University Housing and Dining Services.

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Jeanne Silsby, 541-737-6020