CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State University launches the 2011-12 school year today with an expected record enrollment of about 25,000 students, growing faculty and staff ranks, and many changes in OSU, Corvallis and the state of Oregon.

As the university begins its 143rd year as Oregon's land grant university, some of the recent and projected developments include:

  • Student body. Not only will this fall's enrollment be the largest in OSU history, it will include significant growth in international, historically underrepresented, transfer, graduate and out-of-state students.
  • High achievers. OSU's strong academic reputation is leading to increases in academically high-achieving students, particularly from Oregon. The number of these students, who have a high school grade point average of 3.75 or better, is up 17 percent from last year.
  • Faculty. About 75 new faculty members will greet students this fall. Searches during the 2010-11 school year attracted new hires from the London School of Economics, Harvard, Michigan, Brown, Wisconsin and more leading institutions domestically and abroad.

"Our students - and ultimately our graduates - are Oregon State University's most important contribution to the future," said OSU President Edward Ray. "And there are no great universities without great faculty."

"Oregon State continues to attract in record numbers the best and brightest students and faculty to campus and to the state of Oregon," he said. "These students and faculty will shape the future of the university, the state and borders well beyond Oregon."

Crews also completed work on multiple new facilities over the summer. These include:

  • The Linus Pauling Science Center, which will house the Linus Pauling Institute and the Department of Chemistry. A dedication for the new facility featuring keynote speaker Linus Pauling Jr. will be held Oct. 14.
  • The INTO Living-Learning Center, which will bring together domestic and international students in a cutting-edge, environmentally friendly residence hall, adding 320 beds to the university's on-campus housing capacity.
  • The OSU Boathouse, a $1.5-million facility for the women's and men's rowing teams and boat storage.

Work continues on multiple other projects around campus, including the College of Education renovation, the Student Success Center for academic advising and counseling, a new track and field facility and the Native American Cultural Center.

Officials expect to complete the purchase this fall of the OSU-Cascades Graduate and Research Center, a 28,000-square-foot building that will facilitate further development of the university's Bend campus. OSU-Cascades anticipates continued growth this fall, even as the University of Oregon departs campus.

Federal and state officials recently dedicated the new Marine Operations Center-Pacific for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, adjacent to the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. The facility adds 170 jobs to the burgeoning marine science enterprise in Newport and adds to OSU's reputation as a national leader in marine science.

In 2012, the United States will mark the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Act, which provided for the creation of the nation's land grant universities. Celebrations are planned for Washington, D.C. and elsewhere around the country. OSU's goal of becoming one of the nation's leading land grant institutions gained new momentum in 2010-11, when the university became one of only 23 land grants nationwide to simultaneously hold the Carnegie Foundation's recognitions for "community engagement" and for leading research universities.

The OSU Bookstore also established a new location in downtown Portland at 538 S.W. 6th Ave., just one block from the OSU Portland Center and one block from iconic Pioneer Courthouse Square.

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