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During the 1920s, Oregon Agricultural College, the forerunner of Oregon State University, enjoyed a period of growth and optimism. Expressing this spirit of expansion, the College planned a men's dormitory quad between Washington and Jefferson Ways and 26th and 30th Streets. The first, and as it turned out, only building from this grand plan that was actually built is what we now know as Weatherford Residential College.
Construction of Weatherford began in March 1928. Six months and $460,000 later, the completed and furnished building opened. Today, one of the original furnishings, a light fixture, is still hanging in the archway of Weatherford.
James K. Weatherford, for whom initially the tower and later the whole building was named after, was a prominent defense attorney in the Pacific Northwest. He served on the Oregon Agricultural College Board of Regents from 1886-1929, serving as the Board's president from 1901-1929.
Over the years, Weatherford residents were known for their creativity. Weatherford students develop the first intranet on campus which allowed multiple students to print from the same printer, tapped into the steam pipes in the basement to build a sauna, created lofts in their rooms, and painted their room doors a fanciful assortment of beverage labels, record labels, and abstract art. Today, some of these doors are displayed throughout the building as a reminder of the entrepreneurial spirit which blossomed across the years.
Because of roof leaks, dated wiring, and overage plumbing, Weatherford was declared unsafe as a residence hall and closed in 1994. A thoroughly renovated and refurbished Weatherford Residential College was reopened in 2004.
Today, Weatherford Residential College houses the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, a program that advances entrepreneurship, innovation, and social impact for OSU students, faculty, and the greater Oregon community through entrepreneurship courses, hands–on experiences, and opportunities to explore and test new venture ideas. Thanks to the generosity of Ken and Joan Austin, the entrepreneurs and innovators who founded A-dec, the Austin Entrepreneurship Program at Weatherford Residential College is harnessing the spirit of the old Weatherford and providing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators with the tools and skills to further their careers.