The History of the Blue and Gold

Nestled in a small farming community in Oregon, the history of Oregon’s Rural University can be told through generations of graduates, historic buildings, and even a set of memorable steps upon which many graduates once stood to share in the joys of completing college and earning a degree. Eastern Oregon University is a beloved campus; it is the heart and soul of the small town of La Grande.  

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Entrance to Inlow Hall, near the Grand Staircase. Picture by Jillian Hoefer.

Eastern Oregon University started out as one building in 1929. Inlow Hall, where current students can access their accounts and other services, was named after EOU’s first president, Harvey Inlow. June 1929 marked the first day of classes in Inlow Hall. At this point, Eastern Oregon University was called “Eastern Oregon Normal School,” and the sole purpose of the school was to train teachers.

In 1935, Ackerman Hall, named after former State Superintendent of public schools John Henry Ackerman, was built. Ackerman Hall was used as an elementary school in which teachers who were still in training taught. In fact, my own grandmother went to this elementary school when she was a child.  

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Entrance to Ackerman Hall. Picture by Jillian Hoefer.

In 1958, Quinn Coliseum was built and named after Robert Quinn, who was the head football coach from 1929 to 1949. Built in 1965 then remodeled in 2004, Badgley Hall was named after former Physics Professor Ralph Badgley. Then, in 1974, Zabel Hall, named after former Professor Amanda Zabel, was built. Following Zabel came Loso Hall in 1987, named after former Professor Maryjane Loso.

Four years after Ackerman Hall was built, in 1939, EOU was renamed “Eastern Oregon College of Education” and the educational program at Eastern still exists today. Once again, the name changed in 1973 to “Eastern Oregon State College,” then, in 1997, the name was changed to “Eastern Oregon University.” In 2018, the governor of Oregon signed House Bill 4153, which dubbed EOU as Oregon’s Rural University.

Now, in 2022, almost 95 years after the doors opened to the single building which still stands today, Eastern Oregon University offers over 21 online degrees, with over 37 degree offerings in total. Nearly 3,000 students attend EOU, and students come from all over the world to experience the Eastern Edge. 

To some, Eastern Oregon University is just a stepping stone to a career. To others, like myself, Eastern Oregon University is a second home. 

Hail, Eastern Oregon
Pride of the Blue and Gold
We stand before your majesty
With friends both new and old
You shine upon the hillside
A beacon where’ere we roam
Forever in our hearts and minds
Your mountains call us home
Hail Mountaineers, we sing to thee
Our voices rise in harmony
Send forth a cheer from East to West
Of loyal truths, and truths request
In your unfading beauty
We seek to keep you strong
We praise these hall of learning
Our Eastern Oregon.

“Hail, Eastern Oregon.” -John Mckinnon


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