David Truman Stanley (1882-1889)


Born in Terra Haute, Indiana on February 21, 1848, David Truman Stanley attended Kirksville Normal School in Kirksville, Missouri. He began teaching in his hometown in 1866.  He was ordained into the ministry prior to 1870; while working as the principle of Princeton High School in Missouri.  Stanley stayed at Princeton High School as President when it became a college in 1872.  The following year Stanley moved to Corvallis, OR where he worked as the editor of the publication, Christian Messenger. In 1878, Stanley became professor of mathematics at Christian College. In 1880, a railroad was being built from Portland to Corvallis, via Monmouth.  Stanley resigned from Christian College to work as a civil engineer for the Northern Pacific Railroad to help in locating a route through the Cascade Mountains and also worked as a construction engineer with the Oregon Pacific Railroad, building a line from Corvallis to Newport, OR.

In 1882, when the railroad projects were complete, he returned to Corvallis, purchased the printing plant of the Christian Messenger, and resumed as editor. That same year, Staley became president of Christian College and lobbied the Oregon state government to designate the campus in Monmouth as a normal school. The governor signed legislation, also in 1882, renaming Christian College to Oregon State Normal School (OSNS). Stanley oversaw the initial construction of Campbell Hall’s South Wing and Bell Tower, but both were completed after he moved on from his presidency. (Incidentally, both of these additions were destroyed in the 1962 Columbus Day Storm.) Once again, like the initial building construction, the South Wing and Bell Tower were funded with private donations, without state appropriations.

His presidency was a difficult one, ending in 1889 due to bitter fights with the legislature and those who opposed the location of the OSNS. He returned to publishing after retirement, editing and publishing his newspaper, The Harbinger. He bought and sold a New York book publishing company before attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, to earn his law degree in 1897. He later earned a medical degree from Barnes University in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent the next several years working in the medical field. He died in July of 1917 in Russellville, Arkansas.