Novelist Bernard Malamud was an English professor at Oregon State College from 1949 to 1961. During this time he wrote three novels: The Natural (1952), The Assistant (1957), and A New Life (1961) as well as a collection of short stories, The Magic Barrel (1959) for which he received the National Book Award. He was presented OSU's Distinguished Service Award in 1969.
J. Leo Fairbanks was a professor of Art and Architecture and Chairman of the department from 1923-1946. The art department's Fairbanks Hall is named after him. Some of his paintings and sculptures are contained in the Memorial Union art collection.