Don E. McIlvenna was on the faculty of the Oregon State University History Department from 1965 until his retirement in 1995; his speciality was American diplomatic history. McIlvenna earned his bachelor's degree from Sacramento State College (1952), his M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1966. He died in 2007.
The Don E. McIlvenna Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by McIlvenna in his work as an Oregon State University faculty member. The bulk of the materials document the research and writing, with his History Department colleague Darold Wax, of a report on faculty salaries in the Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts, An Essay on the Collegial Relationship: Salary Symbols and Services in the College of Liberal Arts; the campus debate sparked by its release; and subsequent changes at OSU. In addition to statistical data and various drafts of the report, the Papers include correspondence, grant proposals, newspaper clippings, notes, publications and reports, and McIlvenna's testimony before the State Board of Higher Education in 1976 The materials document a review of the College of Liberal Arts' instructional program by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and the Board's 1976 reversal of the 1932 ban on graduate programs in social sciences and humanities at OSU.
The collection also includes clippings pertaining to the establishment of a interdisciplinary graduate program in Northwest Studies; student evalutions of McIlvenna's teaching; and a conference paper.