Colegio César Chávez Collection, 1977-2005

Overview of the Collection

Olivo, Arthur.
Colegio César Chávez Collection
1977-2005 (inclusive)
1978-1982 (bulk)
0.25 cubic foot, including 50 photographs, (3 boxes, including 2 oversize boxes)
Collection Number
MSS Colegio
The Colegio César Chávez was established in 1973 as a four year Chicano serving institution in Mount Angel, Oregon. The Colegio César Chávez Collection consists of correspondence, publications, and photographs from the Arthur and Karen Olivo and Andrew Parodi Family and depicts their time living on the college campus grounds.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

English, Spanish
Funding for encoding the original finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Colegio César Chávez, located in Mt. Angel, Oregon formed from the existing Mount Angel College in 1973. Mt. Angel College was established by the Catholic Order of Benedictine Sisters in 1888. The school was originally chartered as a women's academy. In 1897 it was rechartered as normal school. In 1947 Mt. Angel Normal School became Mt. Angel Women's College and in 1957 Mt. Angel Women's College became coeducational due to mounting financial problems. As such, the college was subsequently renamed Mt. Angel College.

In 1973, Mt. Angel College lost its accreditation from Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges because of its lack of financial stability. Two faculty members, Sonny Montes, Director of Ethnic Affairs, and Ernesto Lopez, Dean of Admissions, proposed that the institution redirect the focus of the college to be a Chicano serving institution.

On December 12, 1973 Mt. Angel College officially became Colegio César Chávez. College founders and students considered a number of names but chose the farm labor activist César Chávez as their namesake.

As the first and only independent Chicano-oriented and managed four-year college to emerge in the nation, Colegio César Chávez occupies an unparalleled place in Chicano history. According to the Chicano scholar Carlos Maldonado, "Colegio César Chávez was a product of converging social and educational forces of the Chicano movement and innovation in higher education". The mission of the Colegio was to provide educational opportunities for people who were denied access to higher education, to create a "college without walls" that emphasized collaboration between students, staff, administrators, their families, and the greater community. The Colegio also sought to provide an educational setting that was completely bilingual and bicultural. Students were required to take 15 credits in each of the four core areas: social science; the humanities; natural sciences/mathematics; and oral/written bilingual communications. In addition, life experience was also recognized as learning and students received credits for this as well.

Colegio César Chávez also served as a source of Chicano culture and activism in Oregon; this was accomplished through performances, lectures and guest speakers at the college. Among the significant Chicano leaders that visited and supported the Colegio were César Chávez, Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, José Ángel Gutiérrez, and Chicano poets Alurista and Abelardo "Lalo" Delgado.

Constantly plagued by financial difficulties, administrative instability, and lack of support from the external community, Colegio César Chávez lost it's accreditation in 1981. The last classes were held in 1982 and the Colegio officially closed their doors in June 1983. The campus was abandoned and their main creditor, HUD, foreclosed on the property. HUD was set to auction off the campus when an anonymous donor interceded. The ownership of the land and the buildings occupied by the college reverted back to the Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel in 1985.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Colegio César Chávez Collection consists of materials that were collected by Arthur and Karen Olivo and their son Andrew Parodi. The materials include publications, correspondence, a bilingual college catalog, a Mount Angel College Yearbook, and photographs. The photographs depict the time period in which the Olivo and Parodi family lived on the grounds of the college campus. They include photographs of the campus; the Olivo and Parodi family gatherings on the campus grounds; and a poetry reading by the Chicano poet and activist Alurista (Alberto Baltazar Urista Heredia) at the Colegio.

The collection also includes a 1980 letter to Arthur Olivo from Oregon Governor Victor Atiyeh and a certificate documenting Olivo's appointment to the Oregon Occupational Information Coordinating Committee. A 1980 photograph of Olivo, Governor Atiyeh, and others (probably members of the Committee) is also part of the collection.

In addition, the collection also includes two large posters, one by the artist Desiga, and another, a recruitment poster, by the artist Carlos Manriquez. Manriquez is also the artist of a 1979 Colegio calendar. The calendar, consisting of four sheets plus a cover sheet, includes a timeline of significant events in Chicano history along with full color imagery depicting “jalapeño power.”

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Colegio César Chávez Collection (MSS Colegio), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the collection was received in 2006 and 2009 from Andrew Parodi. In December 2016, additional materials were donated and incorporated as part of the collection; the donor was Herbert L Everett.

Related Materials

This Collection is a component of the Oregon Multicultural Archives. Chicano scholar Carlos Maldonado has written Colegio Cesar Chavez, 1973-1983: A Chicano Struggle for Educational Self-Determination. Sonny Montes and Mexican American Activism in Oregon, by Glenn Anthony May, was published by the Oregon State University Press in 2011. The Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel, Oregon also has a records pertaining to the Colegio and the subsequent transfer of ownership of the land and buildings back to the monastery.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Hispanic Americans--Education (Higher)--Oregon.
  • Mexican Americans--Oregon.

Personal Names

  • Alurista.

Corporate Names

  • Mount Angel Academy and College.

Geographical Names

  • Mount Angel (Or.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographic prints.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Parodi, Andrew. (creator)
    Corporate Names
    • Colegio Cesar Chavez (Mount Angel, Or.) (creator)