In 1872, on the eve of a national depression, the people in the tiny community of Eugene City decided to build a university for the state of Oregon. They thought it would be good not only for the future of their children but also for the future of the town. The city’s leaders thought a university would bring both economic and social development to the community. The people of the town paid for the construction with private donations. They canvassed for cash contributions, held bake sales, farmers donated bushels of wheat or livestock to be converted into cash for the university effort. Others gave their services or day labor to help in the construction. By 1876, enough of the construction had been completed to allow classes to begin. In October, the state of Oregon opened the doors of its new university, without fanfare and without an adequate budget to run it. What the school did have was plenty of students to fill the classrooms and a tiny but dedicated faculty determined to make it work.