The university's eighth president, Harry K. Newburn, was not without a sense of humor. In a series of letters sent during Oct. 1949, professor Eldon Johnson submitted to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts an emergency request for the creation of the class "Pipe Smoking." President Newburn responded that while the course "passes through all sixteen committees," he could not submit the request for the course to the State Board of Higher Education. He did, however, recommend the book reading list be made available in the browsing library, and that there should be lectures on the subject.
President Newburn took office in July of 1945. He was born in Cuba, Ill. on January 1, 1906. During his years at Oregon, President Newburn built many buildings on campus including the Erb Memorial Union, Carson Hall, the University Theater wing at Villard Hall and Allen Hall, home to the journalism school at the university. President Newburn also increased library acquisitions and strengthened the curriculum and faculty. Under President Newburn, the general educational requirements became a part of academic life for students majoring in any of the professional areas of study.