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OCAC Receives Grant for Technology from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

October 27, 2015


Release date: October 27, 2015
Press contact: Kris Kebisek, Executive Assistant to the President


Portland, OR - Denise Mullen, President of Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC), announced today that OCAC has received a generous grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for Phase 3 of the college’s Technology Plan: Digital Technology in the Studio/Classroom.  Phase 1 covered the transfer of the college’s website from a proprietary to an open source platform.  Phase 2 of the Technology Plan built a student information system from open source technology with significant funding from the Meyer Memorial Trust. 

Murdock release imageThe award from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust was given in the Trust’s fortieth year of working to fulfill its mission and original charge from the will of Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, to “strengthen the region’s educational, cultural, and spiritual base in creative and sustainable ways”. As described in the grant application: Phase 3 “will enhance the educational and studio resources of OCAC through the acquisition of specialized digital machines that will dramatically expand the college’s tools of craft. This technology will open new possibilities for students and faculty in creating their own art, and it will prepare students for careers in advanced making and manufacture” as seen in the large format, digital photograph printed from the 19th century wet plate collodian image capture process.   

Adding and adapting new technologies is at the heart of OCAC, founded in 1907 in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. Committed to the hand-made and the importance of the understanding of materials in the making of art and design, the college has adopted many new technologies over its 108 years.  Equally as dramatic a change as the Industrial Revolution, the Technology Revolution has brought new ways of making that enhance the tools and methodologies available to artists, designers and makers. Similar to the effect that the potter’s wheel had on making ceramics, 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, and digital looms all now provide new avenues for creativity and opportunities for production at OCAC.

About the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust was created by the will of the late of Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, who was a co-founder of Tektronix, Inc., in Beaverton, Oregon, and resident of Vancouver, Washington. Since its establishment on June 30, 1975, with a bequest of about $90 million, the trust has focused its grant making efforts primarily in five states of the Pacific Northwest: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, The Trust’s current assets are valued at about $1 billion, and over the life of the Trust, nearly $800 million has been distributed through over 5,600 grants.

About Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC)

Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) has earned a reputation as a leading college of art and craft in the United States.  Known for its exceptional faculty of artists and makers, the uniquely small, mentor-based community is comprised of approximately 200 students who pursue full-time bachelor's or master's degree programs, in addition to the 2500 students enrolled annually in youth and adult programs and the special programs such as the Nike Design Atelier. At OCAC students are encouraged to work across the full range of the seven specialized studio areas that comprise Craft at OCAC. The hands-on, studio-based approach to learning – one in which critical thinking informs making works by hand – prepares students to become critical and informed makers and thinkers.  OCAC’s alumni, 82% of whom are employed in the arts, exemplify the vital role artists and makers play in satisfying the global demand for new ways of thinking, making and innovating. Founded in 1907 by Julia Hoffman, today OCAC (pronounced “O-see-A-see”) is a principal center for learning and engaging the Portland ethos of the small batch, hand-made, environmentally sound, and ethically entrepreneurial. For more information, visit