Herbert and Harriet Sinnard were familiar figures on the Oregon State campus for more than forty years. Herb was head of the Department of Architecture and Harriet taught clothing and textiles, and later housing and equipment in the School of Home Economics.
Herbert Reeves Sinnard was born in Chicago to Thomas James and Effa B. Reeves Sinnard. Herb attended Parker High School in Chicago, where he was the commander of his ROTC unit. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University in 1927 and a master’s degree in 1929. He was a fellow at Lake Forest Foundation for Architects. Harriet Marie King Sinnard was born to Matthew L. and Lucy Massure King in Ames, Iowa. Her early schooling was in numerous places as she moved with her father, an Army Air Corps pilot. After her father’s death, she attended high school and college in Ames, graduating from Iowa State College with a bachelors degree in home economics. She was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, Omicron Nu, and Phi Upsilon Omicron home economics honoraries and Mortar Board. While at Iowa State, she met Herb and they were married June 7, 1929, at the Pi Beta Phi house in Ames Iowa. The couple moved to Corvallis after their honeymoon and Herb began his career at Oregon Agricultural College as an instructor in architecture and Harriet began work on her master’s degree. In 1931, Herb passed the state architecture exam and became the first registered architect in Benton County. When architecture was consolidated at the University of Oregon, the family moved to Eugene, where Herb taught at the University of Oregon from 1932 to 1937. The family returned to Corvallis when architecture courses were restored at OAC, and Harriet earned her master’s degree in 1940. As a reserve officer, Herb was called to active duty shortly after Pearl Harbor and served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until the end of World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Herb became a full professor at Oregon Agriculture College in 1947 and chairman of the Department of Architecture the same year. He taught at the university until 1972, when he retired after forty-three years. He remained active in the university as professor emeritus of architecture and landscape architecture. His involvement in architectural research as a professor included designing low-cost rural housing, rigid pillar construction, post plank and beam framing in residential construction, and pioneering research in solar orientation and housing. He built one of the first passive solar homes in the Willamette Valley and designed a number of Corvallis area houses Herb was a member of the Corvallis City Planning Commission and the OSU Campus Planning Committee and chaired the Board of Examiners and Appeals for the Pacific Coast Uniform Building Code Commission for Corvallis. He belonged to the American Institute of Architects, American Society of Architectural Engineers, American Association of University Professors, and numerous other organizations. Herb was a lifelong member of Sigma Chi and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honorary.
Herb could always be identified by his colorful bow ties that he created himself. His story was that in the days when all architectural drawings were rendered in ink, long ties had a habit of drooping into the ink. Thus, bow ties were the answer. Herb was also a great ballroom dancer and helped with campus dancing classes after his retirement. His grandson was among his pupils.
Harriet was a member of Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honorary; faculty advisor for the student chapter of the Home Economics Association at OSU; advisor to Mortar Board; and, a member and advisor to Pi Beta Phi. She was also a member of Chapter AR of the PEO Sisterhood and the First Methodist Church in Corvallis.
Herb & Harriet’s daughter, Lucy, and son-in-law, Neil Sailing (Colonel, US Army, Retired) established this fund in memory of her parents. The fund provides an annual scholarship to an Army ROTC student at Oregon State University. First priority for the annual award is to an ROTC student who is also a veteran.