Preregister now for diversity-focused student conference

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source contact: Bennie Moses | EOU Multicultural Center
541-962-3741 |

January 30, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Preregistration is open for the Celebrate, Educate & Appreciate Diversity (CEAD) Conference Saturday, Feb. 11 at Eastern Oregon University.

Featuring multiple workshops, speakers, lunch and more, the conference is open to students, clubs, advisers and the community. It is the first diversity-focused student convention to be held at the university and organizers plan to make it an annual event.

Activities begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 2 p.m., with sessions taking place in Badgley Hall.

Attendees will receive a certificate identifying that they have completed five hours of diversity training. There is no cost for students to participate and the first 100 students to register will be given a free T-shirt. A $10 registration fee applies to non-students and includes the cost of lunch. T-shirts will also be available to purchase.

The featured speaker of the day is Jim Garcia, coordinator of the Chicano/Latino student program at Lane Community College in Eugene, and an adjunct instructor for the Chicano/Latino studies program at Portland State University.

All of the Eastern student-presenters attended the Oregon Students of Color Coalition Conference (OSCC) and will bring what they learned and experienced to CEAD. Oregon Student Association staff members will also be presenting.

“The primary goal of the conference is to educate and develop personal growth with regard to our understanding of power, privilege, biases and stereotypes,” said Colleen Cascio, director of student relations at EOU. “It is vital that we learn how these components shape us as individuals and as a university community, and we are looking forward to hearing what our students have to share.”

EOU’s Multicultural Center and Student Council for Multicultural Affairs are sponsoring the conference with additional support from EOU’s Center for Student Involvement, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Athletics Department, Vending Committee, University Advancement, Aramark, Safeway, Sorbenots Coffee, Wal-Mart, Mamacita’s International Grill and Golden Harvest Restaurant.

For more information and to preregister for the conference, visit or call 541-962-3741.

EOU hosts annual Oregon FBLA Regional Skills Conference

News Contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |

EOU photo by Andrew Murray / Competitors put their business knowledge to the test during the 2011 FBLA Conference.

January 26, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The 2012 Future Business Leaders of America Regional Skills Conference will take place Thursday, Feb. 2 at Eastern Oregon University.

Approximately 400 students from eastern Oregon high schools will participate in the competitive event. The top 10 finishers will qualify for the state FBLA conference in Portland this April.

A public awards assembly will be held from 12:45 to 3 p.m. in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.  Presenting at the assembly will be Taylor Sarman, a senior at Union High School and the current FBLA National President.

Tests will revolve around business-related fields including economics, accounting, math, computer programming, marketing, finance, business law and public speaking.

Students from Baker, Elgin, John Day, Helix, Heppner, Imbler, La Grande, Nyssa, Ontario, Pendleton, Union and Vale will be represented.


Political science professor examines link between civic engagement & distance education, Jan. 26

News Contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |

January 23, 2012 
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Jeff Dense, Ph.D., professor of political science, will discuss civic engagement and distance education for the next colloquium at EOU, Thursday, Jan. 26.

The presentation begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210 and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.

Dense will scrutinize the link between distance education, civic engagement and the discipline of political science with evidence from EOU’s thriving online education curriculum. Students enrolled in a state and local government class served as a pilot group for this important initiative in 2011. Colleagues are also invited to share best practices from their own distance education experiences in civic engagement during the colloquium.

A list of related resources provided by EOU’s Pierce Library is available for more in-depth information. Visit To be added to the colloquium mailing list call 541-962-3508.

> View colloquium flier

EOU campus reopens, classes held as scheduled Jan. 19

Contact: University Advancement | 541-962-3740

January 19, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The EOU campus will be open and classes held as usual today, Thursday, Jan. 19. All offices and activities will resume operation.

In the event weather conditions change, employees and students are asked to continue to monitor their e-mail, the EOU website at, local radio stations and the Weather Hotline at 541-962-3844 for updates.

Upcoming EOU concert captures attitude of ’70s era music

Story and photos by Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | 

The EOU Chamber Choir works on choreography for "I've Got the Music in Me" by the Kiki Dee Band, one of 29 hit songs on the lineup for That '70s "Show" concert.

January 20, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University talent has been bringing audiences smash hits from decades past for two years running and an upcoming winter concert continues the tradition.

Over the last weekend in January the EOU Chamber Choir and music department will stage an epic performance in the same vein as A Beatles Celebration and Flashback to the ’60s.

With this concert, it’s all about attitude.

Choir Director Peter Wordelman has put together a sampling of the grooviest songs of the 1970s featuring solos, ensembles and dance numbers. The 29-song lineup features famous hits by Stevie Wonder, Neil Diamond, Queen and others. Add a full band, wind instruments and a small bluegrass group and it’s sheer That ’70s “Show” magic.

Often, Wordelman seeks out alumni to help with special projects and has brought contemporary dancer and former EOU student Catherine Herrmann on board for this one.

Catherine Herrmann is an EOU alumna now living and performing in New York City.

She’s charged with creating choreography for the choir that captures a ’70s mood.

“I like to bring as many of our alumni as possible back to campus to work with our current students,” Wordelman said. “I call it our ‘life after EOU’ series.”

“Catherine is an excellent dancer and a wonderful person. With her connection to several choir members and her own involvement with the department as an undergraduate, she is the perfect person to work with us on the show,” he said.

In the short time before the production opens, 48 choir members are singing and dancing their hearts out, learning 17 fully choreographed numbers. The routines are challenging, but the students say it’s great to be working with a professional dancer.

By the third day of rehearsal with the largest company she’s ever choreographed, Herrmann was impressed with their natural talent.

“Their enthusiasm is huge!” she said. “My focus is really to convey the feeling and energy of the decade and make sure the performers have a good time.”

Watch a few minutes of their practice and it’s clear the students are having fun. As one choir member put it, “The ’70s is about attitude, so it’s really easy to get hyped up about the dancing.”

Like most of the performers in the show, Herrmann wasn’t around during the 1970s. To help with context she began studying people who were immersed in the music and dance trends of the decade, even attending a wedding featuring a ’70s-style DJ for added inspiration. Her fiancé Kevin Kossi also proved a good resource as a native New Yorker who was part of the original Studio 54 disco scene in Manhattan.

Using descriptive words in conjunction with her choreography helps Herrmann give the choir members a tangible sense of the feeling or mood their movements convey. This approach is part of a broader technique called the Laban Movement Analysis.

“Words like sparkle, crisp, still or silent all describe the effort involved beyond just the steps,” she said.


Growing up in La Grande, Herrmann was introduced to music and dance at a young age. Her mother Swannee Herrmann is the director of the La Grande School of Ballet and also taught violin, viola and cello for many years. Her father Tom Herrmann is a physics professor at EOU and both he and Swannee perform with the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra.

It seemed a natural course when Herrmann enrolled in EOU’s music program the fall of 2002. After two years and with encouragement from her family and professors, she left to follow her passion at the University of Georgia-Athens on a national student exchange program.

“Since I was 16, I knew I wanted to become a dancer and finally saw a way to pursue it,” Herrmann said. “Professor Wordelman is all about his students growing and doing what they love. He still supports me this way.”

Herrmann will take the stage with the Chamber Choir and band for the song "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire.

Lisa Robertson, assistant professor of music, was another source of support.

“She saw my musical ability actually improved when I imagined the notes set to dance steps,” Herrmann said.

Immersing herself in the University of Georgia’s CORE Concert Dance Company, Herrmann graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of fine arts in dance performance. Her adventurous spirit then lead her to take a leap to The Big Apple to attend the New York Trapeze School and Broadway Dance Center.

The city is Herrmann’s home now and she divides her time working as a yoga instructor and au pair by day and taking her dancing career to new heights as an aerialist by night. Aerialism is a form of acrobatics and Herrmann uses hoops, silks, slings and other apparatuses for her midair performances emergent on the diverse underground artist community. Her mom Swannee and mentor Bala Sarasvati, CORE Dance Co., director, influence her style, as does the Anaheim Ballet.

While the disco beats of the songs in That ’70s “Show” won’t incorporate any of her aerial stunts, Herrmann will perform with the group for one of the last numbers on the program: “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire.

“Music and dance are a celebration of life, and this production is an example of people coming together as a community to have a good time and grow,” Herrmann said.

That ’70s “Show” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and again at 4 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 27-28 in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Red Cross Drug Store is presenting the concert and The Observer and EOU Foundation are sponsors. Tickets are available now at Red Cross, Sunflower Books and the EOU Bookstore on campus or at the Mountaineer Market, its new location on Adams Ave.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. A group rate of $5 per person is available if purchasing 10 or more tickets. For more information contact Peter Wordelman at 541-962-3638.

EOU campus closes due to weather, classes cancelled

Contact: University Advancement | 541-962-3740

January 18, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University will close campus as of 12 p.m. (noon) today, Wednesday, Jan. 18. This will be a Level II closure with the following requirements:

Level II - Managers/Supervisors may grant discretionary leave

All classes will be cancelled. All Managers/Supervisors may grant leave to employees based on the work that needs to be completed. Employees have the choice to accept the offer to leave or stay and complete work. Employees must charge the time away based on the alternatives listed in the union contract or EOU employee handbook. All activities (i.e. sporting events, plays, etc.) will be held as planned. All outside activities will occur (i.e., if McKenzie Theatre was rented to an outside group, the event will occur). All residential halls and dining services remain open and functioning.  The President (or designee) will be the sole source in authorizing discretionary leave. This will be done via communicating to the Vice Presidents who will then inform the managers.  All Vice Presidents will be ultimately responsible for deciding which offices may close and which must remain open. Those employees who are deemed”essential” must remain on campus.

Monitor e-mail, the EOU website at, local radio stations or call the Weather Hotline at 541-962-3844 for updates.

Complete policies and closure levels regarding inclement weather are posted to the HR website at

Employees and students should be aware of the condition of walkways and roads as they are leaving.  Sidewalks and parking lots are extremely slippery. If there are further closures required during the week, that information will be forthcoming.

“basalt” receives 2012 Oregon Literary Fellowship award

Source contact: Jodi Varon | Co-Editor of “basalt”
541-962-3633 |

"basalt" cover 2011

January 18, 2012
PORTLAND, Ore. – Eastern Oregon University’s publication “basalt” is the recipient of a $2,500 Oregon Literary Fellowship grant, making it one of just three publishers to be selected in 2012 by Literary Arts.

The two most recent issues of “basalt” garnered the award: volume 6, number 1, (2011) featuring the photography of Terry Toedtemeier and accompanying essay by James Lavadour; and a special memorial issue honoring Kathelene Galloway, volume 5, number 1 (2010). Galloway was a an associate professor of art at EOU.

“David Axelrod and I are elated to receive this award and recognition. A huge thank you to Literary Arts!” said Jodi Varon, co-editor of the publication.

"basalt" cover 2010

In addition to working together on “basalt,” Varon and Axelrod are both professors of English and writing at EOU. Varon said the magazine is a collaborative effort and acknowledges those involved in its success.

“We are deeply indebted to support from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost and the EOU Foundation,” she said.

The Eastern Oregon Arts Council and Oregon Council of Teachers of English also support “basalt.”

“The magazine’s beauty is due in large part to the excellent work of Kristin Summers of redbat design and the eye of our art editor, Ben Mitchell,” Varon said.

Mitchell is the senior curator of art at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane.

The current issue of “basalt” is available by contacting Axelrod at or Varon at and will also be available for purchase in the EOU bookstore.

Morris Graves’ artwork will grace the cover of the forthcoming issue. For more visit

Related articles:
New issue of EOU’s literary publication hits bookshelves
Special issue of Basalt honors EOU art professor


Tickets available now for That ’70s “Show” concert, Jan. 27-28

News Contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |

That '70s "Show" event poster (PDF)

January 13, 2012
– Red Cross Drug Store presents the EOU Chamber Choir and music department in a concert featuring the groovy sounds of the 1970s, Jan. 27-28 in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

That ’70s “Show” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday and again at 4 and 8 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are available now at Red Cross, Sunflower Books and the EOU Bookstore on campus or its new downtown location, the Mountaineer Market on Adams Ave.

Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. A group rate of $5 per person is available if purchasing 10 or more tickets.

For more information contact Peter Wordelman at 541-962-3638.

EOU seeks input on Campus Master Plan development

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |

January 13, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University needs feedback to assist with its development of a new Campus Master Plan. An open house on Thursday, Jan. 26 will give students, faculty, staff and community members a chance to comment on plan alternatives presented by SERA Architects, Inc.

The primary intent of a Campus Master Plan is to inform and facilitate the efficient development of campus maintenance, repair and improvement projects.

The open house is from 6-7:30 p.m. in the foyer of Loso Hall on the EOU campus.

EOU celebrates MLK Day with march, open mic program

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |

Event poster (PDF)

January 11, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The Black Student Union and the Student Council for Multicultural Affairs at EOU are organizing events commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

The celebration on Monday, Jan. 16 begins with a march at 11 a.m. Participants will meet at Max Square. Jamarkus Worles-Springfield, president of the Black Student Union, and BSU members will lead the group through downtown to 8th St. and then the EOU campus where the march will conclude.

An open mic program in the Hoke Main Lounge will follow. Everyone is invited to share a poem, song, or reading focusing on diversity, human rights, or related issues. For more information e-mail the Student Council for Multicultural Affairs at or call 541-962-3741.

The EOU campus will be closed Monday in observance of the holiday.