Health Speaker Series welcomes occupational therapist

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source: Kimberly Mueller | EOU Pre-Professional Health Liaison
541-962-3070 |

November 27, 2012

June Wilson, O.T.L.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ June Wilson, O.T.L., will be the next presenter for the EOU Health Speaker Series Thursday, Nov. 29. Students and community members are invited to attend this free presentation at 6 p.m. in Badgley Hall, Room 102.

Wilson is an occupational therapist and the rehab department manager of Grande Ronde Hospital’s Rehabilitation Therapy Department. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 1991 with a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy.

Wilson has interned and worked in various settings including inpatient care for the Veterans Administration, forensic mental health and skilled nursing facilities. Her recent experience has been in acute inpatient hospital, outpatient and home health care. She was attracted to occupational therapy for its ability to help others function at their full potential, as well as its career and client versatility. She also enjoys the opportunity her chosen field affords her to look at each individual as a whole person, rather than a compartmentalized diagnosis. Wilson has worked at GRH as a clinician and Rehab Department manager since 2004.

EOU and the Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center organize the speaker series with the goal of providing students interested in pursuing healthcare careers the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from members of the area medical community. The series will continue through spring term with one presentation each month.

For more information visit or contact Kimberly Mueller, EOU’s pre-professional health liaison, at 541-962-3070.


Annual Holiday Music Festival spotlights region’s beauty

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | 
Source contact: Peter Wordelman | EOU Professor of Music
541-962-3352 |

November 26, 2012

Photo by Eric Valentine / Gunsight Mountain overlooking Anthony Lake

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – On its own, great music has the capacity to carry the imagination. When combined with vivid imagery, expect to be transported to a higher plane.

Audiences at The Observer’s 21st Anniversary Holiday Music Festival on Dec. 1-2 will be treated to the EOU Chamber Choir’s performance of “Alleluia” accompanied by the photography of Eric Valentine.

Weeks of rehearsal and multimedia work have culminated in what can be described as a majestic, tranquil and ethereal journey through scenes in eastern Oregon’s backyard. The Eagle Cap Wilderness, Hells Canyon, Steens Mountain, Hot Lake, Mount Emily – even the EOU campus – are among the many nearby locales captured with Valentine’s lens.

“There is so much flexibility artistically from the visual and musical spectrums, and it is exciting to see these elements come together,” said Peter Wordelman, professor of music and choir director. “This is also Eric’s life work, and we want to honor that.”

Wordelman and Valentine began collaborating several months ago on the idea for a multimedia project that would serve the dual purpose of promoting EOU’s music programs and the beauty of the region.

Valentine supplied hundreds of images, which EOU sophomore and media arts major Nick Johnson organized into a nine-minute slide show of the four seasons with thoughtful transitions to match the music. Johnson also sings with the Chamber Choir, so his creative work behind the scenes will come full circle at show time.

“My favorite part is when the moon slowly fades away…it’s almost hypnotizing,” Johnson said after presenting the project to Wordelman and Valentine for the first time in its entirety.

The song itself intensifies the dreamy feeling Johnson described. “Alleluia” is written by popular contemporary composer Eric Whitacre and includes just two lyrics, alleluia and amen, repeatedly rising and falling for the duration of the piece.

“I’m honored and thrilled to contribute images to this project,” Valentine said. “It’s amazing to me how photography can be used in so many different ways.”

In addition to the live performance, Wordelman plans to record a high-quality track of “Alleluia” with the Chamber Choir to combine with the selected images and make available on DVD. He hopes the production will help attract new music students to EOU and serve as a resource for local tourism.

Hear and see this unique presentation in person at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Also taking the stage will be the Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra, Community Symphonic Band, Grande Ronde Community Chorus, Women’s Choir, African Drumming Ensemble, Folkal Point and a Faculty Jazz Ensemble.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and senior citizens and are available to purchase at Sunflower Books and the EOU Bookstore. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the door. All proceeds support the university’s music program funds held in the EOU Foundation.

The Holiday Music Festival is sponsored by Koza Family Dental, PC.

For more information contact Wordelman at 541-962-3352 or by e-mail

Students, community members perform in symphonic band

Contact: Deena Heath | Executive Director of ArtsEast
541-962-3624 |


Director Teun Fetz

November 21, 2012

LA GRANDE, Ore. – The EOU Community Symphonic Band will perform its winter concert at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26 in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall. Admission is free with donations accepted.

The band is a program of the Community School of the Arts – a partnership between ArtsEast and EOU. Teun Fetz, associate professor of music, is the band director.

EOU students may participate in the program for credit, but the band also offers local musicians an opportunity to pursue their own musical interests. Currently the group is comprised of a mix of university students and community members from Baker City, Cove, Elgin, Enterprise, Imbler, La Grande and Wallowa.

For more information about the concert or how to participate in the community band call 541-962-3624 or e-mail Deena Heath, executive director of ArtsEast, at


Retired professor named American Chemical Society Fellow

Contact: Joan B. CoyleAmerican Chemical Society, Office of Public Affairs
202-872-6229 |


Richard Hermens

November 20, 2012
— The American Chemical Society (ACS) has named Richard Hermens, retired EOU professor of chemistry, to the 2012 class of ACS Fellows.

This prestigious honor was given to 96 distinguished scientists who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and made important contributions to ACS, the world’s largest scientific society. They represent 23 technical divisions, 52 local sections and reflect a wide range of disciplines and geographic locations.

“These chemists hold the future to our country, to our way of life and to the legacy we will leave for the next generation,” said Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D., ACS president. “Whether it’s producing renewable fuels, finding cures for afflictions such as diabetes, cancer, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease or ensuring safe drinking water, these Fellows are scientific leaders, improving our lives through the transforming power of chemistry.”

Hermens was recognized at an induction ceremony during the Society’s 244th National Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia.

The ACS Fellows Program was created by the ACS Board of Directors in December 2008 “to recognize members of ACS for outstanding achievements in and contributions to Science, the Profession and the Society.” Fellows come from academe, industry and government.

Hermens enjoyed a 35-year career teaching physical, analytical, inorganic and general chemistry. A 50-year member of the ACS, he was instrumental in organizing the Eastern Oregon Science Journal which opened the door to students in any science and mathematical field to publish their research.

Hermens also served as chair of the science division at EOU for 12 years and was a member of numerous national and regional ACS committees. He retired in 2001 and received the Honorary Alumnus Award in 2010.

The official list of names appeared in the July 23 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.


Stories of Latino Roots In Oregon told with traveling exhibit

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source contact: Bennie Moses | Coordinator of Multicultural Affairs
541-962=3741 |

November 20, 2012

Photo by Laura Hancock / La Familia Club members from left, Jaevis Johnson, Ramiro Villegas and Elisabet Villegas found inspiration in the Latino Roots Project and the exhibit currently on display in Hoke.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – A unique opportunity to learn more about the heritage of Latinos in Oregon is at EOU through the end of fall term in the form of a traveling exhibit.

The 15-panel display tells the stories of seven different families that immigrated to Oregon – some as early as the 1700′s – with photography and text researched and compiled by University of Oregon students of their own ancestors.

“We want to bring diversity education to our events and make connections to Oregon history whenever possible,” said Bennie Moses, coordinator of Multicultural Affairs at EOU.

Moses worked with the Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies program at UO to bring the display to campus. While the families featured are from the Lane County area, a documentary has also been produced and it focuses on Latino heritage throughout the state. The film is available to check-out from the Multicultural Center.

“It’s really interesting the students were able to trace their roots so far back,” said Elisabet Villegas, a sophomore from Boardman and president of the La Familia Club at EOU. “I would be very proud of my family if I could do a project like this.”

Other members of La Familia involved with setting up the exhibit are Jaevis Johnson, a sophomore from Reno, and Elisabet’s brother Ramiro Villegas, a junior. With approximately 26 students currently in the club, officers are eager to see the group continue to grow.

“Latinos are the largest minority group on campus,” Moses said. “Collaborating with UO on this exhibit helped our students reach out and draw on new resources, determine goals of the program and increase awareness.”

View the Latino Roots In Oregon exhibit through Dec. 7 in the Hoke Union Building main lounge.

The Latino Roots Project is part of the “Americas in a Globalized World: Linking Diversity and Internationalization” at UO.

Book launch & reception celebrate new work of George Venn, emeritus professor

Contact: David Memmott | Editor, Wordcraft of Oregon

Photo by Marie Balaban / George Venn

November 14, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore.  – A book launch reception to celebrate the publication of “Keeping the Swarm: New and Selected Essays”  by George Venn is on Sunday, Nov. 18.

The public is invited to the drop-in event from 2-4 p.m. in the Colleen Johnson Room at Cook Memorial Library.

Friends and readers new and old may examine Venn’s seventh and latest book and meet and greet the author – a prize-winning poet, editor, educator, writer-in-residence and emeritus professor at EOU.

Copies of all of Venn’s books will be available to purchase at the event, including his best-selling monograph on C.E.S. Wood and Chief Joseph, and his poetry collection “West of Paradise.”

In 224 pages, “Keeping the Swarm” includes 20 photos and 11 personal essays, six of which have been published previously and five appearing in print for the first time. Charged with sweetness and stinging, they create a memorable collage. The title essay tells the story of Venn’s parents and grandparents’ contrasting lives, roles and forces.

"Keeping the Swarm"

A surprise Christmas present from a man who never went shopping is the center of “Grandpa’s Gift” and “Eulogy for George L. Mayo” is the poet’s tribute to his grandfather.

The story of a boy who hears unforgettable singing by Upper Skagit Indians comes to life in “Faith of Our Fathers” and in “Winter Tales: Spirit Lake” the poet meditates on winter traditions in a welcoming small town.

“You Wanta Go to Town?” details Venn’s experience as a college kid being fired from his truck-driving job, while “Singing the Silver Valley Cannonball” traces the evolution of the author as a singer–from hymns to musicals to secular folk song.

Set in La Grande, “The Red Weasel Dream” narrates Venn’s writing and presenting a funeral eulogy for his neighbor Jean Cram Haufle.

“Leaving Salamanca” tells the student poet’s story of traveling to study at a famous university and “The More We Get Together” narrates Venn’s adventures while teaching in China from 1981-1982.

In the final essay “Barn,” the poet meditates on the images, stories, traditions and significance of the farm structure.

“Keeping the Swarm” appears with genial praise by reviewers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“Venn provides a guidebook for us to examine our own piece of the world, to recognize the beauty, grace and peril, until we see it ‘solid and clear,’” notes Robert Stubblefield, a faculty member in creative writing at the University of Montana.

Fellow Oregonian and author Craig Lesley writes, “This welcome essay collection by the sharpest-eyed Northwest writer conjures the region he knows so intimately. His careful portraits of mining towns, wheat harvest, bee keeping, snowland wonders ring clean and true.”

The wide and eclectic range of places, people and events is based on Venn’s life experience. Born George Fyfe in rural western Washington in October, 1943, the death of his father forced his mother Beth to leave her infant second son to be raised by her parents Hazel and George Mayo on their farm and apiary near Mt. Rainier.

Eventually, Beth remarried Rev. Frank Venn, a Tacoma minister and George and his brother Douglas became stepsons of a strict, musical, dogmatizing Presbyterian. Between 1947 and 1957, the Venn household moved four times in the Northwest, but each summer, the Fyfe-Venn brothers returned to work on the Mayo apiary and farm.

Venn graduated from Spirit Lake High School in 1961 with honors and accepted an athletic scholarship to The College of Idaho, but eventually chose international liberal arts. In 1964, he studied and worked in Quito, Ecuador, then in 1965 he spent the fall and winter studying and working in Spain and the spring in London. In 1966, he married and completed his bachelor’s degree. In 1970, he earned a master of fine arts at the University of Montana and then began teaching at EOU.

While at EOU, Venn served 10 years on the Indian Education Institute Board, advised the Ars Poetica reading series and “Oregon East” magazine for 18 years, directed the creative writing program, co-wrote with Lois Barry the writing track for the English degree, instigated the creation of the writing lab, began the English as a second language program, brought the National Writing Project to campus, and taught the first courses in Western, Northwestern and Native American literatures.

In 2002 the university selected Venn as recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Faculty Award and he retired to write full-time.

As a Grande Ronde Valley resident for 42 years, Venn has contributed to the community in multiple roles. He served as chair of the Mt. Emily Food Co-op, leader of the Committee for Catherine Creek’s successful opposition to dams, supervisor for the Solar Water Heater project, chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee for Union County Economic Development, advocate for free-flowing rivers, wilderness and land-use planning, member of the state-wide Folk Arts Advisory board, board member and president of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, judge for the first Oregon Book Awards, and a founding advisor to both Literary Arts and the Fishtrap Gathering.

Venn’s first two books were well received and in 1980 his poetry garnered a national Pushcart Prize. In 1981-1982, he was among the first American writers to teach English in post-Cultural Revolution China. In 1988, the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts awarded his third book “Marking the Magic Circle” a silver medal. From 1989 to 1994, he designed and directed the six volume Oregon Literature Series, for which he received the Stewart Holbrook Award for “outstanding contributions to Oregon’s literary life.”

In 2005, the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission again recognized “Marking the Magic Circle” as “one of the 100 best Oregon books in the two centuries.”

More recently, his poetry collection “West of Paradise” (1999) was a finalist for an Oregon Book Award. His C.E.S. Wood monograph “Soldier to Advocate” (2006) and his World War II Fred Hill collection “Darkroom Soldier” (2008) have also earned high praise.

Copies of “Keeping the Swarm” are available to purchase through the publisher, Wordcraft of Oregon. Wordcraft has served those writers of exceptional merit whose work is of lasting value but falls outside the commercial norm since 1988.

Jazz ensembles present annual fall concert, Nov. 19

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

November 13, 2012
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The EOU Jazz Ensemble will present its fall concert on Monday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in McKenzie Theater in Loso Hall.

The 12-piece group will perform selections by composers Mongo Santamaria, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Eddie Harris and Frank Zappa, as well as instrumental and vocal standards from the “Great American Songbook.”  Matt Cooper, professor of music, is the director.

Also performing will be the EOU Jazz Guitar Ensemble, featuring four guitarists, bass and drums. Arrangements will include several jazz and bossa nova standards.

Admission to the concert is free with donations accepted to benefit EOU’s jazz ensemble programs. For more information, contact Cooper at 541-962-3559.


College Nights offer free planning tips for students & families

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source contact: EOU Financial Aid Office
541-962-3550 |

November 8, 2012

Click image for larger view.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ High school students and their families are invited to attend a free college-planning event from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13 in Huber Auditorium in Badgley Hall at EOU.

Student attendees may enter to win a $500 scholarship from event sponsor Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC). Pizza and soda will also be provided.

Topics will include how going to college can change a student’s life, choosing the right college, understanding the financial aid and application process, developing a plan to search for scholarships and how to avoid scams.

For more information call EOU’s Financial Aid Office at 541-962-3550 or visit


EOU shares diversity during International Education Week

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

November 8, 2012

EOU file photo

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ International Education Week at EOU begins Monday, Nov. 12 with a Speed Speaking Language Exchange and Zumba Shake class.

Events throughout the week will provide participants with new knowledge of diversity and present broad points of view utilizing the five senses. Opportunities include listening to a lecture on the “Perception of Islam in Western Countries,” watching the colorful Global Fashion Show, tasting traditional dishes at the International Potluck, experiencing unique aromas at the Diversity Tea and exploring the tactile qualities of various cultural crafts.

Gwen Nakayama, president of the International Student Association at EOU, hopes that many people will attend this year.

“International Education Week is a very special event celebrated at EOU because it is when international students increase awareness about their countries through different activities, such as presentations and the fashion show,” Nakayama said.

Nakayama is from Micronesia, Chuuk. She is dedicated to sharing, exchanging and broadening people’s understandings of worldwide nations through her role with the International Student Association.

“In my perspective,” she said, “it is a perfect opportunity for both international and U.S. students to learn and develop a better comprehension about each other’s culture.”

For more information about International Education Week contact Janet Camp, international student adviser, at 541-962-3406.

A complete schedule of activities follows below:

Click image to download poster

Monday, Nov. 12

• Speed Speaking, Language Exchange: 6 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

• Zumba Shake with Ikaika Alapa’i : 8 p.m., Aerobics Room, Quinn Coliseum

Tuesday, Nov. 13

• Diversity Experiences from the International Student Perspective–International Student Panel: 3 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

• Perception of Islam in Western Countries by Rukhshona Mirzoartikova: 4 p.m., Zabel 101

Wednesday, Nov. 14

• Study Abroad Fair: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

• Cultural Craft Tables: 6 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

• Zumba Shake with Ikaika Alapa’i: 8 p.m., Aerobics Room, Quinn Coliseum

Thursday, Nov. 15

• Study Abroad: It’s for Everyone!: 3 p.m., Hoke 301

• Global Fashion Show: 4 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

• International Potluck, Hosted by ISA: 6 p.m., Multicultural Center, Hoke 2nd Floor

Friday, Nov. 16

• Diversity Tea: 3 p.m., Multicultural Center, Hoke 2nd Floor

• “Latino Roots in Oregon” documentary: 7 p.m., Hoke Main Lounge

Birthday Bash supports Liberty Theatre restoration project

Contact: Chantell Cosner, Executive Director | The Liberty Theatre Foundation
509-240-6515 |

November 6, 2012

Photo by Robin Spangler / Matt Cooper, EOU professor of music.

LA GRANDE, Ore. – The Matt Cooper Birthday Bash is coming to the Stage Door Theater Friday, Nov. 16.

Performing is none other than the Matt Cooper X-tet, (the “X” representing that band’s irregular number of members), best known for its acid jazz  –  a groove sustaining and funky subgenre with heavy ‘60s and ’70s influence.

As Cooper explains, “I’m trying to honor black artists from Count Basie and Horace Silver through Marvin Gaye and Michael Jackson, with a nod to white rock and jazz-rock musicians like Carol King and Steely Dan.”

Special guests will include Greg Johnson on saxophone,  Mike Kellison on guitar, Teun Fetz on drums, and the vocal talent of Sharon Porter.

“The band lacks a bass player because I kick the bass with my left hand on the Hammond organ while my right hand plays an acoustic piano, electric piano or organ sound on the Korg SV1 keyboard,” Cooper says, “so, I’m kind of splitting myself in two.”

Cooper is a professor of music at EOU and a recognized piano soloist. He has performed both solo and chamber recitals throughout the Pacific Northwest, around the world and in La Grande. He is often heard at the local Farmers Market, Ten Depot Street Restaurant and various EOU music functions.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the performance starts at 7 at the Stage Door, an intimate, 50 seat venue with the entrance located on the alley side of the Liberty Theatre building at 1010 Adams Ave.

Tickets to the Matt Cooper Birthday Bash are $10 and available at the Mountaineer Market and Direct Music at 1010 Adams Ave., or at the EOU Bookstore and at the door.

Funds raised will support the Liberty Theatre restoration project. For more information contact Chantell Cosner at 509-240-6515 or e-mail