Students test skills for FBLA Regional Conference at EOU

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

EOU file photo

January 30, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ The 2013 Future Business Leaders of America Regional Skills Conference will take place Thursday, Feb. 7 at Eastern Oregon University.

More than 400 students from 13 eastern Oregon high schools will participate in the competitive event. The top 10 finishers will advance to the state conference in Portland this spring.

Results will be announced at a public awards assembly beginning at 12:45 p.m. in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Tests will revolve around 40 different business-related activities 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, Stanfield, Union and Vale will be represented.


Students learn from, perform with professional opera singers

Contact: Jamie Jacobson | EOU Vocal Instructor
541-962-3464 |

Click image to view & download flier (PDF).

January 30, 2013

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Members of Portland Opera To Go are embarking on their 12th trip across the state to spend some quality time at Eastern Oregon University in February.

EOU vocal students will receive a week of individualized training from the professional cast and crew in the form of workshops, performances, classes and lessons.

Their efforts will culminate in a public concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8 at the United Methodist Church in La Grande. The performance will feature solos, duets and small group numbers from several different operas. 

Portland Opera to Go is the outreach and education program of the Portland Opera. For more information contact Jamie Jacobson, EOU vocal instructor, at 541-962-3464.


Gallery exhibition, artist presentations on tap in February

Contact: Cory Peeke | Nightingale Gallery Director, EOU
541-962-3584 |

January 29, 2013

Arun Sharma’s “(de) composition,” still image from video (2009).

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - An exploration of the visual expression of silence arrives in EOU’s Nightingale Gallery with the exhibition “Quietude” opening Friday, Feb. 8 with a reception from 6-8 p.m. in Loso Hall.

Curated by Cory Peeke, Nightingale Gallery director and EOU professor of art, the show includes a video, painting, drawing and mixed media, and the work of all six participating artists communicates a decidedly quiet attitude.

“Some works are meditative, some explore the possibilities of isolation and yet others give viewers an overwhelming sense of calm, but all of the works on exhibit are pervaded by a quiet stillness,” Peeke said. “Both formally beautiful and conceptually engaging, each artist’s work will provide viewers with a respite in which to reflect away from the auditory and visual noise of our everyday world.” 

Denver artist Nathan Abels will present a selection of his ephemeral images. Abels’ paintings express what the artist calls a “paused narrative” and elegantly capture fleeting moments such as the play of light through a veiled window. 

Amelia Hankin’s drawings begin as observations of microscopic imagery and evolve into meditations on the power and meaning of the natural world. The Virginia artist’s works encourage viewers to disconnect from the virtual world and reconnect with the natural.

Armin Mühsam, a German native who resides in Missouri, presents a selection of his paintings that depict mankind’s assertion of control over the land. The solitude in his lonely landscapes encourages viewers to reflect on their impact on and place in the natural world. 

Armin Mühsam’s “Standardized Nocturnal,” acrylic on canvas (2012).

Twelve of Mühsam’s paintings are also on permanent display in Inlow Hall, acquired as part of Oregon’s Percent for Art program. Mühsam will give a presentation on these works at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6 in the first-floor corridor of Inlow. A second presentation will be a slide lecture about his larger body of work and studio practice. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 in Zabel Hall, Room 101. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

Oregon artist Nate Orton presents a selection of his drawings and mixed media works on wood. Orton’s enigmatic images explore the harmonious relationship between the experienced and the observed.

Rachel Ritchford, of Brooklyn, is represented by several of her idiosyncratic landscapes. The paintings connect the disparate motifs of abstraction and representation and as Ritchford says, “become meditative environments.” 

American artist Arun Sharma, who currently resides in Australia, presents his compelling video “(de) composition.” The film depicts a clay bust, a self-portrait of the artist, slowly disintegrating in a pool of water. The slow-falling flakes and floating tendrils of clay fog create a spiritual, calm and highly engrossing image.

View “Quietude” through Friday, March 1. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information visit or “Like” the gallery on Facebook.

A closer look at imperial education in colonial British Malaya

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

January 24, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ Matthew Schauer, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of history at EOU, shares his knowledge of colonial British Malaya for the colloquium this Thursday, Jan. 24.

From 1900 to 1939, the British colonial government supported educational policies aimed at keeping the Malay people in their “traditional” roles as farmers, fisherman, mothers and handicraft makers.

Schauer examines how these ethnological characterizations were applied directly to policies relating to Malay vocational education. Contemporary ethnology that characterized the Malays as people living in a simple world of ancient traditions was used to support these attempts to stifle desires for social mobility.

The colloquium begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210 and is free and open to the public.  A reception with question and answer session with Schauer will follow.

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

Attend master class with pianist Julian Martin, Feb. 2

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

January 23, 2013

Julian Martin

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ Julian Martin, distinguished pianist and Julliard School professor, is leading a master class series at EOU as part of a tour of Oregon colleges.

Tailored for piano teachers, this free professional development opportunity is from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, in Groth Recital Hall in Loso Hall, Room 126.

Students, faculty and community members are also invited to attend. An informal reception hosted by The Oregon Community Foundation will follow the class, providing an opportunity for audience members and EOU student performers to visit with Martin.

Martin has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory, Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and Julliard since 1999. In addition to giving master classes throughout the U.S., he has presented in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uruguay and Venezuela.

A native of Alabama, Martin first garnered global attention as winner of the Montevideo International Competition, and also received major prizes in the Casadeus/Ravel (now Cleveland International), Kapell and Bachauer competitions. In 1982, he was awarded the Collaborative Prize at The Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow.

This master class is made possible through The Nellie Tholen Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation. OCF awards more than $65 million annually in grants and scholarships.

For more information contact Matt Cooper, EOU professor of music, at 541-962-3559 or


Rewinding to one of music’s most revolutionary decades

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

January 18, 2013

Photos by Laura Hancock / Chamber Choir members Lindsay Martin and Danny Bailey, foreground, strike a pose during rehearsal for “Totally 80′s Rewind” opening Jan. 25-26 in McKenzie Theatre.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Bringing fresh sounds and new moves to chart-topping songs is a signature of the EOU music department and Chamber Choir, and their next concert aims to encapsulate one of music’s most revolutionary decades: the 1980s.

Students in Professor Peter Wordelman’s seminar class began an investigation last spring into billboard hits of the era, and the culmination of their project will play out on stage in “Totally 80’s Rewind” opening Jan. 25-26.

The show makes its public debut at 7:30 p.m. Friday in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall and promises to be fast-paced, fun and amusing. Repeat performances are at 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

A third performance at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 is reserved for current EOU students. Students with ID can obtain a free ticket through the Eastern Student Entertainment Office in the Hoke Union Building, Room 313, the Arts and Sciences Office in Loso Hall, Room 154. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

The architects behind “Totally 80′s Rewind” from left, Holly Sorensen, Jonathan Davidson, Lindsay Martin, Mike Kellison and Luke Basile.

Four current music students and a recent graduate are the architects of the show – both behind the scenes and on stage. Hip-hop, blue collar, metal, country and pop/rock favorites are among 35 selections performed with full choreography.

“We went on a mission to dig through music to find the textures we wanted in the show and what would also play to the choir’s strengths,” said class member Holly Sorensen, a senior.

“The 80’s were a pretty revolutionary time for music when it branched out into all different genres. Country, new wave, ‘butt rock’ and musicals were becoming popular. We even brought in a performance of ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ for a bit of humor!” she added.

Working together, the class built the concert program from the ground up – even arranging several pieces on their own.

“It’s been challenging, due to so many genres that emerged during this time,” said Luke Basile, fellow EOU senior.

Michael Jackson is his favorite 80’s artist, but Basile is arranging a rendition of “True Colors” made famous by Cyndi Lauper in 1986, and he is excited to hear it performed.

For Lindsay Martin, a junior, the project expanded her musical repertoire to genres beyond the rock songs of Journey and Boston – bands her parents listen to.

“It’s good to be exposed to other sides of the 80’s,” she said. “Country, for example, had more harmony and a blue-grassy feel.”

By contrast, EOU senior Mike Kellison grew up in the 80’s and was able to bring a different perspective to the class.

“I’m a fan of 80’s electronica and a few of these songs made it into the program,” he said.

Kellison and Basile both play bass and guitar and are performing with a large ensemble accompanying the choir, which Sorensen and Martin are also members of. The all student and faculty “house band” also includes two pianists, a percussionist, a trumpeter, two trombonists and a violinist. 

EOU alumnus Jonathan Davidson is returning to help his former classmates with final planning for the concert, and said the project strengthened his music IQ.

“I really enjoyed researching the top 100 hits and seeing which songs I knew and didn’t know,” Davidson said.

Click image to view poster.

Adding to the diversity of the show is original choreography by Catherine Herrmann, who attended EOU and went on to earn a degree in dance performance from the University of Georgia-Athens.

Herrmann is rehearsing with the Chamber Choir as a whole, and a smaller group of advanced dancers who will perform on select numbers. The program also includes four complete costume changes. 

Tickets to “Totally 80’s Rewind” are $8 for adults and $7 for EOU students and senior citizens. Groups of 10 or more pay $6 per ticket. Purchase tickets in advance at Red Cross Drug Store, Sunflower Books, the EOU Bookstore and the Mountaineer Market at 1008 Adams Ave.

Red Cross Drug Store, The Observer and Koza Family Dental are the event sponsors. For more information contact Professor Wordelman at 541-962-3352 or e-mail

Finish GED now with assistance from EOU’s testing center

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source contact: Cathy Trochlell
541-962-3076 |

January 14, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ Students earning high school credentials have a new deadline to be aware of, and EOU’s testing center is poised to help them meet it.

GED test-takers have until December 2013 to complete the current exam. Once the deadline arrives, the test – and scores – will expire, which means those who haven’t finished must start over when the new GED exam is released Jan. 2, 2014.

“We’re ready to help as many individuals as possible complete their GED before the current test expires,” said Cathy Trochlell, continuing education coordinator at EOU.

Trochlell works closely with EOU’s testing center, which offers regular access for students completing the computer-based GED. Anyone who started with the paper-based test can complete it at Blue Mountain Community College.

In addition to connecting students with the appropriate testing location, Trochlell also recommends preparation resources, conducting tutorials on how to navigate the computer-based system, and often making referrals to the Online GED Academy offered through BMCC.

“If you’ve been thinking about getting your GED, now is the time to call me,” Trochlell said. “The new test will be more difficult and likely more expensive, so I want to help as many students as possible attain their credentials this calendar year.”

Financial assistance is available for Union County residents seeking GED completion through EOU’s testing center. Two local donations have provided testing scholarships for 15 students in need. The Oregon Employers Council of Union County funded 10 individual scholarships, and Soroptomist International of La Grande donated funds for five scholarships.

There is also limited funding to provide scholarships for students who want to participate in the BMCC GED Online Academy. These scholarships are funded by the Carole L. Smutz GED Scholarship fund. 

For more information contact Trochlell at 541-962-3076 or visit

Ars Poetica hosts George Venn, author & emeritus professor

Contact: David Axelrod | Ars Poetica Lecture Series
541-962-3633 |

Photo by Marie Balaban / George Venn

January 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ George Venn, noted poet, writer, literary historian, editor, linguist and EOU emeritus professor, will read for the next Ars Poetica Lecture Series, Jan. 29.

Venn will share selections from his new book, “Keeping the Swarm,” at 7:30 p.m. in reference room at Pierce Library on the EOU campus. All are invited to attend.

Copies of the author’s latest collection of personal essays about the Northwest will be available to purchase at the event and a book signing will also take place.

In addition to teaching creative writing at EOU, Venn advised the Ars Poetica Series and “Oregon East” magazine for 18 years, instigated the creation of the writing lab, began the English as a second language program and more. He is now retired and writes full time.

A Grande Ronde Valley resident of 42 years, Venn also served the community as chair of the Mt. Emily Food Co-op, leader of the Committee for Catherine Creek’s successful opposition to dams, member of the Folk Arts Advisory board and multiple others.

As a writer, Venn has been awarded the Pushcart Prize, the Andres Berger Award and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He has been called “one of the foremost serious regionalists in the Northwest.”

“Keeping the Swarm”

“Keeping the Swarm” contains 11 of Venn’s personal essays. They recount experiences from his life, ranging from being fired from his truck-driving job as a college kid, to his reminiscences of hearing the music of the Upper Skagit Indians for the first time.

Karen Spears Zacharias calls the book an “intimate, powerful portrait of community,” and venerates that Venn’s prose is “powerful, his narrative vulnerable.”

Nicholas O’Connell says the book is “absolutely brimming with the rich and vivid detail of a life lived close to the land of the Pacific Northwest.”

Some of Venn’s poetry is also interlaced within the essays.

Venn’s other publications include “Marking the Magic Circle,” recognized by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission as one of the 100 best Oregon books in two centuries. His most recent collection of Poetry “West of Paradise,” was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.

Professor studies activity levels of children attending Family Child Care Homes

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3740 | 

January 8, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) ⎯ Kelly Rice, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical activity and health at EOU, shares her study on activity levels of children for the colloquium this Thursday, Jan. 10.

Rice measured the physical activity levels of 114 children, age two to five, attending Family Child Care Homes in seven western Oregon counties. Her results suggest preschool-age children in these homes are accumulating relatively small amounts of activity and are mostly sedentary during the child-care day.

Rice will provide additional information on the study and discuss possible interventions to increase physical activity in this population.

The colloquium begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210 and is free and open to the public. A reception with question and answer session with Rice will follow.

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

Current campus status and weather updates

Contact: University Advancement
541-962-3740 |

January 7, 2013
Updated at 11 a.m.
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Although more winter weather has arrived in the region, Eastern Oregon University’s main campus is currently open for classes and business.

For status updates call the EOU information line at 541-962-3844. The latest local forecast is available from the National Weather Service and the Weather Channel.

In the event of a weather related closure, the university’s Inclement Weather Policy will go into action and faculty, students, staff and local agencies will be notified.