Embrace the spirit of Cinco de Mayo with events all week long

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April 30, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The La Familia Club at Eastern Oregon University invites the campus community to join in a week-long celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War from 1861-1867, and has since evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.

Events will highlight history, artistry and delicacies of the Mexican people. A complete schedule follows below: 

    Movie Night & Discussion: A Better Life
    6 p.m. in Badgley Hall, Huber Auditorium
    Maternal Instincts: Portraits of Women in Oregon and Mexico
    Presented by: Professor Jessica Plattner
    4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210
    Game Night: Loteria (Mexican Bingo) and various arts & crafts
    6:30 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210
    Outdoor Barbecue & Dance
    BBQ starts @ 7:30 p.m. & Dance @ 9 p.m. at EOU Tennis Courts
    $4 per person for the BBQ and $3 admission to the dance
    *Carne Asada will be served at the BBQ

Jazz festival award signals more good things to come for young EOU guitarist

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu

April 29, 2013

Dale Tovar with his Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival trophy. The 16-year-old is a sophomore music student at EOU.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – In many ways Dale Tovar is a regular teenager, but a recent appearance at the 2013 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival substantiated a musical ability that exceeds his age.

Using a signature economy picking style, Tovar’s deft fingers laid out “Lady Bird” by Tadley Dameron, and “I Remember Clifford” by Benny Golson, for the audience and judges.

The performance garnered him the award for Outstanding Guitar Soloist in the University Division at the event in Moscow, Idaho in February.

In a sense, the honor is symbolic of Tovar’s progression from high school to college. It is the first award the 16-year-old has received since becoming a sophomore at Eastern Oregon University.

The soft-spoken guitarist knew his performance had gone well when a special invitation arrived.

“After the solo contest I was asked to play with Hamp’s Club,” Tovar said, “being invited as a member [of Hamp’s Club] was the award in my mind.”

The club is comprised of award-winners from the festival who join forces for a final performance the last night of the event. While Tovar’s departure schedule didn’t allow him to participate, he was honored just the same.

When the actual trophy arrived a few weeks later, Matt Cooper, professor of music at EOU, had the privilege of presenting it to him as a surprise.

“Dale is an outstanding young guitarist who plays fluently over some of the most difficult jazz tunes and chord changes,” Cooper said. “His ear and grasp of theory, and ability to quickly assimilate new material and incorporate it into his improvisations is stunning.”

It was Tovar’s older brother who sparked an interest in playing brass with the La Grande High School Jazz Band, but the first instrument he ever picked up was the violin.

Tovar returned to playing strings about four years ago, only this time it was the guitar and he excels in classical, seven-string jazz and eight-string electric.

Academically speaking, Tovar is currently the youngest person admitted to EOU as a full-time student. He has been taking college classes for the past two years and maintains a 3.96 GPA. Being homeschooled by his mother, Lyn Tovar, is what he believes prepared him to begin advanced study early.

By the time he turned 15, Tovar had already earned his high school diploma and completed all the college requirements in music theory, musicianship and pedagogy. Now he is on track to receive a bachelor’s of music from EOU in 2015.

While he holds these definite distinctions, Tovar still enjoys jamming with friends in their band, The Blue Shell, playing video games and other normal teenage diversions.

“I’m just a regular student,” he said.

Walking through the music department in Loso Hall, trophy in hand, several of Tovar’s peers called out with words of congratulations. Next fall he will head to the University of Utah on National Student Exchange and enroll exclusively in music courses before returning to EOU for his senior year.

Submitted photo / Next fall Tovar will head to the University of Utah on National Student Exchange and enroll exclusively in music courses before returning to EOU for his senior year.

Leaving home will be a big step for Tovar and his parents. His father, Anthony Tovar, has enjoyed close proximity as a member of EOU’s faculty. Though the courses he teaches are in mathematics and physics – fields he once hoped Dale would pursue – the professor’s enthusiasm is evident when it comes to his son’s passion for music.

“At age 11 and a half, when Dale was becoming more advanced and serious about music, we wanted him to be around people he could relate to and in the right setting,” Anthony said.

A couple of years later, the right setting turned out to be music 101 and a guitar course at EOU. Tovar enrolled as a non-admitted student, and in the beginning, Anthony sat alongside him in class. Soon he saw his son was not only able to excel but he was fitting in, something equally important.

“The senior students were very accepting and that meant a lot to both Dale and me,” he said. “It was also the first step toward enrolling him at EOU half-time.”

With the beginning of his junior year in sight, Anthony and Lyn are helping Dale start planning for graduate school. An audition at Julliard tops their list, and ultimately he yearns to be on stage with his guitar.

“I would really like to be a performer,” Tovar said. “It’s a lot of fun and I don’t get nervous at all.”

This easygoing approach was cultivated when he was learning the violin. Tovar performed all around town, from grocery stores to restaurants, as a member of the fiddle group lead by area music teacher Carla Arnold.

Playing shows with the EOU Jazz Ensemble and his own band are fueling the fire, as are interactions with Cooper and others at the university. Tovar is currently studying under Leandro Espinosa, associate professor of music, and Luke McKern.

Through camps and workshops Tovar also gained exposure to multiple acclaimed guitarists including John Stowell, who recently visited EOU to conduct a clinic with students. Stowell even asked Tovar to play with him impromptu for a performance he and Cooper staged a local venue.

“Dale is ambitious and dedicated to his craft, and has a very good chance of making a career as a professional musician,” Cooper said. “Stay tuned for more of him in the future!”

Indian Arts Festival Spring Powwow is a celebration of diversity

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Jackie Leno Grant | Advisor, Speel-Ya Native American Student Council
541-962-31541 | jgrant@eou.edu

April 29, 2013 

Photo by Trent Manns

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The Indian Arts Festival Spring Powwow is happening in May at EOU and the university is ready to welcome dancers and drummers, artisans and vendors, families and spectators to the anticipated event.

Traditionally held over Mother’s Day weekend, the festival and powwow will occur a little later this year with activities taking place May 17-18 in Quinn Coliseum and the Gilbert Center on campus. Activities are family-friendly and free and open to the public.

The Friendship Feast, Speel-Ya Run, Health Fair and Donation Raffle are all part of the celebration. Grand Entries are at 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday in Quinn.

Sign up for the run at 8 a.m. Saturday in the northwest corner of EOU’s Community Stadium. Registration is $10 for students and $15 for community members.

The awards ceremony, barbecue and Health Fair will take place at 11 a.m. following the run, and the Friendship Feast will be served in the Gilbert Center Saturday evening at 5.

Arts and crafts vendors will be set up both days with a variety of items available to purchase including American Indian style flutes, and beaded and wire-wrapped jewelry.

In addition to the regular lineup of social and competitive dancing, a Men’s Round Bustle Special and a hand drum contest will also offer participants an opportunity to earn extra cash prizes.

“Though a lot of the dancing is contemporary, it’s an expression of old traditions and brings together new and old styles, enabling people to get together and have fun,” said Katie Harris, secretary of the Speel-Ya Native American Student Council at EOU.

Serving as Host Drum this year is Heart Breakers from Boise. Several of the drums from past years are also returning to participate.

Thomas Morning Owl is the Master of Ceremonies, representing the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

“The powwow allows students and community members to view and participate in American Indian culture, traditions and taste native foods,” said Shoshoni Walker, Speel-Ya vice president. “Diversity is a wonderful thing, and continuing traditions like the powwow allow it to thrive.”

The Associated Students of EOU, EOU Student Fee Committee, Speel-Ya, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Cultural Coalition, EOU Foundation, EOU Vending Committee, Eastern Promise and many in-kind donations support the event.

For more information visit www.eou.edu/powwow or call Jackie Leno Grant, Speel-Ya advisor, at 541-962-3141.

Bringing innovative agribusiness education to Hermiston and Columbia Gorge region

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu

EOU courses offered at the Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center will provide training to support a burgeoning industry. For more information visit www.eou.edu/hermiston.

April 24, 2013
 - Initial courses aimed at a future new academic concentration will bring students and industry together at the Eastern Oregon Higher Education Center this fall.

Offered by Eastern Oregon University, course programming seeks to meet employment needs by plugging into the region’s dominant economic driver: agribusiness.

Laura Gow-Hogge, Ph.D., a consultant with EOU’s College of Business, conducted an in-depth assessment of the higher education and workforce needs in the Hermiston area. What emerged through many interviews and focus groups was a prevalent lack of specific curriculum and training to support a burgeoning industry.

“Trends in world-wide population growth indicate food production must double by the year 2050,” Gow-Hogge said, “so agribusiness is poised to explode.”

Taking an industry-focused approach, EOU’s new programming combines courses like international business and marketing with public policy and food safety, human resource and risk management as they relate to the local and global food supply chain.

“Employers want to hire individuals who already know these things and can hit the ground running,” Gow-Hogge said.

Because internships and hands-on learning are critical components, the university is reaching out to area employers to work with program faculty to help shape the curriculum. In the pilot phase, two credit courses will be available in a flexible format combining online, onsite and live delivery at the Higher Education Center.

Steve Clements, associate dean of business at EOU, believes breaking from the traditional five-credit model of other business courses will increase accessibility for students who are already working in agribusiness and seeking additional training.

“This is another opportunity to be more innovative with the structure and delivery of our courses,” Clements said.

Part of that innovation means leveraging technology, something EOU has been doing for years. Synchronous courses using video conferencing are available at the university’s centers across the state, with other programs offered face-to-face or through a mix of face-to-face and online instruction.

“Providing educational options that are both accessible and affordable is a big part of our commitment to serving the needs of the region,” Clements added.

Clements also said EOU is hoping to augment programs offered by Blue Mountain Community College and Columbia Basin College, and create a “seamless transition” for students seeking to transfer to a four-year school. Further collaboration may include Oregon State University’s Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

Jacelyn Keys has been working at the Higher Education Center since it opened in September 2011. As EOU’s local advisor, Keys is currently assisting 250 students; 146 are from Hermiston, Irrigon, Heppner, Stanfield, Echo and Umatilla.

While business is of predominant interest, EOU offers 380 possible liberal studies degree combinations in addition to multiple majors and minors available completely online, ranging from history to psychology.

EOU’s MBA program is also offered through hybrid delivery at the center, similar to other locations in Prineville, Eugene and Ontario.

For more information on the agribusiness courses and other EOU programs in Hermiston, contact Keys at 541-289-2840 or visit www.eou.edu/hermiston.

See www.eou.edu/advising/regional-centers for a list of the university’s regional center locations throughout the state.

How “messing around” informs problem-solving for budding engineers

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu

April 22, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - Carol Lauritzen, Ph.D., professor of education, looks inside the minds of engineers for the next colloquium Thursday, April 25 at EOU.

Lauritzen’s research poses the following questions: What are students learning about engineering, a new requirement in the K-12 curriculum; and if teachers haven’t been prepared in the principles of engineering, how can they give students an accurate portrayal of this discipline?

For insights into these questions, engineers were interviewed about the essential nature of engineering and how they came to pursue the career. The engineers provided specific descriptions of their discipline and also took informed positions about the appropriate experiences for K-12 students. They found “messing around” to be essential for budding engineers. The results of the interviews provide new insights into the early experiences that can lead students into careers in engineering.

Lauritzen’s presentation begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210. It is free and open to the public. A reception with question and answer session will follow.

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

Day of service, toiletry drive benefits Shelter from the Storm

Contact: Heather Tomlinson | PCSW Co-Chair
541-962-3242 | htomlins@eou.edu

April 19, 2013
– Two university groups committed to women’s issues are coming together in support of the area’s domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center.

The President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) and the Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) at EOU are organizing a day of service for Shelter from the Storm.

Volunteers are being sought to work at the shelter from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday, April 27.

“The inaugural day of service aims to engage EOU students, faculty and staff in working together with community members and organizations to promote the well-being of women and girls in our region,” said Tawnya Lubbes, PCSW secretary and assistant professor of education.

“The PCSW and WRRC strongly support Shelter from the Storm’s efforts to increase awareness of violence against women and provide advocacy and services to survivors of abuse,” Lubbes added.

Participants can sign up at the WRRC spring book sale April 25-27 in the Hoke Union Building, Room 309, or meet at the shelter office at 1111 5th Street at 9 a.m. the day of the event.

Work may involve cleaning, so appropriate clothing is recommended. The shelter will provide all necessary supplies.

The day of service is being organized this year in lieu of the PCSW’s longstanding Women of Vision and Courage Awards Ceremony. Presentation of awards will resume during even numbered years beginning in 2014.

The PCSW is also collecting travel-sized toiletries for the shelter through the remainder of the month. Drop boxes are currently located in the main office areas in all campus buildings and will also be available at the book sale.

Shelter from the Storm offers both immediate and long-term assistance to victims/survivors and their families. All shelter services are free of charge and available daily.

For questions about volunteering or participating in the toiletry drive, contact Heather Tomlinson, PCSW co-chair and assistant professor of theatre, at 541-962-3242 or e-mail htomlins@eou.edu.

Students share success of SAFE Zone program at Power of One Conference

Contact: Bennie Moses | Multicultural Center Director, EOU
541-962-3741 | bmoses@eou.edu

April 19, 2013

Ikaika Alapa’i

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Multicultural Center at EOU is helping to send four students to the Power of One Conference at Boise State University, April 26-28. 

Ikaika Alapa’i, Austin Saunders, Kodi Riebling and Sarah Pedersen will represent the university and give a presentation on “How to create a SAFE Zone on your campus.”

The SAFE Zone program was instituted at EOU in 2012 and currently operates under the umbrella of the Multicultural Center. Alapa’i led the creation and implementation of the program during his term as co-president for the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), with assistance from the GSA advisor and director of the Counseling Center.

“I am proud that I had a hand in creating and implementing such a crucial program which has really changed our campus climate by making it more inclusive to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities,” said Alapa’i, who received funding from the Stanton-Webb Founders’ Scholarship program to cover his conference registration.

“I am also honored to present this topic at a Northwest regional conference in order to promote social change and empower others who would like to create a similar program, or improve current offerings on their campuses.”

Austin Saunders

Saunders is the GSA secretary and Riebling is a GSA member. Pedersen serves on the Student Council for Multicultural Affairs, as does Alapa’I, who is also a student staff member at the Multicultural Center.

Kodi Riebling

Together, the EOU group will cover the creation and implementation of the SAFE Zone program, the types of educational materials and activities utilized in the training and the importance of being an ally to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) community. Other schools will also be invited to share what they have done with their programs.

Sarah Pedersen

Power of One is designed to encourage and empower LGBTQ college students, their allies, and the faculty and staff who support them. Content seeks to enrich students’ lives and promote healthy and safe communities on campuses and in society. The event is supported and recognized as part of the National Association of Student Affairs Professionals LGBTQA leadership conference.

Learn more about EOU’s SAFE Zone program at http://eou.orgsync.com/org/multiculturalcenter/safezone.

Ars Poetica welcomes swordsman-poet Joshua McKinney

Contact: David Axelrod | Ars Poetica Lecture Series at EOU
541-962-3585 | daxelrod@eou.edu

Photos by Anita Scharf / Poet Joshua McKinney reads at EOU Apr. 25.

April 18, 2013
 - Hear visiting poet and student of the Eastern sword Joshua McKinney read from his new collection “Mad Cursive,” Thursday, Apr. 25 in the Pierce Library Reference Room at EOU.

The reading starts at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. A book signing will follow.

“Mad Cursive” is McKinney’s third collection of poetry published in 2012. Called “truly courageous” and “elegant” by Claudia Keelan, author of “Missing Her,” the book explores the line between beauty and destruction.

D.A. Powell, author of “Useless Landscape,” says of the collection, “McKinney’s gentle-edged Taoist generosity is exceedingly redemptive, assuring, pointing us skyward and crying, ‘look.’ Here is a poet who has earned the title of ‘master.’”

McKinney studied kendo and swordsmanship while living in Japan.

McKinney sees his poetry and swordsmanship as parallel disciplines, each concerned primarily with “beauty and the asymptomatic perfection of spirit.” Born in Iowa, he spent much of his early life in California. After completing his master’s in the teaching of writing, he moved to Japan to study kendo and East Asian swordsmanship. During that time he taught conversational English to cover his living expenses.

Currently he is a professor of English at California State University in Sacramento, teaching literature and creative writing, and serving as creative writing coordinator.

McKinney’s two previous books of poetry, “Saunter” and “The Novice Mourner,” brought him acclaim as co-winner of the University of Georgia Press Poetry Series Open Competition in 2002, and recipient of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize in 2005. Other honors include The Dickinson Poetry Prize and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Writing. He is also a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

McKinney’s poems have appeared in over 100 national journals such as “American Letters & Commentary,” “Boulevard,” “Colorado Review,” “Ploughshares” and “Prairie Schooner.”

Annual spring book sale supports EOU Women’s Center

Contact: Alyssa Gurney, Director of the Women’s Research and Resource Center
541-962-3021 | womenscenter@eou.edu

EOU file photo / The WRRC book sale is April 25-27. Audio/visual material will also be available to purchase this year.

April 17, 2013
 - The Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) at EOU is holding their annual spring book sale featuring a wide range of volumes for all ages, as well as audio and visual selections.

The sale begins with an early bird special Thursday, April 25. For a $5 admission fee, shoppers can browse tables in the Hoke Union Building, Room 309 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. After that, it’s free admission from 1 to 6 p.m. The sale continues Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Books will be sold for $1 per inch and audio/visual materials will go for 50 cents per inch.  Proceeds benefit the WRRC, which is dedicated to providing a safe place for women to access services and education. The WRRC also promotes awareness and understanding of women’s and gender issues at EOU and in the community.

For more information contact Alyssa Gurney, WRRC director, at womenscenter@eou.edu or 541-962-3021 or Nancy Knowles, WRRC advisor, at nknowles@eou.edu or 541-962-3795.

Senior EOU art students exhibit works inspired by nature

Contact: Cory Peeke | Nightingale Gallery Director, EOU
541-962-3584 | cpeeke@eou.edu

April 15, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The second in a series of exhibitions featuring the work of senior EOU art students opens in Nightingale Gallery with a reception from 6-8 p.m., Friday, April 26.


Matt Orthmann, Jake Wilcox and Amanda Yates all create work based in nature and concerned with the misdirection of the audience, thus the title of their exhibit: “The Nature of Deception.” 

“This exhibit will showcase their investigation of these ideas and they invite the community to participate in that exploration,” said Cory Peeke, associate professor of art and gallery director at EOU.

Orthmann is a blacksmith, and using his skills at the forge, he explores bringing elements of nature to life in the medium of steel. His functional sculptures question the relationship of the artist and craftsman. His pieces examine how the aggressive creative process of working with fire and twisted metal in the forge can create beauty, delicacy and functionality.

Wilcox is a sculptor who grew up learning how to be prepared for any situation. As a boy scout, he learned the importance of survival and uses this as a reoccurring theme in his art. Exhibited as installations, his handcrafted functional furniture pieces each contain surprising secret compartments. These hidden elements question ideas of paranoia and protection, while recurrently expressing his need to be prepared.

Yates is a painter from Lakeview. She grew up seeing death and decomposition in the natural world and uses these themes as inspiration for her work. Her large paintings question our perception of violence in nature and in the media. Influenced by the news, television, Internet and videogames, her works depict vicious scenes of animal cruelty and war, and examine the fundamental reasons for such conflicts, as well as the horrific beauty of the violence itself.

“The Nature of Deception” will run through May 10 in Nightingale Gallery located in Loso Hall on the EOU campus. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information visit www.eou.edu/art/nightingale-gallery or www.facebook.com/NightingaleGallery.