Breaking Ground Faith Festival supports Haven from Hunger

Contact: Will Bowman | President, EOU Cornerstone Christian Community
907-978-3313 |

May 31, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. - EOU’s Cornerstone Christian Community will host a Breaking Ground Faith Festival, June 7-8, in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

The free event begins at 7 each night and is open to both EOU students and community members.

Participants will use music and writing to showcase and relate their personal experiences with God. The event will feature local bands “Word of Life,” “Forgiven” and “Nameless,” plus poetry by William Bowman, original music by Sam Ragsdale and Landen Reddington, and more.

“The gospel isn’t something that just happened in the past,” said Bowman, Cornerstone president. “It’s something that happens every day ⎯ in people’s lives, in my life, in other EOU students’ lives ⎯ and we want to recount God’s grace through the artistic mediums that we study and enjoy to the EOU and Eastern Oregon communities we love.”

The festival also has another purpose. Cornerstone is partnering with MESA (Mission for Environmental and Social Awareness) to support Haven from Hunger, a service learning and community development project at EOU.

Donations of nonperishable food items or sundries (soap, laundry detergent, dish soap, sponges, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) will be accepted at the door.

“James 1:31 tells us that the Christian gospel isn’t just words,” Bowman said. “We want this event to be both about speaking the word and living it, right here in La Grande.”

Bowman said the event is non-denominational/all-denominational, and open to Christians and non-Christians alike.

“Breaking Ground is an example of a diverse group in our community coming together for one purpose, to give glory to God through worship…and the testimony of those who have experienced his great love,” said Mark and Lea Emerson.

The Emersons coordinate the Word of Life church that meets on Sundays at the “K” House adjacent to campus. They are also members of the worship team that will be attending the festival.

The two-night event will alternate between personal stories and artistic performances. An optional 30 minute worship and response session will conclude the festival.

Photos by Angela Gorham/Agriculture science majors from left, Cassidy Corrigan, Emery Gentry and Gabe White explain irrigation systems to a group of fourth and fifth-grade students participating in Ag Day at EOU May 13.

Union County students get hands-on intro to agriculture

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

The Cove FFA chapter brought this calf and two pigs to campus for the day.

May 31, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - More than 300 elementary students know more about where their food comes from after participating in Ag Day, an event that brings area fourth and fifth-graders to EOU’s campus each spring.

Marveling at trick roping demonstrations and savoring some ice cream were definite high points, but Ag Day provides a much broader, contextual primer to agricultural practices.

“Our goal is to help students learn about agriculture, natural resources and most importantly, college,” said Jeff Sherman, instructor and advisor with Oregon State University’s Agriculture Sciences program at EOU. “We want then to understand where their food comes from and also be comfortable on ‘their’ campus.”

Classes from La Grande, Imbler, Elgin and Union elementary schools were involved. Angela Gorham, administrative program assistant with OSU, has children who participated.

“Students see how agriculture impacts their everyday lives,” Gorham said. “The kids were really engaged, understood the concepts and they all cheered at the chance to try roping.”

A calf, two pigs and a dog, named Bruce, welcomed children’s attention at a petting zoo in the quad. Troughs of water and tubes simulated a flood irrigation system. The U.S. Forest Service provided a close-up look at one of their wildland firefighting vehicles. Students even made “living seed” necklaces and chia pets to take home and watch grow.

EOU and OSU students took the lead on the activities. Many are members of the Collegiate FFA and Ag and Young Cattlemen’s Association. La Grande and Cove high school FFA groups also pitched in.

“Ag Day was a lot of fun,” said Hannah Mears, a first-year student majoring in biochemistry at EOU. “It’s a good way to introduce how important agriculture is to these young kids. They may not have grown up in a situation where they know how we get the majority of our food.”

EOU student Hannah Mears shares trivia about the dairy industry.

Mears shared her knowledge of dairy science with participants, including the most popular dairy cow breeds and what they produce – like ice cream – which, to the students’ delight, was part of her presentation.

Elizabeth Ferge, Collegiate FFA president, said Ag Day plays a large part in the club’s mission.

“Bringing in fourth and fifth-grade students from different Union County schools is part of our outreach,” Ferge said. “It was a huge success and the club is very excited for next year and working on making it bigger and better.”

Collegiate FFA is not exclusive to agriculture science majors and there is diversity of interests among the 20 or so students involved this year. Ferge, a junior in the elementary education program at EOU, is an example.

The Ag and Young Cattlemen’s Association numbers are around 25 and there is some overlap in membership between the two groups.

“We work very closely with the other agricultural clubs and a lot of the things we do wouldn’t be possible without that relationship,” Ferge continued.

Sherman and Gorham agree that Ag Day is advantageous to college and elementary level students alike.

“The benefit for EOU and OSU students is the experience of educating another generation on their way of life and the passion they have for agriculture and natural resources,” Sherman said.

“Many of our Collegiate FFA members plan to teach high school agriculture, where learning is experiential and hands-on in nature. For some, this may be their first teaching experience and we hope they stick with it.” 

> View more photos from Ag Day!

Artistic talent across disciplines displayed for juried exhibition

Henrik Soerensen’s “Patchwork” mixed media sculpture took Best of Show in last year’s exhibition. Soerensen is graduating from EOU and will attend the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art next year.

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

May 24, 2013
– The annual “All-Campus Juried Student Exhibition” featuring work by EOU students across disciplines opens Friday, May 31 in Nightingale Gallery. A reception is planned from 6-8 p.m. with presentation of awards occurring at 6:30 in the gallery in Loso Hall.

Daniel Forbes, director of the Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College is the juror this year. He has designed, installed and curated over 200 exhibitions for commercial and academic galleries in Washington and Oregon. His studio practice explores the complicated territories of gender, identity, psychology, ritual, fetishism and the extraordinary body. His work has appeared in numerous solo and group shows throughout the Northwest and U.S.

Learn more about Forbes’ work during a public presentation at 6 p.m. May 28 in Zabel Hall, Room 101.

Forbes will choose several student pieces to be recognized with cash awards. EOU’s art faculty will also make selections for the third annual Kathelene Galloway Memorial Scholarship and the fourth annual Joseph Dickerson Memorial Award.

The Kathelene Galloway Memorial Scholarship is a $500 award presented to a sophomore or junior level art major exhibiting exemplary technical and conceptual skill. Galloway was a professor of printmaking and drawing at EOU for over a decade before she died in 2009.

“Kathelene was a highly dedicated and much loved artist, teacher and colleague, and was a passionate advocate for her students, art, artists and EOU,” said Cory Peeke, director of Nightingale Gallery and associate professor of art. “She lived to share knowledge and the wonder that comes with discovery, exemplifying the excellence to which we encourage our students to endeavor.”

The Joseph Dickerson Memorial Award honors an EOU freshman killed in an automobile accident in 2009. Joe’s parents Doug and Kyla Dickerson made a gift to the EOU art program following their tremendous loss.

“Joe was a model student whose creative energy and enthusiasm for learning was infectious,” Peeke said. “In light of this, the art program chose to use the funds so generously given by the Dickersons to endow an award in their son’s name to be presented annually to a student who the faculty feels best exemplifies Joe’s dedication, curiosity and creative spirit. “

The exhibition will be on display through June 14. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information visit or “Like” the gallery on Facebook.

EOU music department presents end-of-year concerts

EOU file photo/Jazz Ensemble

Contacts: Peter Wordelman | Professor of Music
541-962-3352 |
Matt Cooper | Professor of Music
541-962-3559 |
Teun Fetz | Associate Professor of Music
541-962-3105 |

May 23, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Eastern Oregon University Jazz and Percussion ensembles, Women’s and Chamber choirs will perform end-of-year concerts May 28, 30 and 31.

Hear the Jazz Ensemble and Women’s Choir at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Groth Recital Hall, Room 126 in Loso Hall.

The program features combined performances of two standards, “Fly Me to the Moon” and “All of Me.” In addition, the Jazz Ensemble will perform instrumental repertoire associated with the bands of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock and the Modern Jazz Quartet.

The Jazz Ensemble is directed by Matt Cooper, professor of music, and the Women’s Choir by Mike Frasier, music instructor.

Admission is free with donations accepted at the door to benefit musical activities at EOU. For more information, call Cooper at 541-962-3559.

EOU photo by Tessa Ortmann / Chamber Choir members perform in the “Totally 80′s Rewind” production earlier this year.

The university’s Chamber and Women’s choirs will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Sponsored by Koza Family Dental, P.C., the concert features many singers who are seniors in what will be their last performance before graduating.

The 30-member Women’s Choir, founded by Frasier in 2005, will begin the program with two jazz pieces, “All Of Me” and “Fly Me To The Moon,” accompanied by the EOU Jazz ensemble.

The Women’s Choir will also perform “Gate, Gate,” a setting of a Buddhist mantra with piano accompaniment by Mio Aoike, music resource faculty member, and “Koowu,” a song that uses the Palestinian word for strength as the basis for its text.

The 46-member Chamber Choir, under the leadership of Peter Wordelman, professor of music, has distinguished itself over the years as a leader in the programming and performance of creative and multicultural choral literature. Their selections will include the contemporary pieces “Sleep” by Eric Whitacre and “No Time” arranged by Susan Brumfield, along with multicultural pieces “Dance of Zalongo,” “Zikr” and “Balleilaikka” which represent the cultures of Greece, Pakistan and India.

The program also features a combined performance of “Lamentations of Jeremiah” conducted by EOU graduate Jonathan Davidson, who recently received an assistantship in conducting at the University of New Mexico.

For a change of pace, the men of the Chamber Choir will be highlighted for two numbers, “Prayer of the Children” and the Barbershop harmony inspired “Fat Bottomed Girls.”

The women of the Chamber Choir will also join forces with the Women’s Choir on Z. Randall Stroope’s setting of “Psalm 23,” accompanied by Aoike on piano, and students Caite Debevec on flute and Danny Bailey on oboe. The women will also be featured on a Sweet Adelines’ medley, “Diamonds.”

Admission to the concert is free with donations for the choral program accepted at the door. For more information contact Wordelman at 541-962-3352.

EOU file photo

Concluding the week of concerts is a performance from EOU’s Percussion Ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Friday in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Teun Fetz, associate professor of music, is the director of the ensemble featuring eight students playing dozens of percussion instruments.

The group will present pieces in a variety of styles from large ensemble works to trios, including some by Japanese composer Yosuke Nomoto. Familiar works include three classical pieces arranged for marimba: “Fugue in G Minor” by J.S. Bach, “Pizzicato Polka” by Johann Strauss, and “Danza Del Fuego” by Manuel deFalla. An arrangement of “Amazing Grace” by Lou De Lise complete their repertoire.

“This ensemble will bring intensity, precision and rhythmic drive to the music,” Fetz said.

As with the other events, admission is free with donations accepted at the door to benefit the program.


EOU campus is ready to go smoke & tobacco-free Sept. 15

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |
Source contact: Carrie Lane | EOU Student Health Center Clinical Director
541-962-3524 |

May 21, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The Student Health and Counseling Center at EOU is preparing now for a new smoke and tobacco-free policy going into effect this fall as a result of an executive order from Governor Kitzhaber.

All state-owned properties are required to implement similar policies by 2014. EOU’s guidelines will be in place Sept. 15, 2013, putting the university ahead of the curve when students return for the start of classes Sept. 30.

“Our focus is on education for the campus and community, to help build support among individuals who can carry the message back to fellow students, coworkers and others,” said Carrie Lane, clinical director at the university’s Student Health Center.

Ongoing activities promoting awareness are part of the outreach strategy, including observance of World No Tobacco Day in conjunction with EOU’s Spring Fling on May 31.

Participants who relinquish a pack of cigarettes or a can of chew will receive a free turkey sandwich in celebration of giving up the habit “cold turkey.” Educational materials on the effects of tobacco and tips on cessation will be available, along with information about the new policy.

The Center For Human Development, Inc. (CHD) Tobacco Prevention Education Program is funding some promotional materials to assist the effort.

“EOU Kicks Butt & Chew Too,” “For The Health Of It,” and “Tobacco Free Campus Fall 2013” are among slogans circulating on T-shirts, posters and other items.

EOU’s athletic facilities and residence halls are already tobacco-free, and the policy will extend to include all campus buildings, property and grounds either controlled, leased or shared by the university. Smoking in private vehicles parked on university property will also be prohibited.

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes, betel nut and all other tobacco or related products will be prohibited from use. Violations will be handled in the same manner as with other EOU policies.

Smoking is currently permitted at a minimum distance of 10 feet from building entrances.

“We anticipate it will take time for the policy to become commonplace,” Lane said. “Long-term, the benefits of being a tobacco-free campus are significant and we’re increasing awareness and access to tobacco cessation resources for students and employees who want to quit.”

Many of these resources, including counseling, are available at no additional cost to students who have paid the health service fee. More funding is being sought to provide a complete 12-week cessation program for students, Lane said.

The Student Health Center can also make referrals to the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line, and other community resources. University employees have access to assistance through state-provided health insurance and can self-refer to the same resources.

The 18-member task force assembled to develop and implement the new policy includes EOU faculty, staff, students and community partners with the Oregon State University Agriculture Program, Oregon Health & Science University School of Nursing and CHD also represented.

“I appreciate all of the work on this effort that has been done by our faculty, staff and students,” said Bob Davies, EOU president. “They have worked tirelessly, not only in forwarding a policy, but also in communicating the goals and objectives of this effort and making sure everyone is aware of it and why it is being done.”

OHSU nursing students Cody Crow and Kara Lehman were instrumental in drafting the first version of the policy, and two recent nursing graduates researched how other schools have transitioned to being tobacco-free.

The University of Oregon and Oregon State University have also adopted tobacco and/or smoke-free policies before the deadline, according to Smokefree Oregon.

For more information, including frequently asked questions visit or call 541-962-3524.

Final colloquium of year looks at learning across disciplines

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

Ted Takamura, Ph.D.

May 21, 2013
– Ted Takamura, Ph.D., associate professor of business, is the guest speaker for the final colloquium of the academic year Thursday, May 23 at EOU.

Takamura’s presentation, “Student Learning Across Disciplines: Using Both Sides of the Brain,” 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. To be added to the colloquium mailing list call 541-962-3508.

Pride Week events bring students, community together for common cause

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

May 21, 2013

Click image to view schedule.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at EOU is gearing up for its annual Pride Week celebration Tuesday, May 28 through Saturday, June 1.

Guest speaker Erin Davies of the documentary “Fagbug” will set the tone for the week with a presentation at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Huber Auditorium in Badgley Hall, Room 102. EOU students, faculty, staff and area schools attend for free. General admission is $3.

On Wednesday at 5 p.m., a Charity Undie Run takes off from the campus quad. Participants arrive dressed in clothing to be donated to a homeless shelter in Portland serving LGBTQ youth. When the clothes come off, the run begins on the EOU track. Spectators are welcome, but participation is limited to EOU students and employees only. There is no charge.

Thursday at 4:30 p.m., the GSA invites everyone to a poster-making session in preparation for the Love Equality and Pride March set for Saturday. Meet in Badgley Hall, Room 144 and bring materials to make your own poster, or help others with theirs.

Later Thursday evening, a free showing of the movie “Bully” begins at 6 in Zabel Hall, Room 101. A discussion will follow.

Saturday at 9 a.m. the Love Equality and Pride March begins at the EOU quad and proceeds down 4th Street to Max Square, turning down Adams Ave. to Depot Street before heading to Washington Ave., then 6th Street and back to campus.

The march is open to all supporters of love, equality or LGBT individuals either marching with the GSA or as their own unit or group.

Activities conclude with a “Walk in Wonderland” themed GSA Prom at 8 p.m. Saturday in Ackerman Hall, Room 210. This Alice in Wonderland-inspired formal dance is free and open to all EOU students and their dates. Attendees must be 18 years old.

“I am looking forward to not only the fun events of Pride Week, but the educational ones as well, such as showing the film ‘Bully,’” said Jasmine Dixon, EOU freshman and GSA promotions manager. “I hope we have a great turnout of diverse people coming together for the same cause, including GSA and community members.”

For more information e-mail

New dean looks forward to growing business & education programs, strengthening community partnerships

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

May 15, 2013

Donald Easton-Brooks, Ph.D.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Donald Easton-Brooks, Ph.D., is the new dean of the colleges of business and education at Eastern Oregon University.

He comes to EOU from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., where he has been the associate dean of education and an associate professor since 2010. During that time he was also the interim director of Hamline’s Center for Excellence in Urban Teaching.

Easton-Brooks’ first day on campus is June 26, and he is excited to begin engaging in EOU’s work to serve its immediate region and beyond.

“I am looking forward to helping the colleges of business and education respond effectively to the needs of students, EOU and the communities we serve,” he said. “I feel that we can work well in partnership with our communities and assist them as they grow, both in the classroom and in their businesses.”

Easton-Brooks was selected following a national search that included on campus interviews and meetings with university students, faculty and staff. He replaces Dan Mielke, acting dean since 2011.

“The search committee did an outstanding job and I would like to thank all of them and express my appreciation for their efforts,” said Steve Adkison, provost and vice president for academic affairs at EOU.

“Dr. Easton-Brooks’ experience and leadership will be welcome additions to our colleges as we move ahead in our plans for EOU’s future. I am very much looking forward to having him and his family as members of the community,” Adkison said.

Easton-Brooks spent his early academic career at the University of Colorado Denver, where he completed a doctor of philosophy in educational leadership and innovation, and a master’s in early childhood special education. His dissertation is on using socioeconomic indicators to predict the academic outcomes of African American students.

He later taught at CU, the University of North Texas, Seattle Central Community College, Pacific Oaks College, also in Seattle, and with the public school systems in Aurora and Westminster, Colo.

Other positions include guest lecturer at Metropolitan State University of Denver, the University of Connecticut, where he was assistant dean and director of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Advisory Center, and the University of Rhode Island.

Easton-Brooks brings a philosophy of leadership through service to his new role at EOU.

“It is important to understand all the dimensions at play and facilitate opportunities to gain resources to help programs do what they do best, and that is serve students and the community,” he said. “As a leader, it is critical that I work with the colleges to address challenges and use their strengths to create opportunities for growth.”

Easton-Brooks is the founder and current president of Stats Assistance, a consulting firm. He said one of his top priorities is to ensure the colleges of business and education have “strong data-driven systems in place.”

His other areas of focus include continuing to provide quality programs on campus, online and onsite, and developing strong partnerships with schools and businesses in Eastern Oregon and other communities where EOU has a presence.

EOU Chemistry Club wins top award for outreach activities

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

May 15, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The chance to share scientific research with a captive audience of peers and professionals is an opportunity EOU Chemistry Club members get excited about.

A group of 19 students and five faculty each had their moment to do just that while attending the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans April 7-11.

More than 15,000 people were there. Kelsey Irish, an EOU senior from Sherwood majoring in biochemistry, was one of them.  She is part of a group using nuclear magnetic resonance to analyze alkaloids when dissolved in different solvents.

“The ACS is the largest professional society in the world, so presenting our research posters and being part of the meeting is a big deal,” Irish said.

But that’s not the only reason Irish and her fellow students had high spirits. The ACS selected EOU’s club as the only student-member chapter in Oregon to receive an Outstanding Award. Only 40 others garnered this top honor out of approximately 1,000 clubs from across the nation.

Submitted photos / Club members share inspiration during the Chem Demo Exchange at the national ACS meeting.

“We beat out Ivy League schools, which is pretty cool!” said Irish, who accepted the award on behalf of the club as its president.

When choosing recipients, the ACS looks at outreach activities during the previous academic year. EOU’s participation in a global water-monitoring project funded by the Division of Analytical Chemistry in 2011-12, in addition to ongoing youth programs like Saturday Science and Girls in Science, helped place the club at the forefront.

University students and faculty worked with six area elementary and middle school teachers and their classes for the water-monitoring project. They organized workshops and field trips, including one to test the water in Morgan Lake, providing a format for teachers to recreate.

“Getting kids excited about science is the goal of our youth outreach and chemistry awareness programs, and we’re also very community focused,” Irish said. “We do magic shows a lot. They’re the most exciting!”

By magic, Irish is referring to chemical reactions such as exploding hydrogen balloons or “elephant toothpaste,” a frothy substance created with dish soap, yeast and high-percentage hydrogen peroxide.

The club exhibited another crowd pleaser – combining sodium alginate, calcium chloride and a dash of food coloring to make edible gummy worms – for the Chem Demo Exchange, a program they participated in while at the ACS meeting.

“Our students were absolutely wonderful,” said Anna Cavinato, chemistry professor and club advisor. “The ACS does such a good job of involving undergraduates at the conference. They can network, look at different graduate schools and meet scientists in their field. It’s an eye-opener to the professional world.”

Membership in the Chemistry Club this year averages between 40-50 students. The 19 who went to New Orleans are also ACS members. EOU’s Student Senate and the Richland Section of the ACS funded a portion of their trip, with students raising additional money on their own.

Visit the Spring Symposium at EOU May 15 for an opportunity to learn more about the research these and other undergraduates are conducting across disciplines. For details see

EOU alumnus & area dentist featured for Health Speaker Series

Source: Kimberly Mueller | EOU Pre-Professional Health Liaison
541-962-3070 |

May 14, 2013

James McMahan, D.M.D.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – James G. McMahan, D.M.D., will be the next presenter for the EOU Health Speaker Series Thursday, May 16. Students and community members are invited to attend the free presentation at 6 p.m. in Badgley Hall, Room 102.

McMahan has practiced general dentistry in La Grande for more than 31 years. He graduated from Eastern Oregon State College in 1976 and from Oregon Health and Science University School of Dentistry in 1982.

In addition to operating his own practice, McMahan is active in the Oregon Dental Association and the Eastern Oregon Dental Society, serving as treasurer and president at various times. He currently serves as a board of director to the Oregon Dental Association. In 1994 he was awarded the Fellowship Award by the Academy of General Dentistry in recognition of commitment and achievement in continuing education.

McMahan has served as a volunteer oversees with Global Health Outreach medical and dental mission trips focusing on serving the poor, travelling to Nicaragua, Haiti and Ecuador. He also donates his time to Give Kids a Smile Day and the Oregon Mission of Mercy program, EOU Foundation and La Grande Rotary Club.

EOU and the Northeast Oregon Area Health Education Center launched 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.