2013 commencement coverage

Approximately 460 students participated in Eastern Oregon University’s formal 2013 Commencement Ceremony on June 15, representing 60 percent of the total number of graduates anticipated this year. View a sampling of memorable photos and watch footage of the entire event at the links below.

Photo album 

Archived video stream

Watch live streaming video from eousports at livestream.com

Campus radio station marks 40th anniversary with music festival and DJ reunion

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Courtney Millsap | KEOL DJ Reunion Coordinator
503-302-7363 | millsac2@eou.edu

Click image to view flier.

June 25, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - Union County’s free-form radio station, 91.7 FM KEOL, is celebrating a milestone and everyone is invited to the party July 12-13.

It’s called KEOL Fest and is part of Crazy Days this year. Performances by 25 bands and a disc jockey reunion will be rolled into one amped-up weekend marking four decades of independent broadcasting by Eastern Oregon University’s campus radio station.

Exclusive events are planned for current and former KEOL DJ’s including a private concert, meet-and-greet, keynote speakers, barbecue, guest shows and an after party.

The KEOL Club is teaming up with station management, La Grande Main Street and the Union County Timber Cruisers for the festival.

“This will be the first DJ reunion and also the first big concert series the station has organized,” said EOU student Courtney Millsap, who is coordinating the reunion.

Millsap said there are hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals who have been campus DJ’s over the years.

“We want to reach out and make connections to ensure KEOL stays here for a long time.”

Millsap is the secretary for the recently revived KEOL Club, which formed prior to the establishment of the radio station itself in 1973. While the two entities are separate, they run parallel paths toward the same goal of keeping KEOL on the air.

Paul Wheaton, Jack Kemp, Mark Masterson and Jenifre Tarkus are among the names many alumni will recognize. Their collective involvement with the station spans generations.

Wheaton is a figure in the permaculture community and Kemp now works at Oregon State University’s station, KBVR. Both are confirmed keynote speakers for the reunion. Masterson is the community liaison for the station and Tarkus is KEOL’s longtime music director.

“In order to be viable on campus, we have to be viable in the community,” said Rocky Gothard, station manager. “KEOL Fest is one way we’re showing support for the region. Bringing more people to town brings more dollars and businesses will benefit.”

Gothard, who is booking the bands, said to expect a “true music festival” with options that will appeal to diverse audiences and include a mix of local and national talent.

“I picked the music for La Grande, not for myself,” he explained. “It’s independent and eclectic, ranging from jug band to experimental folk, thrash metal to good old-fashioned rock and roll.”

General admission passes are $25 and available to purchase at KEOL, Benchwarmers Pub and Grill and The Hobby Habit. Other outlets include Betty’s Books in Baker City, KWVR Radio in Enterprise, Great Pacific Wine and Coffee Co. in Pendleton and Miss Willie’s in Hermiston.

DJ’s attending the reunion can get festival passes for just $15 through KEOL directly. RSVP’s are requested to Millsap at millsac2@eou.edu or Gothard at gotharr@eou.edu.

For more information on the reunion and a festival schedule, visit www.facebook.com/KEOLDJReunion or call the station at 541-962-3698.


Submitted photo/More than a dozen current and former EOU students, faculty and staff are involved with a unique production opening June 21-22 in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

Celebrate summer solstice with “The Dark Side of the Moon”

Source contact: Roger Barnes
541-786-1773 | rogerbarnes@legacydirect.com

June 12, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - The first weekend of summer brings an opportunity to experience Pink Floyd’s iconic album, “The Dark Side of the Moon,” in a whole new way.

Eastern Oregon University presents a musical showcase of the British avant-garde group June 21-22. The event includes a video perspective of modern life in eastern Oregon, with images inspired by themes addressed in the music.

Show times are 7:30 and 11 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

“If you are a music fan, don’t miss this event!” said Roger Barnes, co-producer of the event. “If you aren’t familiar with the music, but are a fan of living in eastern Oregon or just enjoy a show, don’t miss it either!” 

Barnes said the project initially began with a brainstorming session between a few friends and quickly grew into a full-scale production with the help of more than a dozen current and former EOU students, faculty and staff.

Graduating senior EOU vocal student Holly Sorensen joins Barnes as co-producer. She’ll be performing a rendition of “The Great Gig in the Sky” which promises to be a highlight of the program.

“One goal of the project is to bring community members and visitors together for a brief moment of introspection into the idea that regardless of our separate walks of life, we are all on the same path with the same conflicts, trials and occasional triumphs,” Barnes said.

The other primary goal of the show is to raise funds for EOU’s music and theatre departments to use in developing future productions, and all ticket sales go directly to the cause. 

General admission is $10. Tickets are available at the EOU Bookstore on campus, the Mountaineer Market at 1008 Adams Ave., Benchwarmers Pub and Grill and The Longbranch. 

Tickets may also be purchased online at www.eoudarkside.org via a secure server courtesy of the EOU Foundation. Select “Tickets” from the main links menu and then click the EOU logo to be taken to the payment portal.

2013 President’s Scholar & future educator Timmy Brown finds fulfillment with diverse set of degrees

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

June 11, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - What do mathematics, computer science and English have in common? They’ve been taken by storm by Timmy Brown who is earning bachelor’s degrees in all three fields from Eastern Oregon University this month.

Brown, of Summerville, is the 2013 EOU President’s Scholar. He will be honored during the university’s commencement activities June 14-15.

Five years ago when Brown submitted his sole college application, it was with a calculated sense of purpose. When he graduated at the top of his class at Imbler High School, he received a full-ride scholarship to attend his university of choice – EOU.

Intent on pursuing a degree in mathematics, Brown soon discovered his interests reached beyond numbers. By his second year of study he had settled on a combined math and computer science major, but was beginning to feel pulled in yet another direction. 

English became the third and final chapter in Brown’s undergraduate educational exploration. 

“I didn’t want to leave EOU with any regrets later on,” he said. “I always liked numbers and computer science is something practical, but I love reading, too.”

Having no regrets meant diving into two years of foreign language to satisfy the requirement for a bachelor’s of arts in English. Brown chose to study German and has become absorbed by the work of Swiss writer Peter Bichsel. He recently completed English translations for 14 of the author’s short stories for adults, a venture that was initially a bit of a whim.

“His stories are short and quirky, and I thought it would be a way to keep my language skills fresh over the summer,” he said.

The more time Brown spent translating, the more he enjoyed the work. In the process he discovered the only other English version of the collection is out of print. Thus, his third and final capstone project was born.

“The idea that I could potentially help open up an author like Bichsel, who is quite popular in his own country, to the rest of the world is worthwhile and exciting,” Brown said. 

Recent communication with a German publishing house points to the possibility of Brown’s translations appearing in print, and he plans to finish the final seven stories in the collection this summer.

“It means a lot that the publisher didn’t write me off because I’m only 22,” Brown said. “I’m not fluent in German by any means, but I’ve learned so much more about the language.”

Brown’s classes were with Regina Braker, professor of German and associate dean at EOU. She was delighted when he first approached her about the translations, and over the course of the project, they spent many hours discussing Bichsel’s writing.

“Timmy has been the best student by far through six terms of first and second-year German, yet his modest and unassuming manner supports others in their work in whatever way he can,” Braker said. “He is a true scholar.”

Brown has visited Germany, which is part of the reason he wanted to learn to speak the language. But the main attraction, he said, is his love of classical music and literature. 

“It’s great to finally understand parts of a German opera, for instance, or interpret references from one of my favorite authors.” 

Brown’s musical pursuits also go beyond appreciation as a listener. He is the piano accompanist at St. Mary’s Parish in Elgin, and took classes with Matt Cooper, professor of music at EOU. 

Audiences at Grande Ronde Symphony Orchestra performances may recognize him from delivering the pre-concert talks, an activity he has enjoyed for the past two years in addition to writing the program notes. He even taught an INTACT class at Eastern on the symphonies of Austrian composer Gustav Mahler. 

Ultimately, Brown draws the most enjoyment from playing his digital piano on his own terms – and time.

“No matter what is going on, I can always play piano,” he said. “It’s my most treasured hobby. Music does something for me that my academic majors can’t. It captures emotions and is universal…it unites people.” 

That human connection is what ultimately led to Brown’s “proudest moment” at EOU: helping other students as a math tutor and serving as a study session leader for calculus classes. Tutoring is also what solidified his desire to teach. 

“I didn’t originally want to follow the family path,” Brown said. His parents are both faculty members at EOU, and his aunt was also a teacher.

“Then I realized helping people get to where they want to be is what I like doing best. I want my career to be worthwhile and include direct interaction with people, especially now that technology is so prevalent in our lives.”

Brown submitted his application for graduate school to Portland State University with the same sense of purpose as when he applied to EOU. Not only was he accepted, he has been awarded an assistantship to complete his master’s of science in teaching of mathematics.

But before he leaves home, he’ll share another proud moment with his parents. All three will be on the field at Community Stadium for commencement June 15. His father Ray Brown is the recipient of EOU’s Distinguished Teaching Faculty Award and will lead the procession of students with Kris Olson, recipient of the Distinguished Administrative Faculty Award. 

His mother Mary Brown will participate both as an adjunct faculty member and graduate. She is completing a bachelor’s in mathematics this spring to accompany her master’s in education, which she also earned from EOU.

While Brown said he is sad to leave Eastern Oregon, he is equally excited for the next challenge to begin.

“Personal interactions with my professors and peers have prepared me to pursue a meaningful career in what I hope will be an environment much like what I experienced here,” he said. “I can’t say that I am ‘the best’ candidate for President’s Scholar, but I can say it is a reflection of my educational experience at EOU to be so honored.”

> Click here to watch the ceremony via livestream!

Students, families & friends celebrate 2013 commencement

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

June 7, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - Excitement is palpable the week of commencement with students, families and friends turning out to attend induction ceremonies, awards assemblies, receptions and rehearsals at Eastern Oregon University.

Activities begin at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 13 with Oregon Health & Science University’s Sigma Theta Tau Induction in the Hoke Union Building, Room 309. OHSU will induct 14 students to the International Honor Society of Nursing this year.

Friday morning begins with the commencement rehearsal, followed by the 32nd annual OHSU Convocation and Awards Ceremony at 10 a.m. in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall.

At 11 a.m., the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Tau Delta will induct 46 students, two faculty members and one staff member. The event includes a reception in the Hoke Union Building, Room 309.

EOU’s annual Student Awards Assembly begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday in McKenzie Theatre with a reception in the Loso lobby. A total of 60 awards, including 37 academic honors, will be presented to undergraduates of all levels and disciplines.

Friday at 5 p.m. is a function for off-campus graduates and their families in the Gilbert Center adjacent to Ackerman Hall.

EOU photo by Laura Hancock/President Bob Davies will confer degrees June 15. Approximately 460 students are participating in the formal ceremony that starts at 10 a.m. at Community Stadium.

The culminating event takes place Saturday morning when roughly 460 students march onto the field at Community Stadium for the formal 2013 Commencement Ceremony.

The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at the stadium located at 6th St. and “G” Ave. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Guests should arrive early and bring sunscreen, water and a hat or umbrella. Free parking is available for the day in all campus lots, excluding reserved spaces.

Students walking represent 60 percent of the total number of graduates anticipated this year. EOU will confer an estimated 640 bachelor’s degrees, 103 master’s degrees, eight certificates and seven associate’s degrees, pending completion of final grades for spring and summer terms.

EOU’s President’s Scholar is Timmy Brown, of Summerville, who will give the keynote address to the graduating class.

Other scheduled speakers include EOU President Bob Davies and Oregon University System Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategies Karen Marrongelle.

Performing the National Anthem is senior Holly Sorensen. Emily and Erin Rufener will sing the Alma Mater.

Following the conferring of degrees, guests will continue the celebration at a reception on the northwest lawn of the stadium.

Loveland Funeral Chapel and the Union County Victim Impact Panel will provide a designated driver offering free rides within La Grande and Island City from 10 p.m. Saturday to 2:30 a.m. Sunday. Goss Motor Company and Legacy Auto Group are donating vehicles. Call 541-963-5022 for more information.

Additional details, schedules and visitor information are available at www.eou.edu/commencement. Family or guests requiring special seating accommodations for the ceremony should contact Kris Olson in the Provost’s Office at 541-962-3511.

“The Yellow Boat” relates young boy’s remarkable voyage

Contact: Kenn Wheeler | Associate Professo of Theatre
541-962-3318 | kwheeler@eou.edu

June 4, 2013
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – David Saar’s touching play, “The Yellow Boat,” opens as the final production of the EOU theatre season June 6-8.

An affirmation of one child’s life and the strength and courage of all children, this dramatization is based on the true story of David and Sonja Saar’s son, Benjamin, who was born with congenital hemophilia and died in 1987 at the age of eight of AIDS-related complications.

Senior directing student, Audra Hughes, steers seven actors with Daniel Wagner leading the cast as Benjamin. Other cast members include Joshua Byers, Joshua Cornwell, Jessica Desclos, Jacob Mitchell, Jeanie Nickel and Jade Schiller.

A uniquely gifted visual artist, Benjamin’s buoyant imagination transformed his physical and emotional pain into a blaze of colors and shapes in his fanciful drawings and paintings.

A Scandinavian folksong tells of three little boats: “One was blue, one was red and one was yellow as the sun. They sailed far out to sea. The blue one returned to the harbor. The red one sailed home, too. But the yellow boat sailed up to the sun.”

The song was a bedtime ritual in the Saar home and Benjamin always concluded by saying, “Mom, you can be the red boat or the blue boat, but I am the yellow boat.”

Benjamin’s remarkable voyage continues to touch audiences around the world.

The scenery is designed by Bryn McLaughlin and Daniel Wagner, with costumes by Hayley Powell, sound design by Joshua Cornwell and properties by Caleb Stavenger. Julianna Humphreys serves as the production stage manager with Kelsy Carson as makeup/hair designer and Matt Bloodgood as lighting designer.

Performances start at 7 each evening in Schwarz Theatre in Loso Hall. Tickets are $5 for general admission and there are just 360 tickets available. Reserve tickets by calling the EOU Theatre Box Office at 541-962-3757.