2014 confab header

Student-led workshops, guest speaker encourage confab participants to break out of their shells

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Le Alexander | Interim Director, Student Involvement
541-962-3714 | lalexand@eou.edu

March 31, 2014

Kristen Hadeed

Keynote speaker Kristen Hadeed.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - Self-discovery and learning to take initiative are integral to the college experience. So is having fun, and EOU’s Student Leadership Confab is promoting an amalgam of all three this year.

Set for Saturday, April 12 at the Gilbert Center, the confab encourages participants to be themselves with workshops and sessions all focused on the theme “Break Out of Your Shell.”

“We’re helping students develop as leaders and transition their skills to both academic and co-curricular activities,” said Le Alexander, interim director of Student Involvement at EOU. “College is fun and so is leadership!”

Alexander said discussions are intended to challenge participants to consider how they can improve their work, and be innovative as students and professionals regardless of their field, expertise or interest.

A highlight will be keynote speaker Kristen Hadeed, a young entrepreneur and business owner from Florida. Hadeed speaks to colleges around the nation about factors that help determine a young person’s success in life: leadership, self-confidence and overcoming fear of failure.

Spurred on by a desire to purchase an expensive pair of jeans, Hadeed started a cleaning business to earn the money. That was in 2009 when she was a junior at the University of Florida. Today, her company Student Maid™ employs more than 400 college students during peak seasons.

“I’m really excited to hear Kristen speak,” said Devon Hill, a graduate student at EOU. “She’s so full of energy and her story fits perfectly with the theme of the confab.”

Hadeed emphasizes the importance of creating an organizational culture that motivates members and she’ll be sharing her enthusiasm with students all day.

Hill chairs the seven-member Student Leadership Committee responsible for organizing and facilitating the confab and approached Hadeed about speaking.

“We conducted a survey to help figure out what we want to hear and do, as students, for this event,” Hill said. “Every year I’ve been here [at EOU] I’ve gone and now I’m seeing a different side and it’s really fun to be involved with the planning.”

2014 confab poster

Click thumbnail to view poster.

Hill also works alongside Alexander as the Student Involvement graduate coordinator. After she completes her master of science in teaching she plans to pursue a leadership career in higher education.

“These opportunities all help students develop and decide what they want to do in life,” Alexander said. “Giving them an idea they can run with and seeing it blossom…it’s moments like this that pinpoint what they’ve done and where they’re going next.”

EOU students attend the confab for free, but should register by April 9 via OrgSync at https://orgsync.com/21911/forms/98028.

For questions e-mail Alexander at alexand@eou.edu. Updates are on Twitter @EOUInvolvement with the hashtag #SLConfab.

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Student Leadership Committee seeking volunteers for Beautification Day

As part of the confab, EOU’s Student Leadership Committee is partnering with grounds and facilities for the third annual Beautification Day, Apr. 9.

Faculty, staff and students are invited to pitch-in between 2-5 p.m. There will be multiple projects including planting trees or flowers, helping with various landscaping projects and beautifying the campus grounds.

For more information contact the Center for Student Involvement at 541-962-3704 or gradstuinvolve@eou.edu.

Sign-up now on OrgSync!

Colloquium features screening of digital storytelling projects

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

March 27, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Aaron Thornburg, assistant professor of anthropology, shares his experience incorporating digital storytelling in the classroom for the next colloquium, Thursday, Apr. 10.

“Digital Storytelling in the Anthropology Classroom: Potential Problems and Pedagogical Promise” begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210 at EOU. A reception with time for questions and answers will follow.

Examples of digital story projects produced by students in Thornburg’s class on Media, Self and Society will be screened. He will discuss problems faced and what he views to be pedagogical benefits, as the practice of using digital media production software to create video projects is increasingly being utilized in colleges and universities around the country.

A list of related resources provided by 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 541-962-3555.


Senior art exhibition explores where internal, external & cultural boundaries collide

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

March 19, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The first art capstone exhibit of 2014 is opening in Eastern Oregon University’s Nightingale Gallery April 4. A reception is from 6-8 p.m.

A collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures, “45-118: Estuaries” features student artists Fernando Hernandez, Joshua McDonald, Zaq Mendenhall and Addie O’Neal.

Born and raised in the predominately Hispanic city of Van Nuys, Calif., Hernandez was influenced by the street art, which covered alleys and billboards in his neighborhood. At age 12, his family moved to Simi Valley, Calif., where he became aware of his status as a minority.

Hernandez’s most recent work focuses on his Mexican culture and family. He juxtaposes the nostalgic images of family members with more contemporary forms such as street art. His subjects are depicted as monumental and iconic, and express a sense of pride.

The lowbrow materials used, from homemade wheat paste to brown packaging paper, are considered by society as low-grade and inferior. In this way, Hernandez’s subjects share a common bond with the materials, as people of Mexican decent are sometimes viewed as cheap labor and an inferior race in certain aspects of American culture. The combination of these materials with the people in the portraits transcends both stereotypes and is in no way cheap or inferior.

McDonald enrolled in a design course on a whim while attending Central Oregon Community College in Bend in 2009 and was instantly taken by art. He soon transferred that interest to EOU where he discovered painting and printmaking, which resulted in his decision to become an art major.

McDonald’s current body of work has evolved into large-scale paintings and prints that explore the natural landscape in contrast with that of the man-made, between the forms that have always existed and the forms newly constructed by man.

He references Romantic landscape painters by his use of realism through saturated colors and large open skies and their attempt to capture the sublime landscape, preserving it forever. At the same time, McDonald abstracts architectural aspects of the work, creating multiple layers within the landscape that almost seem to mimic the natural forms.

Mendenhall began his studies as a painter and only started making sculptural work within the last year. His work deals primarily with issues of communication that arose from his childhood struggles with high functioning Autism. It stimulated his creative capacities, but hindered speaking to the point that it was a terrifying ordeal. Much of his childhood was spent in silence accompanied only by his imagination, which led to his expression of thoughts and emotions through creating things.

Mendenhall’s work consists primarily of prosthetic sculptures and video performance, with each piece being a solution to a particular issue he faced in communicating with others. His interest in history motivated the work to center around the Victorian and Edwardian eras, which are the periods he is most enthusiastic about. He uses his knowledge of the period to create believable, yet mildly ludicrous prostheses employing traditional methods and materials. The alternate reality he creates explores the workings of the autistic mind and how “making” acts as his communication with others.

O’Neal grew up in Hillsboro and has always had an affinity for creating. While in high school, she enjoyed the balance of structured biology homework and the free-flow of her art courses. She continues this balance in college, majoring in business management and fine art, always balancing rigidity with creativity.

O’Neal loves a challenge and likes to see how she can work creatively inside boundaries. Her artwork explores a balance of structure and free form. It is the personal, internal struggle between organization and chaos that inspires her. The clashing of media, such as paint, graphite and string, replicates the difference between the commonplace and the spontaneous. She visually documents the discontent of her own internal space, between self-imposed order and attempts to break out, by using repetitious lines and free geometric shapes that collide on one plane in both her paintings and her wall drawings.

Both formats illustrate depth and feature layers that interact, connect and intersect, as well as coverage and exposure of an underlying structure. Both the geometric and organic forms are integral to each piece and to each other, as O’Neal feels the importance of her daily life comes from the balance of personal structures and the moments of creativity and discord.

See “45-118: Estuaries” through April 18 in Nightingale Gallery in Loso Hall. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information visit www.eou.edu/art/nightingale-gallery or connect on Facebook.

Awards announced for 2014 “Eastern Oregon Regional High School Exhibition”

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

March 14, 2014

See the exhibition through Mar. 18.

See the exhibition at EOU through Mar. 18.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University’s art program presented awards for exemplary work by students in grades nine through 12 participating in the 2014 “Eastern Oregon Regional High School Art Exhibition” in Nightingale Gallery.

“The Nightingale Gallery and EOU congratulates the winners and all the outstanding participants,” said Cory Peeke, Nightingale Gallery director, “and we would also like to express our appreciation to the art teachers who went out of their way to make sure their students’ work was included in the exhibit and who do an outstanding job with extremely limited resources.”

All Best of Show winners received an award certificate and a sketchbook in which to continue their creative investigations. Honorable Mention recipients received a certificate of award.

The La Grande Arts Commission also presented a special award to Grace Ridder, a junior at La Grande High School, exhibiting her painting “Gray Girl.” The La Grande Arts Commission’s “Promising Young Artist Award” comes with a certificate and check for $50.

Best of Show 12th Grade:

Alora Brown (La Grande High) for her oil painting “Victor’s Throne”

Best of Show 11th Grade:

Grace Ridder (La Grande High) for her acrylic painting “Gray Girl”

Best of Show 10th Grade:

Brielle Sand (Baker City High) for her pen & ink drawing “Zen Tangle”

Best of Show 9th Grade:

Carson Carruth (Vale High) for her scratchboard drawing “Riddick’s Hound”

Honorable Mentions:

Baker City

Heather Mazzugotte, 12th grade, for her ceramic sculpture “Beauty Within”
Sarah Spaugh, 12th grade, for her two watercolors ”Bob” & ”If You’ve Got It Flaunt It”


Rachel Farrell, 10th grade, for her photograph “Solemn Sunday”

La Grande

Shelby Baker, 11th grade, for her color pencil drawing “Yose-Might”
Abbey Felley, 10th grade, for her oil painting “Focus”
Sandy Hattan, 11th grade, for the graphite drawing “On the Run”


Ashley Corona for her mixed media work “Starry Scream Pumpkin”
Ashley K. Suyematsu for her graphite drawing “Shoes, Shoes, Shoes” 


MaKayla Falk, 12th grade, for her ceramic sculpture “Sharp Tooth Candy Monster”
Dusti Leetch, 12th grade, for the graphite drawing “Man’s Best Friend”


Dawson Baxter, 11th grade, for his acrylic painting, “Self Portrait (Mad Hatter)”
Sarah Good, 11th grade, for her acrylic painting “Horse Love”
Matt Hull, 9th grade, for his acrylic painting, “Nixon Concept”
Jason Lineback, 11th grade, for his acrylic painting, “Ruins”


Spencer Childs, 12th grade, for her photograph, “Into the Light”
Lauren Young, 12th grade, her acrylic painting, “Lucille”

Participating teachers:

Baker City High School – Kristen Anderson
Burns High School – Ben Holtby
Cove High School – Eric Gustavson
Crane Union High School – Connie Robbins
Echo & Stanfield High Schools – Rick Thew
Grant Union High School – J.J. Collier
Joseph High School- Jennifer Connolly
La Grande High School – Mike Schireman
Ontario High School – Pam Helfrich
Pendleton High School – Olivia Rush
Union High School – Jaime Gustavson
Vale High School – Kacie Shaffer

The exhibition continues through Mar. 18 in Nightingale Gallery in Loso Hall. For more information go to www.eou.edu/art. Work of winning artists is also available to view at www.facebook.com/NightingaleGallery.

Professor shares new work for Roundhouse Reading, Mar. 19

David Axelrod Portrait-bw-web

David Axelrod

Contact: David Memmott | dsmemmott@frontier.com

March 14, 2014
– The next Roundhouse Reading Series sponsored by Blue Mountain Writers features award-winning poet David Axelrod, Wednesday, Mar. 19.

Axelrod, a professor of English and writing at EOU, will share selections from his new collection of poems, “Folly,” at 7 p.m. at Joe Beans Coffee, 1009 Adams. Ave.

Doors open at 6:30 and an open mic will follow Axelrod’s reading. Sign-up information for open mic participants will be located at a table near the entrance. Admission is free and donations are accepted.

Just released by Lost Horse Press, “Folly” is perhaps Axelrod’s most personal, vivid and honest work to date. Taking Desderius Erasmus as his noble guide, the author follows the road of folly, error and ignorance that constitute common life.

Along the way, readers meet Dostoyevski while Nordic skiing, get a haircut, watch a divorced woman and her daughter fly kites, hold a crippled bird in their hands, consider the virtue of shovels and the perversity of old chainsaws, cross a river with Basho and blow up an oven heating bagels.

“The poems were accumulated over two decades around the idea of imperfection, especially the imperfection of human existence,” Axelrod explains. “Because I live in a small town where anonymity is virtually impossible, these poems inevitably were inspired by extraordinary moments in the otherwise ordinary day-to-day in rural Oregon.”

“Folly” also reflects Axelrod’s continued direction away from a “Romantic rural west” with the private poet in solitude to a “more realistic view of rural Oregon” in which the poet is immersed in “the shared public spheres of human interaction.”


“Folly” is perhaps Axelrod’s most personal, vivid and honest work to date.

“The poems…chart the wild landscapes of eastern Oregon, where the poet has shoveled out a life in the shadow of the Blue Mountains, whose hillsides and trails he has tramped, whose sky he has labored beneath. I’m drawn to their imagery and clear language, and the hand of a practical philosophy opening its rough palm under their winter sun,” writes fellow author Joseph Millar.

Writer Melissa Kwasny, too, has praised the collection.

“Dumbfounded by the improbability of being, the figure of the fool on his or her joyous and hapless journey through life can be associated with any number of anti-heroes: Dionysus, Don Quixote, Dostoyevsky’s Idiot, the king’s jester who is both clownish and wise,” she writes. “In ‘Folly,’ David Axelrod’s marvelous new book of poems, the fool at mid-life speaks of the human enterprise with mockery and tenderness, making us both laugh out loud and, in turn, see ourselves more truly. His haplessness links us to earth. His madness links us to the divine.”

Axelrod has published seven collections of poems and a compilation of essays, “Troubled Intimacies” (Oregon State University Press). He is currently working on new collections of poems and essays, as well as editing a new edition of the poems of the late Oregon poet Walter Pavlich.

In addition to teaching at EOU, Axelrod directs the Ars Poetica Lecture Series and edits—along with Jodi Varon—the award-winning journal of fine and literary arts, “basalt.” He is also the co-director of EOU’s low-residency master of fine arts program in creative writing.

The Roundhouse Reading Series is made possible in part due to grants from the Union County Cultural Coalition, Cook Memorial Library, Libraries of Eastern Oregon and local donations.

“Folly” can be ordered in advance from Looking Glass Books or from www.losthorsepress.org. Copies will also be available for sale after the reading.

For more information, contact David Memmott at dsmemmott@frontier.com.

Davies named president at Murray State University

Source contact: Tim Seydel | University Advancement
541-910-1723 | tseydel@eou.edu
News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |  lhancock@eou.edu
2013-President Davies-color portrait_web

Bob Davies

March 12, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies has accepted the president’s position at Murray State University in Murray, Ky. beginning July 14.

The MSU board of regents voted unanimously today to confirm Davies as the university’s 13th president. He interviewed with officials and constituency groups earlier this week.

In a message to the EOU community this morning, Davies said, “it is with deep emotion that I share news of Murray State University’s announcement of my invitation and acceptance of their offer to join MSU as president.”

“This is a big change for all of us – and it means we have a great deal of very important work to accomplish,” Davies added. “Eastern is strong, resilient and positioned for success and I will endeavor to ensure that even upon my departure, we will be ready to move forward.”

Dr. Melody Rose, interim chancellor of the Oregon University System said, “We will miss Bob’s leadership in the state, but wish him the best of luck as he moves to his next challenge. Bob has led the campus during a period of budget and governance change, and has done much to bring the campus together around improving student success and community engagement. The Chancellor’s Office will be working with the State Board of Higher Education on the process of selecting an interim president and ensuring a successful transition.”

Davies has been president of EOU since 2009. Other positions he has held include vice president of university relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, associate vice president for alumni relations and development at State University of New York at Buffalo, and executive director of the alumni association at Boise State University.

Life is a dream 01_web EOU photos by Michael Heather / Jeanie Nickel and Joshua Cornwell rehearse their roles as Rosaura and Segismundo in “Life is a Dream” opening Thursday.

Classic drama “Life is a Dream” unfolds in Schwarz Theatre

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 |  lhancock@eou.edu
Source contact: Kenn Wheeler | Associate Professor of Theatre
541-962-3318 |  kwheeler@eou.edu

March 12, 2014

Caleb Hulsey, left, as Clataldo and Joshua Cornwell as Segismundo.

Caleb Hulsey, left, as Clataldo and Joshua Cornwell as Segismundo.

LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) - EOU’s theatre program continues its 2014 production season with a new translation of a classic Spanish tragedy.

Opening curtain for “Life is a Dream” is 7 p.m. Thursday in Schwarz Theatre in Loso Hall. Performances continue at 7 Friday and Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The story begins when an astrological omen predicts that if King Basilio’s son Segismundo is crowned, he will become a horrible tyrant and bring destruction to his kingdom.

Basilio imprisons his son for life, but decades later he decides to let him prove his ability to defy the stars. Allowed to rule the palace, Segismundo wreaks bloody vengeance on the kingdom, confirming the prediction, and is returned to his prison.

The question of whether life is a dream or an illusion takes on renewed relevance and urgency in this translation by Nilo Cruz of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s classic drama.

Rick Mugrage, senior theatre major, takes on the role of Basilio, while fellow senior Joshua Cornwell portrays Segismundo.

Rounding out the cast is Jeanie Nickel as Rosaura, Brian Moore as Astolfo, Ellie Aiton as Estrella, Caleb Hulsey as Clotaldo and Bryn McLaughlin as Clarìn with Rachel Bentz, Noah Fulfer and McKayla Nitz as the servants, guards and soldiers.

Michael Heather, associate professor of theatre, is serving as director, as well as scenery and light designer. Theatre student Hayley Stavenger is designing the costumes as her senior project.

Tickets for “Life is a Dream” are $10 general admission and $5 for students, seniors and active or retired military.

To reserve tickets, call the theatre box office at 541-962-3757 or go to ticketpeak.com/eou.

Taking a closer look at prekindergarten expansion in U.S.

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu
Rae Ette Newman Mar 14_web

Click image to view flier (PDF).

March 10, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Rae Ette Newman, assistant professor of education, discusses the significance of pre-kindergarten programs in the school system and complexities with expansion of state programs Thursday, Mar. 13.

Newman’s colloquium on “The Struggle for Prekindergarten Expansion in the United States” begins at 4 p.m. in Ackerman Hall, Room 210 at EOU. A reception with question and answer session will follow.

According to Newman, quality preschool and universal pre-kindergarten has seen an immense push by the federal government and advocacy groups in the last two decades. Enrollment in state pre-kindergarten programs continues to grow, servicing more four-year-olds than federally funded programs (Head Start). However, only 28 percent of four-year-olds are being provided this vital education opportunity (National Institute for Early Education Research, 2013).

A list of related resources provided by 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 541-962-3555.


Alumni ski day planned at Anthony Lakes, Mar. 15

alumni_association_logoHead to the mountain before the season ends!

Eastern Oregon University alumni are invited to spend the day at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort Saturday, Mar. 15.

Discounted lift tickets and rentals courtesy of the Alumni Association are available to those who RSVP.

Participants will be greeted at the lodge between 8-9 a.m. The chairlift opens at 9 and closes at 4 that afternoon.

Jamey and Melissa McDonald, EOU class of 1993, are traveling from Portland for the event.

“We are a skiing family and what better chance to connect with other alumni than on the slopes at Anthony Lakes!” Jamey said.

All day lift tickets are $29 for adults, $24 for students and $16 for children. Ski rentals are $17 and snowboard rentals are $28.

Sign-up now to attend!

Complete the form at www.eou.edu/alumni/events/anthonylakes.

For more information contact the Alumni Programs Office at 541-962-3576 or alumni@eou.edu.

EOU photo by Kaitlin Cassidy / Members of 45th Parallel from left on stage include Dakota Brown, Kyle Pickard, Griffin Fleming and Nathan Ladendorff rehearsing on vocals, drums and guitar. 

New ensemble 45th Parallel gives debut performance Mar. 7

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

Source contact: Matt Cooper | Professor of Music
541-962-3559 | mcooper@eou.edu

March 5, 2014
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – A multi-genre improvisational music group is staking the stage for the first time at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Mar. 7 in Groth Recital Hall in Loso, Room 126 at EOU.

Named for the nearby north circle of latitude, the new 17-piece ensemble 45th Parallel is co-directed by professors Matt Cooper and John McKinnon, with assistance from Luke McKern.

The trio created 45th Parallel in response to the ever-changing world of music and the desire for a group outside of the “traditional” institutions of band, orchestra and jazz band.

The ensemble is also unique because it doesn’t stick to one particular music style.

“We cross boundaries between jazz, funk, folk, pop and world music,” Cooper explained.

Membership is comprised of 14 university students and the co-directors. Their repertoire focuses on original student and faculty transcriptions and arrangements including music from Johnny “Guitar” Watson, former Bela Fleck sideman Howard Levy, the Decembrists, the Tin Hat Trio, Maceo Parker and others.

Several vocalists and a variety of instruments – keyboards, percussion, guitars, strings, brass and winds – are featured.

Falling into the keyboard category are the piano, organ, accordion, electronic keyboard and melodica. Percussion ranges from drum set to box drums, hand percussion and African percussion.

Acoustic and electric guitars, electric bass, violin and viola round out the string instruments, and the horn section features trumpet, trombone and saxophone.

Admission to the debut concert is free with donations accepted to benefit music studies at EOU. Early arrival is recommended, as seating is limited.