The Board of Trustees

Anna Cavinato

Education: Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Bari, Italy

Occupation:  Professor, College of Science, Technology, Mathematics, and Health Sciences

Biography: Anna was born and raised in Italy and came to the US for a Postdoctoral appointment at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  After working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis, she moved west and joined the Center for Process Analytical Chemistry at the University of Washington where she conducted research on non-destructive methods of analyses.  In 1992 she moved to La Grande and has been working at EOU since then, teaching a variety of chemistry and sciences courses.  She has received several research and/or educational grants that have allowed to establish a strong research program involving undergraduate students. Anna is passionate about encouraging women and underrepresented minorities to pursue science careers.  She has been the faculty mentor of the EOU Chemistry Club for almost twenty years promoting community outreach activities such as Girls in Science and Saturday Science that have garnered multiple awards by the American Chemical Society (ACS).  She currently serves as the Program Chair for the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry, leading the organization of the Division’s technical program at ACS national meetings.

Christine Cronin

Education: B. S. Ed, University of North Dakota. 

Occupation: Former EOU Regional Center Director in John Day, OR. 

Biography: Christine was born in Burns and has lived in John Day for 40+ years.  For twenty-three years she served students in Grant County and beyond, through EOU’s outstanding distance education programs. She believes that high quality K-20 public education is the key to our success as country, state, and region.  She has been an educational advocate and policy-maker through her work on the Oregon School Board Association Board of Directors, as a current member of her local ESD board of Directors, and as a former board chair and 8-year member of her local school board. She was named EOU’s Distinguished Administrative Professional in 2017.

Gary E. George

Education: BA Urban and Regional Planning with a minor in Economics, Eastern Washington University

Occupation: Chief Executive Officer, Wildhorse Resort & Casino

Biography: Gary is an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Wildhorse Resort & Casino (WRC), which is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Gary provides overall leadership and directs the day-to-day operations of WRC, which employs over 900 staff in the Casino, Hotel, Golf Courses at Wildhorse and Birch Creek (formerly PCC), the Cineplex, Arrowhead Travel Plaza, RV Park, Mission Market, Hamley’s and WRC administration.

Gary also served as the CTUIR Executive Director from 1990 through 1998.

Chuck Hofmann

Education: University of Oregon, BS, Chemistry, 1974; Oregon Health Sciences University, MD, 1978; Creighton School of Medicine Internal Medicine Residency 1978 – 1981.

Occupation: Health Care Consultant; retired from clinical medicine in 2017.

Biography: Chuck grew up in LaGrande, Oregon just a few blocks from EOU and attended the University’s Ackerman Grade School. He completed his Freshman and Sophomore years at EOU, graduated from UO, and upon completing his training established an internal medicine practice in Baker City, OR. Over his 37 years in practice there, he served for 14 years on the Baker City Council, including 3 terms as Mayor; 15 years as a Trustee on the Leo Adler Trust; 10 years on the Board of the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative; 5 years on the Oregon Health Policy Board; and over 20 years on the Oregon Medical Association’s Board of Trustees including serving as President of the OMA in 1997 and 1998. He and his wife, Candy, now live in the Boise, Idaho area where he continues to consult on health policy matters in Oregon and Idaho.

Erin Lair

Education: Grand Canyon University, Education Specialist; Northwest Nazarene University, Administration; Pacific University, Master of Arts in Teaching; Pacific University, Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Finance

Occupation: Superintendent of Baker School District

Biography: Erin grew up in Baker City. With 15 years in education as a teacher and administrator, she has returned to Eastern Oregon as the Superintendent of Baker School District. Previously, Erin has held positions in Idaho, Sherwood School District, and InterMountain ESD. Her passion for education is a critical driver of rural economic development. When not in the office, she and her husband live on a small, commercial cherry orchard outside of Cove with their two elementary-aged girls.

Tamra Mabbott

Tamra Mabbott

Education: M.A. Urban Planning, UCLA; B.A. Political Science, UCLA

Occupation: Planning Director for Morrow County, Oregon.

Biography: Tamra Mabbott grew up on a small dairy farm along the Rogue River in Southern Oregon.  While attending University of California, Los Angeles, she worked full time and volunteered with a variety of political organizations.  Hopeful about a career helping to make communities viable and healthy, she chose to continue her education in Urban Planning, followed by completion of an advanced program in Fiscal Studies.  She worked a short time for the Portland Development Commission and then began a 30+ year career as a land use planner. She spent two years working for a small city as a Community Development Director and then served as the Eastern Region Representative for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation & Development.  While she described her state position as her dream job, traveling the 10 county region and spending time with wonderful people and communities, she returned to serve as the Planning Director for Morrow County where she can focus her time in a smaller community.

Cheryl Martin

Cheryl Martin (Chair)

Education: Eastern Oregon University, Bachelor’s of Science in Education.

Occupation: Rancher/Owner VP Ranch.

Biography: An Alumna of EOU, Cheryl taught in the Powder Valley School District for 27 years. She was awarded Oregon Middle School Science Teacher of the Year and Conservation Teacher of the year.  She served on the Oregon Science Teacher Board, was president of Baker County Chamber of Commerce and serves on the executive board for Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.  She owns and operates the VP Ranch in North Powder and is the sixth generation to live and ranch in the Powder Valley.

George Mendoza

George Mendoza (Vice Chair)

Education: Northwest Nazarene University, Master of Education Leadership; Eastern Oregon University, Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education.

Occupation: Superintendent, La Grande School District.

Biography: George has over 20 years of experience working in education as an elementary school teacher, administrator, and coach. Prior to his current post with the La Grande School District, he was the Assistant Superintendent/Director of Special Education at Morrow County School District.

Cedric Riel

Cedric Riel

Education: Eastern Oregon University, Masters of Business Administration

Occupation: Team Leader Production, Lamb Weston in Boardman, OR

Biography: Cedric Riel recently graduated from EOU summa cum laude in both Economics and in Business. He was recognized as the Outstanding Student within the MBA program, which he completed this last academic year. While obtaining these degrees, Cedric has continued to compete in football, a sport of which has contributed to the development of his character. He is passionate about serving the EOU community and has been involved with ASEOU, serving as Senate Chair in 2019-20 and as Director of Financial Affairs in 2020-21. Now, he is excited to be beginning his management experience at Lamb Weston in Boardman while he also begins a permanent Trustee position this next year. He looks forward to being able to continue to serve the EOU community.

Dr. Kelly Ryan

Dr. Kelly Ryan, President

Education: University of Maryland, Ph.D., History; Boston College, M.A., History

Occupation: President of Eastern Oregon University

Biography: Dr. Kelly Ryan is passionate about the power of higher education to transform lives. Her leadership vision places student success and community engagement at the center of her work.  

Prior to joining EOU, Dr. Ryan was Interim Chancellor of Indiana University Southeast in New Albany, Indiana. In this role, she developed relationships and partnerships to increase community engagement with the institution, and orchestrated efforts to fund scholarships, student research and creativity initiatives, and support resources for faculty, staff, and student development.

Dr. Ryan has led university-wide strategic planning processes, improved accreditation practices, overseen enrollment management, instituted inclusive hiring and teaching practices, and managed the development of academic and noncredit programs and courses. She is the recipient of several awards and distinctions, including the Indiana University Bicentennial Medal and she is a four-time winner of the IU Trustees Teaching Award.  

Deidra Schreiber

Deidre Schreiber

Education: Current Student – OSU Agriculture and Natural Resources program

Biography: Deidre is an eastern Oregon native, born and raised in Wallowa County on her family’s cattle ranch. She graduated from Enterprise High School in 2019 and served as the 2019-2020 Oregon FFA State Secretary. She is attending Eastern Oregon University as part of the Oregon State University Agriculture and Natural Resources program, where she will graduate with her Bachelor of Agricultural Science. Deidre plans to obtain her Master of Business Administration. Currently, she serves as the student director of the Oregon State University Agriculture and Natural Resources program and the Eastern Oregon University Ag Club President.

Brenda Smith

Brenda Smith

Education: University of California, Davis, Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and Management; California State University, Fresno, Master of Science in Agriculture Plant Science; Oklahoma State University, Doctoral Degree in Agronomy

Occupation: Executive Director, High Desert Partnership, Burns Oregon

Biography: Brenda was raised in northern Nevada and spent most of those formative years’ horseback. Brenda has been the Executive Director of High Desert Partnership since 2015 and her interest in collaborative work started years ago when she trained in facilitation while teaching agriculture courses at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She has had various professional experiences that range from starting her own business of an intensive market farm using the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model marketing vegetables and cut flowers, to conducting agricultural research, to starting a university on-farm internship program, to developing outreach products for land managers. These experiences have led her to better understand the complexities of working in partnerships.

Brad Stephens

Brad Stephens

Education: Harvard University, AB, 1964; Tufts University School of Medicine, MD, 1968; Dartmouth Medical School Orthopedic Residency, 1975.

Occupation: Retired orthopedic surgeon.

Biography: Brad established his orthopedic surgery practice in La Grande in 1975 and was the team physician for EOU, helping teach courses on athletic injuries. In 1993 he was named Medical Director of the United State Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York. He returned to Eastern Oregon in 2007 and settled in Wallowa County, where he practiced until 2014. He has served as Secretary to the EOU Foundation Board of Directors for the past two years and is the Chair of Wallowa Resources, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining the working landscape in Wallowa County.

Kerry Thompson

Kerry Thompson

Education: Eastern Oregon University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Leadership, Organization and Management

Occupation: Regional Center Director of EOU Hermiston/Pendleton; Military and Veteran Student Success Coordinator

Biography: Kerry was born in Baker City, Oregon and graduated from Echo High School in Echo, Oregon. He served in the U.S. Army for over 21 years, retiring in 2008. Kerry completed his Bachelor’s degree in 2013 and has worked for Eastern Oregon University ever since. He is a strong advocate for regional online students, and continuously works to grow EOU’s military student population and to make EOU a military friendly institution.

Maurizio Valero

Maurizio Valerio

Education: University of California, Berkeley Master of Arts in Zoology; University of Parma (Italy) Doctoral Degree in Natural Sciences.

Occupation:  Field Coordinator with The Ford Family Foundation (TFFF); Owner/Manager of the Eccoci Ranch in Union County.

Biography: Maurizio was born and raised in Italy and arrived in the US with a post-doctoral position at UC Berkeley. He taught Cultural Tourism at the University of Verona (Italy) and worked as an Instructor in the Biology Department at EOU for several years. In his current job as Field Coordinator with TFFF, Maurizio supports community building efforts in many rural communities across Eastern Oregon. He is also actively involved in a long-term forest stewardship plan on his own land for which he received the Forest Steward Award for Union County 2019 and is a nominee for the Oregon Tree Farmer Award for 2020.