Eastern Oregon University > Mountaineer Magazine > Features > Students, scholarships and one very special staircase: State funding makes an impact on campus

Students, scholarships and one very special staircase: State funding makes an impact on campus

Grand staircase outside Quinn Coliseum

Following Oregon’s 2022 legislative session, EOU will see several important investments in student support services, scholarships and its iconic Grand Staircase. 

“We are happy to announce that Eastern Oregon University had a very successful February session with several significant investments from the state,” EOU President Tom Insko said. “I greatly appreciate the hard work and advocacy of our regional legislators, trustees, students, and partners who pressed for support of our mission as Oregon’s Rural University.”

Restoration of the Grand Staircase

EOU will receive $4 million to restore the historic Grand Staircase on the north side of the La Grande campus as both a practical access point and distinctive architectural feature of the community and region.

“This investment in restoration of the Grand Staircase will enable us to take care of a historic community icon and leverage a significant connection between the university and community,” Vice President for University Advancement Tim Seydel said. “It means a great deal to many of our alumni, community members and friends of the university. Credit for keeping this project moving forward goes to our Staircase workgroup, which spent many years advocating for this historically significant stairway that has been a part of EOU since our founding.”

Visual and Performing Arts Endowment

Additional scholarships in music, theatre, art and similar programs will be available to EOU students, thanks to a $1 million investment in arts and culture. The university plans to begin awarding scholarships from the fund starting in 2023. 

“As an educational and cultural engine for rural places, these scholarships will help us capitalize on recent reconnovations to EOU’s performing arts venues: McKenzie Theatre and Schwarz Theatre in Loso Hall,” Seydel said. “These scholarships will add fuel to our already excellent visual and performing art programs and attract student artists to EOU.”

EOU theater students performing on stage.
Visual and performing arts will receive an additional $1 million in scholarships beginning in the 2023 academic year.
EOU Students meeting with legislators about state funding.
Students meet with legislators at University Lobby Day.

Strong Start student support programs

Student support services funded by pandemic relief initiatives have had a significant impact on retention and student success efforts at EOU and across the state. These services can be extended and expanded with this additional infusion of state support expected to be $900,000. 

The short session also saw students from all Oregon public universities meet with legislators for University Lobby Day in February. 

“The role of students in sharing their stories with legislators cannot be overlooked,” Seydel said. “Working together, we have an amazing impact.”