Eastern Oregon University > Press > EOU Proudly Showcases Alumni Talents at the Annual Chamber Banquet

EOU Proudly Showcases Alumni Talents at the Annual Chamber Banquet

EOU Proudly Showcases Alumni Talents at the Annual Chamber Banquet

Eastern Oregon University, Oregon’s Official Rural University and a cornerstone of eastern Oregon, is continuing the “Bridging Horizons: EOU’s Community Partnerships Spotlight” series. This initiative is a monthly showcase designed to highlight the collaborations between EOU and the diverse businesses and organizations in the region. 

LA GRANDE, Ore. – In this month’s Community Partner Spotlight, we’re highlighting the generous contributions made by Eastern Oregon University alumni-owned businesses to the gift baskets at EOU’s table at the Union County Chamber Annual Awards Banquet. These gifts show the spirit of giving back to the community and the remarkable success of EOU alumni in various fields.

The table featured a wide array and random assortment of goodies for the guests, 

 “It was exciting and heartwarming to see the baskets and tablescape – so spirited, such a celebration of the accomplishments of our alumni!” President Kelly Ryan said.

R. Matt Scarfo, a 1998 alum and the owner of both Benchwarmers Pub & Grill and LongBranch Bar & Eats provided gourmet gift certificates, offering a taste of local cuisine. Kevin Boylan, class of 2003, and the creative force behind Birddog Glass & Boylan Studios contributed beautifully crafted custom stemless wine glasses. To keep the viticultural theme going, bottles of 14 Hands wines were included in the spread, a nod to 1990 EOU alum Keith Kenison, winemaker.

From the lanes to the entrepreneurial spirit, Darrin and Michelle Kiesecker, ’07, who own Brickyard Lanes, offered gift cards, ensuring fun experiences for the recipients. EOU Athletics, led by Anji Weissenfluh, a 1994 graduate, and Malia Mills, who earned degrees in 2018 and 2020, provided EOU Mountaineers memorabilia and game-day tickets to all EOU sports for the upcoming season, celebrating the university’s sports achievements. 

Tim and Janet Camp, owners of Real Deals La Grande, contributed home decor items, reflecting their commitment to sports and local business. Scott McConnell, the interim Dean of the College of Business at EOU and the proprietor of Side A Brewing, added to the craft beer selection, representing the craft beverage industry in the region. 

The centerpiece of EOU’s banquet table was further enhanced by donations from Emily Folkestad, CFO of Beef Northwest and a double alumna from 2008 and 2011, who provided a Carlton Farms gift card, and Robert Minirich, a 2011 alumnus and owner of Sure Shot La Grande, who contributed gift cards to go along with plenty of EOU swag. 

The involvement of EOU’s campus partners including the College of Business Agriculture-Entrepreneurship program, and College of Education, underscores the collaborative efforts of EOU and its proud alumni to support and celebrate the wider community. “These contributions not only enrich the banquet experience but also spotlight the diverse talents and businesses of EOU alumni, emphasizing the university’s role in fostering community engagement and economic development,” President Ryan said. 

The spread reflected a spectrum of success stories from the EOU alumni community, demonstrating their ongoing connection to the university and commitment to contributing positively to the local economy and culture. The EOU table at the Union County Chamber Awards Banquet became a celebration of individual achievements and highlighted the impact of Eastern Oregon University and its alumni network.

As we celebrate each chapter in our Community Partnerships Series, it is evident that the ties between EOU and our community partners extend far beyond the campus. These collaborations serve as a testament to the mutual benefits that arise when academia and local enterprises unite. Looking ahead, our commitment to expanding and enriching these partnerships remains steadfast. By continually seeking opportunities for collaboration and shared initiatives, we aim to strengthen the town-gown connection that forms the backbone of a thriving community. 

As we explore new horizons and build upon existing relationships, we invite you to join us in this journey of growth, unity, and the boundless possibilities that emerge when education and community interlace.  Stay tuned for the next chapter in our exploration of EOU’s community partnerships.