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LA GRANDE, Ore. – When Eastern Oregon University graduate Andrew James walks across the stage on June 17 he will do so with the distinguished recognition that he is EOU’s 2023 Presidential Scholar.
James will complete his tenure at EOU with two degrees, one in business and economics and a second in accounting. The former Mountaineer football player credits much of his success to the people surrounding him.
“The number of people doing good things at EOU is a reflection of the community,” James said.
James says he will cherish his memories at EOU, including a few detours. Between his freshman and sophomore years, James became a father. He recalls having to send a message to his professor asking for an extension for homework and then not checking his phone till the next day. His professor left him this message, “Can’t wait to see pictures.”
“Pandemic, college sports, school assignments, and a new baby, it was a lot,” James said, “but, at the end of the day, you look around and realize how blessed you are.”
James recalls the struggles to manage classes and activities but insists he feels he was able to be a part of Eastern school and enjoy the whole university experience.
“It was everything I was looking for, could I get this somewhere else, possibly, but I am so fortunate,” James said. “To have a family like EOU be happy for you, and show support, it’s almost like they are there enjoying it with you.”
Co-President Richard Chaves and Lara Moore, named James the Presidential Scholar after receiving and reviewing faculty recommendations from the Academic Standards Committee. James will be recognized during the EOU Student Awards assembly on June 16, and deliver a speech to his fellow graduates at the Commencement ceremonies on June 17.
“It’s such an honor that others saw something in me,” James said. “I can’t believe it.”
For James, his relationships with the faculty were paramount, and he thanked them for their role in his accomplishments. He notes some professors he had were “stern” but points out it’s not unlike your relationship with your parents, “stern, but opens you up to so many possibilities.”
“One thing that EOU opened my eyes to is what is important in life,” James said. “Not money, job, or degrees but being part of a community, being part of something bigger than yourself.”
James and his wife have added a second child to their family, born just two months ago, and between that and his full-time job, he is busy wrapping up his degree programs online from his hometown in Hermiston.
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