Presidential Search

Kelly A. Ryan addresses EOU faculty and staff during her April 2023 campus visit

EOU Names Kelly A. Ryan as 13th President

During her extensive career, Dr. Ryan has served as Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, Dean, and Professor. She has been a leader in efforts to support student access and success, advance academic programming and engagement, and build community relationships and partnerships.

Dr. Kelly A. Ryan

Eastern Oregon University’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Dr. Kelly A. Ryan as the University’s 13th President on Tuesday, May 9. Ryan will officially begin her duties on July 1. 

Ryan succeeds Tom Insko, and Interim Co-Presidents Richard Chaves and Lara Moore, who have led the university since last September. 

“When we found out over nine months ago that we would need to begin the search for a new president, the undertaking seemed daunting,” said Board Chair Cheryl Martin. “And here we are, ratifying an excellent candidate that will take the baton and with a loyal, hardworking and wonderful team, continue the race to Ascent 2029 – EOU’s strategic plan.” 

“I’m incredibly grateful to the Board for their approval and I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in this process,” Ryan said. “What I saw when I visited was an internal and external community that is dedicated to EOU’s Ascent. I couldn’t help but be swept up in your enthusiasm for EOU and the hard work that’s gone on there and in the community.”

The process for identifying a new president at EOU began in September 2022. A 22-member search committee of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community leaders developed the leadership profile, reviewed applications, identified and interviewed semi-finalist candidates.

“The committee members were dedicated and diligent in their work over what added up to hundreds of hours, collectively,” Nicole Howard, committee member and Professor of History said. “People listened carefully to candidates and to one another, engaged in meaningful debate, and consistently arrived at thoughtful conclusions.” 

The committee recommended three finalists, who visited campus during the last two weeks of April, each spending one and a half days learning about the university, including interviews with the Board of Trustees.

“I am very proud of the process of hiring the next President of Eastern Oregon University. Three students, including myself, were members of the search committee,” Isaac Insko, committee member and agriculture entrepreneurship student, said. “We had a large group of diverse backgrounds and provided the Board of Trustees with qualified candidates. I am excited for students to meet the next President.”

Ryan will be on campus to attend the EOU Board of Trustees spring meeting and other events on May 17-18, including a public reception for the new president, with details forthcoming. Additional trips to Oregon are being scheduled prior to Ryan’s official start date in July.  

“I am so proud of everyone that ran a lap to help get us to this successful point,” said Martin to the Board and audience. “At times it was exhausting, but I know everyone helped out to reach this very exciting finish. You are all heroes to me.”

Ryan holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Master of Arts in History from Boston College, and a Bachelor of Arts in History from George Mason University. 

Ryan currently serves as the Interim Chancellor at Indiana University Southeast. Ryan led efforts to increase student retention by six percent, and built relationships that enhanced IU Southeast’s reputation and community impact. She also developed partnerships with local mayors and government leaders to increase college-attendance rates through tuition agreements and enhanced campus accessibility.

Prior to her role as Interim Chancellor, Ryan served in several roles at IU Southeast, including executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, dean of the school of social sciences, coordinator for the department of history and professor of history.

EOU Board of Trustees Chair Cheryl Martin

“Dr. Ryan’s impressive academic and administrative credentials, high level of public communication skills and her engaging manner of leadership was found to be very compelling to the university community and the Board.”

Cheryl Martin
Chair, EOU Board of Trustees

Caitlyn Cevallos, Search Committee Member & President of ASEOU

“I think Dr. Ryan will do an amazing job, she has the skills, and is certainly capable of running the institution.”

– Caitlyn Cevallos
Search Committee Member & President of ASEOU

EOU Professor of History and Presidential Search Committee member Nicole Howard

“It is noteworthy that Dr. Ryan’s interview drew the most widespread support from the committee. We were energized by our conversation with her, and that enthusiasm was in evidence again during her campus visit.”

Nicole Howard
Search Committee Member and Professor of History

Isaac Insko, Search Committee Member & ASEOU Student Sentaor

“I’m optimistic for the coming days, and I hope to see a bright future for the university.”

– Isaac Insko
Search Committee Member & ASEOU Student Sentaor

Search Process Information


May 15

EOU Hosts Public Reception for President-select

EOU Hosts Public Reception for President-select LA GRANDE, Ore. – The public will have an opportunity to meet Eastern Oregon University’s president-select in person this Friday at an open reception from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Loso Hall lobby on campus.    Dr. Kelly Ryan is making her first formal visit to La Grande […]

Presidential Search Updates

Presidential Search Profile

Presidential Search Committee

Contact Information

Comments or questions can be emailed to the Board of Trustees at

Frequently Asked Questions

To read the FAQ, please visit