Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President – April 10, 2024

From the President – April 10, 2024

Dear EOU Community:

Some of the best things about being President are the opportunities it affords to proudly spread the word about our amazing work everywhere I go! We’ve developed a new way to keep each other informed about our great news, and I encourage you to recognize and celebrate both the big and small wins. An easy way to spread positivity is by using the Marketing Dept request link. Select Infoline from the drop-down menu and you can share news directly with EOU. And, of course, keep sending me your news too!

Student success is our number one priority, and there are so many ways EOU encourages it. Check this out: 

Did you know that on average 70-90 students benefit from the free breakfasts hosted by the Koinonia House, the “K-House?” We’re so grateful to them!

The study sessions hosted in the Multicultural Center are serving more and more students each week. I encourage you to stop by on a Tuesday or Thursday evening to learn a bit more and then spread the word to students about this wonderful resource. Thank you to Cori Brewster, the tutors, and multicultural center staff!

I often share how proud I am of the academic accomplishments of our student athletes and with the close of this year’s wrestling season, I am honored to share that “The Mountaineers finished the season with an impressive team GPA of 3.6358, the highest in the nation at the NAIA level.” Congratulations to the team and coaches!

Here’s how support and success at EOU continue to impact the future for recent alumni. Olivia Zufelt, a class of ‘23 chemistry major and biology minor was recently accepted into medical school at the University of Washington! She excelled in the classroom and on the field (former softball student-athlete), as well as with her work and volunteerism at the hospital both as a scribe in the Emergency Department and a phlebotomist. 

Caden Hicks, a class of 2022 political science and economics major, continues to remain in contact with those who made a positive impact in his education. He recently thanked Dr. Scott McConnell for providing mentorship during his education at EOU. He is graduating with a master’s degree in political science this May from Northern Arizona University and has accepted a fully funded offer to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Oregon in the fall. 

I am always proud to celebrate lifelong learning. Congratulations to Laura Mahrt, Associate Professor of Biology, who earned her Master Bird Banding Permit! Obtaining a Master Bird Banding Permit is no small feat. It requires years of dedication, extensive training, and a deep understanding of avian biology and conservation. Mahrt reflected, “From countless hours spent in the field to meticulous record-keeping and data analysis, every step has been a valuable learning experience.”

As always, I’ve been busy in rounds of meetings, sharing my pride in our community and finding joy in the work. I’ve participated in several meetings with the HECC and Oregon Council of Presidents to discuss funding models for higher education. These meetings included meeting with Oregon’s business leaders to talk about partnerships between higher education and business. Senator Elizabeth Steiner visited campus Saturday, and we gave her a tour of Inlow and discussed the future of EOU. Similarly, I had the opportunity to be interviewed on EO Alive to share our good work.

Closer to home, I’ve continued engaging in Eastern Oregon’s community. I spent a day in Hermiston speaking with the Rotary and Altruists. While there, I met with Jose Garcia, Chair of the Hermiston Hispanic Advisory Committee and Superintendent (and alum!) Matt Combe. Right here in La Grande, I attended the Union County Chamber of Commerce 88th Annual Citizens Award Banquet and the Grande Ronde Hospital Gala. We held our BOT committee meetings and finished up the amazing strategy team presentations this week!

I remain dedicated to the student experience and enjoyed hanging out with students in the cafeteria during finals week, providing them with some de-stressing time with cookies and lemonade. I loved playing in the Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament with students and am so impressed with those who came knocking on my door! On Monday, we had fun with chalk on the quad.

There are a ton of other things we’ve been working on, but I don’t want to wear you out! I will be sure to provide more updates in the next note.

Have a terrific day!


Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.