Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President, Aug. 17, 2023

From the President, Aug. 17, 2023

Thank you to everyone who completed the campus portrait survey. We had 112 respondents and over half of you completed it the first day it was sent out – wow! You shared your hopes and frustrations, and I am hopeful that your honesty and humility are signs of our commitment to improvement. Of course, there is also a lot to be proud of. Several of you noted strong relationships with students, as well as EOU’s excellence in online education. Many of you hope the University will be more and your dedication to EOU is encouraging. Student success is our greatest area of opportunity, and you are ready for it! I want to help support the efforts you suggested, including greater community engagement both on and off campus, more pedagogical training, and increased student engagement. It is also clear we need to collaborate and work on transparency. Working together, we can accomplish all of these goals!

Our Board of Trustees annual summer retreat was held last week in John Day. We had a great discussion about student success and EOU’s strategic plan, which university leadership collaborated on a few weeks earlier. We added several new Trustees, including Gary George, Chuck Hofmann, Erin Lair, and me! We also heard from leaders in Grant County who want to advance their skilled labor pool to better their community.

My integration into EOU and Eastern Oregon continues to be top of mind. I had the opportunity to visit Hermiston and Pendleton where I met with Center Director Kerry Thompson and Trustee Tamra Mabbott. We discussed opportunities in Morrow County. I visited the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute with former Trustee Bobbie Conner, and became more familiar with regional indigenous histories and current priorities. Closer to home, I visited with La Grande School District Superintendent and Trustee George Mendoza. We discussed his hopes and aspirations for EOU and our region, and I greatly appreciate the strong support we have in our area.  And of course, I meet with Board Chair Cheryl Martin on a weekly basis. 

Among the most rewarding moments I experienced in the last few weeks was during the Eastern Oregon Economic Summit. I took part in a tour of La Grande’s Main Street and learned about the incredible growth plans and building restorations that are underway now throughout downtown. The Summit was also a day for EOU to shine as we hosted several hundred state leaders in our new Fieldhouse and held breakout sessions in Zabel Hall. The attendees praised the beauty of our campus and our facilities, and we made a big splash. It was a great way to show off the Fieldhouse and all the work the University does to better our region.

The last day of the Summit coincided with the Union County Fair and the parade in downtown La Grande. As we rode down Adam’s Avenue, one individual yelled out “Thank you, EOU!” I was struck by the importance of EOU in this community — as a job creator, an educator, a community anchor, and purveyor of arts and lifelong learning. We have a lot to be proud of.



Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.