Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President – December 20, 2023

From the President – December 20, 2023

From the President – December 20, 2023

This note marks my last communication to you in 2023. We’ve had an incredible term, and I know many of you are exhausted and looking forward to some down time. Me too! Let’s all enjoy our well deserved rest before we leap into the winter and spring terms.

A lot of the good we do as an educational institution and employer isn’t always apparent. I received a really neat report on the way benefits are being utilized by faculty and staff that made me awfully proud. At present 35 employees and 53 of employee’s dependents are taking advantage of EOU’s staff fee privilege to advance their education right here at EOU and at our partner institutions. I’m really proud of everyone who is working to grow themselves and their families in one of my very favorite ways: higher education!!! Making use of EOU’s benefits is one of the best ways to help yourself and your career growth. If you haven’t completed the form for Winter Term it is due Dec. 22, 2023.

The last few weeks of our term brought a series of stressful and fun events for all of us on campus. I may still have whiplash. I really appreciate how individuals supported each other through the trying events and came with good cheer to celebrate at our holiday party or ugly sweater event. I’m starting to sense that is part of the EOU spirit. The evidence is everywhere. I was most heartened by a meeting I had with the Administrative Professionals Executive Committee who shared their concerns with me while offering to help with the challenges we face to better campus life for all of us. Such great spirit; it really moved me.

We continue to see our amazing faculty and staff step up to contribute to the campus.

  • The university community will be pleased to know that our branding, marketing, and social media presence has increased considerably. EOU editorial mentions have increased 18%; our net sentiment score has jumped by 9 points to 34 and is increasingly positive; and our social media exposure has increased 111%. I hope you have seen the cool new billboards all across Oregon, from The Dalles to Ontario. It’s all “Mountaineer Country” now!! Thank you Justin Montgomery, Michael Dakota, and the entire marketing team for keeping EOU top of mind in our community and region.
  • A huge thank you to Ms. Kimberly Newman for coordinating the EOU Giving Trees campaign again this year and to Lisa Bridge and Trevor Anger for displaying the trees around campus, to the College of Education for decorating the trees, to Tara Gekas for her incredible support and fundraising, and to all who donated gifts. It was wonderful to see so much generosity from our campus to our community. 
  • Assistant Professor, Dr. Michael Fields concluded the first interactive Collaborative International Online Learning experience in which EOU students worked with faculty from Brazil at the State College of Technology – FATEC. The students worked on guided projects with international focuses. A unique opportunity for our students!! 
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director, Dr. Hope Schuermann was awarded a grant totaling $9,000 from the National Board for Certified Counselors towards the costs of the first-time application of Master’s level counseling programs for accreditation with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). And, more good news from the program: our winter cohort is full! 
  • Shout out to several Student Affairs staff: Thank you to Jordan Withers for putting together the Mentoring Program and for assisting Interim VPFA LeeAnn Case with administrative support. A hearty thank you as well to Kris Martens for all the care and help provided to make sure our events on campus are successful.
  • Our holiday gathering was a hit – thank you Kimberly Newman, Lori Baird, Jamie Baker, Peter Wordelman, MJ Heather, our facilities team, and our friends at Sodexo!

The last few weeks have been productive and meaningful. Some highlights include hearing from our first three teams working on the Moonshot for Equity student success initiatives (retention grants, transfer & advising). The teams offered meaningful suggestions to help get students from admission to graduation. I visited Assistant Professor, Dr. Paul Nauert’s student presentation day for his class, The Vietnam War: A Global Perspective. It was great to see students so engaged in their own project. I saw another group of fantastic students at our production of ‟Deathtrap”. I learned about the experiences and needs of our ROTC students by meeting with Lt.Col. John Toll and Capt. Renee Meckel. A large chunk of my time the past week was spent in Salem and Portland at the Oregon Business Summit and in meetings with the Oregon Council of Presidents. A highlight was hearing from the student government leaders across the state and the shared goals they have for public university students. And, just to make you jealous, I also had coffee with former Interim President of EOU, Dixie Lund. What a treat!

Wishing you a terrific holiday season,


Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.