Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President – February 14, 2024

From the President – February 14, 2024

Dear EOU Community:

The last few weeks have rushed by and were marked by some incredible accomplishments within our community: 

  • Melissa Mathewson, online Master of Fine Arts faculty, has been accepted into the nationally competitive New Leadership Academy Fellows Program affiliated with the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). The six-month long leadership development program has a specific focus on the challenges associated with leading for equity, diversity, and inclusion. The fellowship experience challenges each cohort of Fellows to accept greater accountability for their own leadership choices, the influence they have on those they lead, the success of their institutions, and the integrity of the system of higher education. We look forward to watching Melissa grow!
  • EOU Athletes achieved a record high cumulative GPA during fall term: 3.339. Let me shout this out one more time: This is the highest cumulative Athletics GPA ever!!! And EOU is currently ranked 8th in the Learfield Standing for Fall 2023.
  • Forbes listed EOU’s Early Childhood education degree on Best Affordable Early Childhood Education Degrees Online of 2024!
  • Congratulations to Chris McLaughlin whose photograph was selected for the cover of February 2024 Ruralite magazine.
  • Dr. Kat Yamamoto co-authored a paper entitled, “Improving the Small University Endowment: Purpose, Performance, and Recommendations,” for the IACBE’s Journal for Advancing Business Education, which is now published.
  • Dr. Chad Mueller, with support from Interim VPFA LeeAnn Case, applied for and received the USDA’s designation as a Non-Land Grant Agriculture Institution. You may be wondering, why do we need that designation? It opens the door to significant grant opportunities in the coming years, with only EOU and University in Oregon having this designation. Smart thinking!
  • The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) visited campus, bringing 256 regional students plus over 30 mentors and judges to campus, visiting with faculty and competing in their regional competition. This was a wonderful opportunity for these students and the EOU community, and I enjoyed welcoming them all to EOU!
  • Under the direction of Dr. Ronda Fritz, the Building a Strong Foundation in Literacy Professional Development series, supported by the Eastern Oregon Reading Clinic, has had a successful launch with 350 educators across the state enrolled. Wow – just imagine the ripple effect of 350 educators working to improve reading!

It’s been a profoundly busy few weeks. Among the most memorable moments was working alongside Dean Nate Lowe and Interim Dean Scott McConnell in visits to four eastern Oregon correctional institutions. Over the course of our two-day visits, we learned about existing educational needs and challenges, as well as the desire of many adults in custody (AIC) to pursue higher education. The transformative power of higher education to reduce recidivism and build positive and peaceful cultures for AICs was front and center in our visits. 

The importance of higher education was also on display at Eastern Oregon University and Oregon Public University Lobby days. Over 30 EOU students attended the massive event, and I visited alongside many of them and other university presidents in the offices of congressional and senate representatives. I’m so proud of our students for volunteering their time and sharing their stories on behalf of all of us. It’s always an honor to be in the capitol representing and fighting for EOU. A big thank you to ASEOU, VP Tim Seydel, and Lori Baird are in order for helping organize such a spectacular EOU turnout!

In addition to the aforementioned events, I’ve been busy with my normal round of meetings, as well as seeing all the things that EOU does best! I got a chance to watch H20 and was blown away by the student performances, our supportive community, and the faculty and staff in music who work hard to bring this show to life! I visited Assistant Professor Steve Sheehy’s computer science class on Algorithms. He’s such a talented instructor and it was a joy to be in the classroom with such engaging students! We paid homage to Coach Kaki Morehead and the EOU Volleyball team for their incredible journey to the NAIA semifinals at halftime of a winning men’s basketball game. And we held our BOT committee meetings, where the incredible work of EOU and its volunteer trustees grappled with issues related to student success, enrollment, governance, and our fiscal realities. 

Wishing you an incredible week!



Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.