Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President – May 8, 2024

From the President – May 8, 2024

From the President – May 8, 2024

Dear EOU Community:

EOU’s success will always be measured by our student, faculty, and staff achievements. Our growth in retention from term to term is among the more positive signs of EOU’s commitment to being a student centered institution. I’m pleased to share that we’ve hit the mark in expanding our retention; this has been a trend every term since Fall 2023! 

Our overall retention of new first year and transfers students in Spring term was 82.1%, which is 1.6% growth over last spring’s rates. New First Year retention reached 84.8%, showing overall growth by 1.5%, and new transfer retention landed at 80.3%, which grew by 1.7%. 

This news means that we are responding to student concerns and challenges around cost, academic preparedness, mental health, and other top priorities. Our work is ongoing and requires encouragement of students to stay the course, seek assistance, and focus on their dream. Urge students you interact with to register for fall 2024. We need everyone with us! I also request that when students express concerns about their ability to register, please connect them with resources who may be able to assist them like their advisor, the Financial Aid Office, or EOU’s Student Resource Advocate.

With every success does come a challenge. We must continue to work on engaging our online and adult students in meaningful academic and co-curricular experiences. The health and vitality of our campus requires it; our commitment to students necessitates it. 

Our campus has done a lot of listening these past few weeks as our interviews for Provost and Vice President of Student Affairs have concluded. Thanks to all those who contributed in this process by joining the listening sessions and completing the feedback forms. Your participation made our candidates feel welcome, and your feedback helps in understanding your priorities for leadership. 

As I shared in my last update, the commitment the EOU community has to the institution and each other has been apparent since my first visit to campus. I am so pleased to share that EOU’s Sick Leave Policy (5.25.15) now provides an option for University employees to voluntarily donate accrued sick leave to other University employees.  For additional information, please contact HR.

Check out this case study of the Rural Engagement and Vitality Center featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s such a wonderful example of the excellent work being done in retaining and advancing rural educational experiences. 

Like many of you I spent a significant part of the past two weeks investing in the future leadership of EOU by participating in open sessions, interviews, and meals with the Provost and VPSA finalists who came to campus (again, thank you for your participation!) In addition, I thoroughly enjoyed the Urban Rural Theater Project production, listening to the keynote address, “Piecing Me Together: The Healing Power of Storytelling” by author Renée Watson (a special thanks to the Center for Culturally Responsive Practices for bringing Renée to EOU), and visiting the Liminal art exhibit in Nightingale Gallery with Cory Peeke. EOU has some incredibly talented senior art majors! I got to join the “Walk for LIFE” event alongside community members, and 

I appreciated the opportunity to share some of my first year experiences with The Voice. 

Future planning for EOU continued with Board of Trustee Committee meetings, and I had  a lovely visit with some representatives from the HECC, as well as Oregon’s Legislative Fiscal Office and Department of Administrative Services who came to EOU. We continue work on developing EOU’s one stop shop and other student support services which we hope to have ready by fall 2024.

I hope you will join me in giving a big shoutout to our champion Mountaineer softball team! For the first time since 2016, our team has won the Cascade Collegiate Conference Softball Tournament Championship! With the win, EOU clinched an automatic bid to the 43rd Annual NAIA Softball National Championships, with opening rounds set to begin May 13. Congratulations on all of your hard work!

I suspect many of you are like me and ready for some warmer weather and for spring to be here to stay. I am anxious to get some herbs and veggies planted!

Thank you for all you do!



Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.