Eastern Oregon University > President's Message > From the President, October 25, 2023

From the President, October 25, 2023

From the President, October 25, 2023

We gathered together and celebrated another successful Homecoming, and now the much-anticipated chill of autumn is in the air. I continue to be appreciative of the engagement and open discussions being held to advance EOU through innovation and your dedication.

Prior to the start of the school year, a survey was administered to our students, asking them to share their goals and expectations for the upcoming academic year. Asking students to articulate their goals prior to the school year is a best practice for student success; it is also a great way for us to learn how to best serve our students. The top five themes that emerged are:

  1. Achieve academic excellence and be supported in pursuit of it;
  2. Develop relationships and collaborate with peers while also creating meaningful connections for their careers; 
  3. Get more involved in extracurricular activities and experience a heightened sense of community and inclusion (as well as have some fun!);
  4. Obtain guidance for career readiness, professional growth, and future opportunities;
  5. Find more opportunities for financial support as the cost of education remains a pivotal concern, with the expectation of transparent communication about financial matters.

It is tremendous news that our students want to perform well, develop careers, and engage in campus life. I hope each unit at EOU will have critical conversations about these and other student expectations which I will share with you in the coming weeks.  How can we meet students where they are and help facilitate their goals?

Mounties continue to excel in so many areas including:

  • A group of faculty, staff, and students presented “Making Place: Developing a Culturally-Affirming, Community-Engaged Summer Bridge Program in Rural Oregon” at the Conference of Community Writing in Denver, Colorado. This wonderful program advances our belonging and preparedness of students, and I am thrilled they are receiving attention for their efforts. Congratulations to Professors Cori Brewster and Jennifer Slinkard; Associate Vice President Bennie Moses-Mesubed; Director Sam McCumber; and lead mentors Bolei (Jeyda) Titiml, Billal (Lyresha) Tamtreng, Hailey Hochhalter, and Losii Daniel.
  • Professor Anna Cavinato received notification from the American Chemical Society that the EOU Chemistry Club has won another “Outstanding Student Chapter Award” for the 2022-2023 Academic Year! 
  • The Eastern Oregon Film Festival was tremendously successful, and EOU is proud to be a sponsor of that event. Shout out to our Website Administrator Jesse Cimon for helping to make it so spectacular!
  • Shout out to Mark Stratton, Donald Adams, Sarah Hollenbeck, and Suzannah Moore, who collaborated on placing EOU banners on our flagpoles. They are amazing!

It was such a joy at Homecoming to meet with our alumni and hear about their successes. Many of the stories were rooted in the pivotal experiences they had at EOU. At the football game, I shared with my spouse that I could feel my heart growing even fonder of EOU over the course of the weekend because of the storytelling — it is so powerful! The parade, tailgate, and fun events, along with the student, faculty, and staff enthusiasm were all contagious!

We continued our push to engage the community over the last few weeks, including a trip to Southeast Oregon and Idaho. I attended a “Patio Party” with alumni and donors at Foundation Chair Mark and Stacy Pearson’s home. I left with a full belly and a lot of gratitude for the support of our Treasure Valley-based alumni. The next day I had meetings with Malheur ESD Superintendent Mark Redmond and new Trustee Chuck Hofmann to learn more about how we can better collaborate to serve eastern Oregon.

A few days later, I had an incredible experience at ¡Conéctate!, hosted at Blue Mountain Community College. I was able to learn more about Latino and Indigenous experiences in higher education at the event. I participated in my first friendship dance with members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and other guests. Kudos to Jose Abrego Melendez for bringing together a great program with our community college partners and students.

Finally, I had a wonderful tour of our science labs, courtesy of Scientific Instrument Technician Jodi Hickerson, Science Lab Preparator Cuylar Whalon, and Dean Peter Geissinger. Their well-maintained labs and equipment are a testament to the high-quality academic experience that faculty and staff deliver to our students. As a final treat, they took me to the greenhouse to view the beautiful orchids and cacti that grow on our (now chilly but still beautiful) campus. 

Wishing you a wonderful week!



Kelly Ryan, Ph.D.