New institutional board will assume oversight of university next July
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his nominees for the Oregon State University Board of Trustees on Monday, choosing 11 names from a list of 19 suggestions forwarded by OSU.
Kitzhaber also nominated student, faculty and staff representatives for a total of 14 board members. OSU President Ed Ray will serve as a non-voting 15th member.
The governor’s picks still must be confirmed by the Oregon Senate, which is expected to consider the nominations during its interim meetings Sept. 16-18.
The list represents a mix of public and private sector experience, including several past or present college administrators, two attorneys, and corporate executives representing the high-tech, health care, agribusiness, food processing, timber, fishing and chemical industries.
There’s a broad geographic spread as well, with members from all across the state — including Bend and Newport, where OSU has significant satellite operations.
Several of the nominees are current or former members of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education or directors of the Oregon State University Foundation, and one — Pat Reser — is a major benefactress of the university.
In a statement announcing the board nominees, Ray said he was pleased with the governor’s picks.
“The most important factor in guiding Oregon State’s future is to have a board that understands the unique role that the university plays in the state, nation and world,” Ray said.
Faced with rising enrollment and declining state funding, Oregon’s three largest public universities — OSU, Portland State and the University of Oregon — are taking advantage of a new law to break away from the Oregon University System and form their own institutional governing boards.
The boards, which officially will assume their new duties on July 1, will have authority over university business policies, set tuition and fees, oversee academic programs, submit budgets to the Legislature and, in consultation with the governor, hire and fire university presidents.
Ben Cannon, Kitzhaber’s education policy adviser, said the governor was looking for a geographically and ethnically diverse board with the wisdom and experience to help OSU “seize opportunities” as they arise.
“It’s a unique and tumultuous time, in some respects, for higher education in this country, so we were looking for people with the ability to help the university navigate that,” Cannon said.
OSU spokesman Steve Clark called the nominees “a tremendous list of people who make a difference” and said the university had already begun making preparations to start holding board meetings.
In accordance with the enabling legislation, Clark said all board meetings would be open to the public. In addition, he said, OSU is looking at holding some meetings outside Corvallis and possibly streaming the proceedings over the Internet to make them available to all Oregonians.
“We do believe we have an obligation to be both transparent and accessible,” Clark said.