(Ashland, Ore.) Approximately 1,356 students will receive degrees and certificates at Southern Oregon University’s commencement exercises on Saturday, June 15. The ceremony begins in Raider Stadium at 8:45 a.m. and will be broadcast live on Rogue Valley Community Television, cable channels 9 and 15, and rebroadcast the same day at 6 p.m. on cable channel 9.
SOU will award 983 Bachelor’s and 225 Master’s degrees, plus an additional 101 academic certificates, and 47 nursing degrees for Oregon Health Sciences University students; 64 percent of the graduates are Oregon residents; 63 percent are female and 37 percent are male. The youngest graduate is 19 and the oldest is 69. Jackson County, Oregon is the home of 722 of the recipients. Business Administration is the most popular major for this year’s graduating class, followed by Psychology.
The commencement speaker is George Pernsteiner, Chancellor Emeritus of the Oregon University System. Representing the Oregon University System (OUS) is Kirk Schueler. The student speaker will be Shane Boyd.
George Pernsteiner served as chancellor of the Oregon University System from 2004 until 2013 when he was named chancellor emeritus. As chancellor, he oversaw Oregon’s seven public universities, served as the principal staff for the State Board of Higher Education, and was the link between the universities and Oregon’s state government. He also has been vice chancellor for administrative services for the University of California, Santa Barbara, vice president for finance and administration at Portland State University, and vice provost and chief financial officer for the University of Oregon.
Kirk Schueler was appointed to the State Board of Higher Education in March 2009. Currently, Schueler is the chief administrative officer for the St. Charles Health System, a position to which he was appointed in 2011. Previously, Schueler was the president and a member of the board of Brooks Resources Corporation, a real estate development firm in Bend, Oregon, since 1993. Prior to this, he was an audit manager with KPMG Peat Marwick in Portland from 1987 to 1993.
Shane Boyd is a double major in Sociology and Mathematics, with a minor in Philosophy. He is a Ronald E. McNair Program Scholar who has been accepted into the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program to pursue teaching mathematics at the middle/high level. Boyd holds a 3.53 Grade Point Average; he hopes to eventually pursue a doctorate in a quantitative area of Sociology.
Boyd is a non-traditional student who has taken an unconventional, often challenging path to graduation. He served in the military in Iraq (2004-2006), for which he received military awards. His recently published undergraduate research into the anti-vaccination movement in our region serves as an excellent example of community-based social research.
SOU’s commencement ceremony underscores the university’s commitment to sustainability. Graduates will be wearing robes made from natural wood sourced exclusively from renewable managed forests; the fabric is proven to completely decompose in soil within a year. SOU students have coordinated a program to collect commencement gowns at the end of this ceremony to be reused next year by graduates in need.
Drinking water is available before and during the commencement ceremony at a number of water stations. Biodegradable and compostable drinking cups are located at the stations. The commencement program is printed on recycled paper, and recycling will be encouraged at the end of the ceremony.
SOU officials are expecting a large number of graduates and guests, so those attending the ceremony should plan accordingly. The gates will open at 7:00 a.m., and guests are advised to arrive early.
Free parking during Commencement is available in all parking lots on the SOU campus. A free shuttle service will run from the Mountain Avenue parking lot to the Mountain Arena approximately every 15 minutes. Please visit the Commencement web site (sou.edu/commencement) for parking and shuttle details in light of nearby construction.
Media Contact: Jim Beaver