Distinguished alumni to be recognized at SOU commencement event

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Nearly 40,000 graduates have earned degrees at Southern Oregon University since its founding in 1872, and four of them will be singled out as part of Saturday’s 2017 commencement activities for the merit they have brought to SOU.

This year’s SOU alumni award recipients are Victoria Kelly, for Distinguished Alumni; Ryan Wines, for Distinguished Young Alumni; James Van Delden, M.D., for Distinguished Service; and Kathleen Thomas, for Excellence in Education. The awards will be presented at the Pre-Commencement Alumni Breakfast on Saturday morning.

Kelly, who earned her SOU bachelor’s degree in social science and human services in 2005, experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when her 17-year-old son disappeared in January 1999, and his body was discovered 18 months later. She turned her grief into advocacy and education, cofounding the Tommy Foundation, serving as a member of the Southern Oregon Child Abduction Response Team and acting as a senior consultant for Team Hope/National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Her efforts have helped extend support to more than 14,000 families.

Wines, a 2001 marketing graduate at SOU, is the founder and CEO of Marmoset, a boutique music agency in Portland. He and his team craft original music for film, advertising and television, and curate rare, vintage and emerging artists for music licensing. Wines first recognized his passion for music as a radio DJ at SOU, and has since has pursued creative work while also advising record labels and artists including Beat the World Records, The Dandy Warhols, Dolorean and The Dimes.

Van Delden, who emigrated with his family from the Netherlands to Grants Pass in 1961, became a U.S. citizen while attending SOU and received his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1970. He attended medical school at Creighton University in Nebraska and joined the U.S. Army in 1971. After retiring from active duty in 1971, he joined the Army National Guard and the Indian Health Service as a civilian.

He has delivered babies in war-torn nations, cared for children on Native American reservations of the Great Plains, and served on medical missions in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Van Delden retired from the Army in 2001 at the the rank of brigadier general, and he continues to volunteer with veterans’ organizations and the Omaha Nation tribal clinic in Nebraska.

Thomas entered SOU as a non-traditional student – holding off on her higher education until her youngest child entered elementary school – then earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2004 and her master’s degree in teaching in 2008. Her path toward teaching began with an active role in her children’s education, regularly volunteering in programs including German kindergarten; international schools in Belgium, Holland, and Norway; British primary school; parochial school; and public schools in Florida and Oregon.

She discovered a passion for chemistry while at SOU, and has taught at North Medford High School for the past eight years and served as science department head for the past four years.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU to observe Indigenous Peoples Day

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(Ashland, Ore.) — The contributions and cultural significance of Native American populations will be celebrated annually at Southern Oregon University when the campus begins observing Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday of October, beginning this year.

SOU President Linda Schott declared the university’s intention to observe Indigenous Peoples Day after student Lupe Sims and the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee took the proposal to three governing boards on campus. The University Planning Board, Faculty Senate and Associated Students of Southern Oregon University each approved the request, which will result in a celebration similar to that of Veterans Day at SOU. No classes will be canceled, but the occasion will be observed through special programming.

“The indigenous cultures that have evolved in the Americas for millennia are certainly worthy of acknowledgement and have particular relevance to our state, in which nine sovereign tribes are recognized,” President Schott said. “SOU has a vibrant population of Native American students, and this celebration will honor the legacies of their families and ancestors.

“This will provide an excellent opportunity for all of our students to learn more about the non-European history of our region and our country.”

SOU joins several other universities, four states and at least 39 U.S. cities – including Portland, Eugene and Corvallis in Oregon – that observe Indigenous Peoples Day.

It is typically celebrated on the second Monday of October, which the U.S. has observed as the federal Columbus Day holiday since 1937.

At least 17 states – including Oregon – do not recognize Columbus Day as a holiday. Oregon observed it as a “day of commemoration” – but not a legal holiday – until the 1985 Legislature added a holiday for Martin Luther King Day, combined Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as Presidents’ Day and eliminated all “days of commemoration.”

SOU’s Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee sought President Schott’s endorsement of the new Indigenous Peoples Day after gathering approvals from the three on-campus governing panels. A letter from the committee asked for a declaration of “our commitment to the inclusion of indigenous people’s perspectives and objectives as a central aspect of the university’s mission.”

The president said the day of celebration is consistent with SOU’s values of commitment to its students; intellectual growth; responsibility to the natural and social world; and inclusion, diversity and equity.

SOU offers a Native American Studies Program that seeks to educate all students about the knowledge, experiences and rich cultural heritage of indigenous people. The university also has an active Native American student population, supports SOU’s Native American Student Union and sponsors Konaway Nika Tillicum – an eight-day, on-campus residential camp for Native American youth.

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About Southern Oregon University
As a public liberal arts university, SOU focuses on student learning, accessibility and civic engagement that enriches both the community and bioregion. The university is recognized for fostering intellectual creativity, for quality and innovation in its connected learning programs, and for the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

More than 1,100 graduates to receive degrees at SOU commencement

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Saturday’s Southern Oregon University commencement ceremony will mark both an end and a beginning for more than 1,100 students – the conclusion of a degree program and the start of whatever adventure their education has prepared them to take on.

The event at Mountain Arena (Raider Stadium) will begin with a processional at 8:45 a.m., and ceremonies at 9 a.m. It is expected to conclude at about 11:30 a.m.

This year’s commencement address will be presented by Winona LaDuke, a prominent Native American environmentalist and activist who twice ran for vice president on a Green Party ticket headed by Ralph Nader. LaDuke, who lives on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, was raised in Ashland and her mother – noted Oregon painter Betty LaDuke – was a member of SOU’s art faculty for 32 years.

Other noted speakers include SOU President Linda Schott, SOU Board of Trustees Chair Bill Thorndike, SOU alumna Kacie Ryan (’07) and graduating student Dante Fumagalli.

In keeping with SOU’s commitment to sustainability, the 24-page commencement booklet will be printed on paper from responsible sources. Graduates’ robes will be biodegradable and made of wood fiber from renewable, managed forests. Students will collect robes following the ceremony from graduates who no longer want them, and they will be reused next year by graduates in need.

Water bottles, provided in part by a donation from Asante, will be filled by a crew from the Aviands dining service at SOU and handed out to the first 5,000 graduates and guests.

SOU’s Class of 2017 includes an expected 866 recipients of bachelor’s degrees, plus another 61 from the Oregon Health & Science University nursing program at SOU. Another 184 students will receive graduate degrees.

The university’s Social Sciences Division will lead the way with a combined 273 bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded; the Business, Communication & Environment Division will account for 247 graduates; the Education, Health & Leadership Division will have 245; the Oregon Center for the Arts will have 143; the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Division will have 94; the Humanities & Culture Division will have 30; and the Undergraduate Studies Division will have 13.

The Dankook Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Students will be presented to new graduates Rebekah Ratcliff, an honors graduate in sociology and anthropology who has been recognized for her work on local and Latin American projects; and William Babishoff, a former radio and television personality who will receive his degree in communication with an emphasis on film, television and convergent media. The award, given to SOU’s outstanding female and male graduates, commemorates more than 30 years of friendship between SOU and Dankook University in Seoul, South Korea.

The Universidad de Guanajuato Award for Outstanding Graduate Student will be presented to Jared Brown, who will receive his master’s degree in music performance with a 4.0 grade point average. Brown served as a graduate teaching assistant in music theory/aural skills and percussion, and worked with students at Crater High School in Central Point.

This year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards will be presented to music Professor Vicki Purslow; Lisa Ciasullo, an associate professor of math; Kylan De Vries, an associate professor of sociology and gender, sexuality and women’s studies; English and writing Professor Bill Gholson; and communication Professor Alena Ruggerio.

Raider Stadium will open at 7 a.m. and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets will be required. Free parking will be available in all SOU lots throughout the day, and a free shuttle service will run to the stadium from the Mountain Avenue lot about every 15 minutes.

Saturday’s ceremony will be broadcast live on RVTV and archived for later viewing. More information about SOU’s commencement is available at www.sou.edu/commencement.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

Effort underway to recover funds stolen from SOU

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(Ashland, Ore.) — An email scheme was perpetrated against Southern Oregon University earlier this spring by an unknown person or people who fraudulently posed as an official with the contractor for SOU’s McNeal Pavilion and Student Recreation Center construction project.

As a result of this act of criminal fraud, SOU’s April payment to the contractor – about $1.9 million – was transferred to a bank account the company did not control.

Local, state and federal authorities were notified immediately after the fraud was discovered. An investigation was launched and efforts by the university are currently underway on multiple fronts to recover any and all losses.

SOU is fully cooperating with the FBI investigation, with the hope that the criminal or criminals who carried out this fraud can be brought to justice and the stolen money recovered.

“There are lessons here for anyone operating in today’s electronic business environment,” SOU General Counsel Jason Catz said today in a message to campus. “We have learned from law enforcement sources that SOU is not the only victim of this particular scheme, which has targeted other U.S. higher education institutions.

“We are also carefully reviewing our own policies and procedures to determine how we can prevent any similar incidents in the future,” Catz said.

SOU is working to reclaim any funds that remain in the bank account to which they were sent. The university is also determining the extent of its insurance coverage, and how it may help to remedy losses from any unrecovered funds.

​ The incident will not affect any university programs or operations, and will not alter the athletic pavilion construction project, which is scheduled for completion in January.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU Innovation and Leadership program taps mid-career learners

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(Ashland, Ore.) —  John Patterson and Beth Mortonson both are trying to save lives, each in a different way. In the process, they hope to graduate from Southern Oregon University, through a program designed for working professionals who have not yet completed their college degrees.

Students in SOU’s Innovation and Leadership program can finish their bachelor’s degrees while working full-time. It offers a path to degree completion for those with at least one to two years of college, a minimum of five years in the workplace at positions above the entry level and a desire to progress in leadership roles.

Capstone projects – culminating, independent research assignments – are among the final requirements for program participants, and both Patterson and Mortonson have chosen ventures related to their health care and life-saving occupations. Patterson is the deputy fire chief for Jackson County Fire District 3, and Mortonson is the clinical manager of the Asante Rogue Regional Sleep Center.

[NOTE: Media interviews about the INL program can be arranged with both Mortonson and Patterson.]

Mortonson hopes to determine in her capstone project whether patients with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices if they work first with Clinical Sleep Educators.

“Convincing patients to become adherent with CPAP treatment has proven to be an on-going challenge with inherent low national compliance rates,” Mortonson said in describing her project.

Patterson worked with other emergency care providers in southern Oregon a few months ago in promoting the PulsePoint mobile app to register people with CPR training and launching the HeartMap Challenge to build a database of automatic external defibrillator (AED) locations. The last phase of his capstone project is to increase the number of CPR-trained users of the PulsePoint app who are actually willing to provide emergency assistance when they receive alerts about someone nearby in cardiac arrest.

“Learnings associated with this research will help us formulate a data-driven plan to implement life-saving initiatives,” Patterson said.

The INL program focuses on effective leadership skills, and is designed to meet working students’ schedules. Its classes are scheduled in five-week modules with in-person classes one night per week in Medford.

Students take 16 courses – from SOU departments including business, communications, emerging media and psychology – over a period of 21 months.

Applications are now being accepted for people interested in joining the INL program’s next group of students, who will begin their coursework this fall. For more information, contact Moneeka Settles at settlesm@sou.edu.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU and LOGOS offer on-campus option for young college students

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will partner this fall with Medford’s LOGOS Public Charter School – the largest non-virtual K-12 charter school in Oregon – to offer an SOU campus-based, dual-credit college program for LOGOS students.

The program – LOGOS Scholars Academy – will offer college-credit coursework at no cost to the charter school’s students. Its office will be located in SOU’s Susanne Homes Hall, just south of the university’s Art Building and Schneider Museum of Art.

“At LOGOS, we have created a culture where students take ownership of their own future, and we start the transition to college and internships while they are still in high school,” said LOGOS Executive Director Joe VonDoloski.

LOGOS offers a home-based, individualized curriculum to 900 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. About 60 percent of the school’s 2017 senior class will graduate high school with 15 or more college credits, VonDoloski said.

As many as 30 students in 10th through 12th grade will take part in the Scholars Academy program, which will offer guidance from a LOGOS teacher at the school’s new satellite office on the SOU campus. Interested students must apply to LOGOS to join the program and to SOU for admission into the university’s Early Entry program.

Students accepted into the Scholars Academy program will attend college classes either full- or part-time, at no cost. A reduced tuition rate will be paid by LOGOS, which is sponsored by the Medford School District.

Students from any local school district are eligible to apply for the Scholars Academy program.

“Being in direct proximity to countless resources and opportunities at SOU will make higher education more tangible and purposeful for our students,” said LOGOS art teacher Allen Smith.

SOU offers a variety of options for students who wish to earn college credits while still in high school, including the Advanced Southern Credit program, in which about 1,500 students simultaneously earn high school and college credits for approved advanced placement coursework.

“We want to give qualified, college-ready students every opportunity be challenged and learn at a high level, regardless of their age,” said Rachel Jones, director of pre-college and youth programs at SOU. “We hope for a long and productive relationship with LOGOS.”

Informational meetings for students interested in enrolling in the Scholars Academy program will be offered through the summer by LOGOS staff members. Interested families should contact the charter school (www.logoscharter.com) at (541) 842-3658 or email admin@logoscharter.com.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

 

Activist and former VP candidate Winona LaDuke to speak at SOU commencement

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Winona LaDuke, a prominent Native American environmentalist and activist who twice ran for vice president on a Green Party ticket headed by Ralph Nader, will be the keynote speaker at Southern Oregon University’s June 17 commencement ceremony.

LaDuke, 57, was raised largely in Ashland and her mother – noted Oregon painter Betty LaDuke – was a member of SOU’s art faculty for 32 years.

Winona LaDuke currently lives on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota and is the executive director of Honor the Earth (HtE), a nonprofit that supports indigenous environmental justice. LaDuke co-founded the organization in 1993 with the folk-rock duo the Indigo Girls.

“Winona LaDuke is an inspiring role model for our graduates, our students and everyone who will be attending commencement,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “She has spent her distinguished career fighting for Native Americans, for women and for those who believe that our future is inextricably bound to the health of our environment.

“It will be an honor to welcome her back to Ashland, where the foundation for her life’s work was built – much like those who will be walking in our commencement ceremony.”

LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007, in recognition of her leadership and commitment to her community. She was named one of Time Magazine’s 50 most promising leaders under the age of 40 in 1994; received the Thomas Merton Award in 1996 for her devotion to justice; and in 1998 she shared the Ms. Magazine Women of the Year award with the Indigo Girls.

She received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and her master’s degree in community economic development from Antioch University. She became a high school principal on the White Earth reservation, where she became active in Native American and women’s issues. She helped found the Indigenous Women’s Network in 1985, and four years later established the White Earth Land Recovery Project, which has bought back more than 1,200 acres of former reservation land from non-Natives and held it in a conservation trust for the Anishinaabe Tribe.

Her Honor the Earth organization played an active role in the year-long Dakota Access Pipeline protests, which ended in February when National Guard troops cleared protesters from the site.

SOU has attracted noteworthy speakers to its summer commencement ceremony in recent years, and most have had close connections to the university.

Last year’s commencement speaker was Harry “Doc” Kloor, an SOU alumnus who is the first and only person to earn two doctorate degrees simultaneously. Kloor – a writer, scientist and national technology policy advisor – earned doctorates in physics and chemistry from Purdue University.

In 2015, SOU’s commencement address was given by then-University of Oregon football coach Mark Helfrich, who is also an SOU alumnus. He was replaced as the Ducks’ coach after his team had a 4-8 season last fall.

This year’s commencement ceremony – SOU’s 91st – will begin at 9 a.m. at Raider Stadium.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

SOU to showcase innovation at annual SOAR conference

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(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon Arts & Research conference – an annual showcase of Southern Oregon University talents, interests and innovations – will begin Tuesday, May 16, and continue through Friday, May 19. The 10th annual event will feature a variety of presentations and performances by more than 600 students, faculty and staff from throughout campus.

SOAR presentations – which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from 20-minute demonstrations or performances to four-day exhibitions – seek to capture SOU’s unique and inclusive spirit. This year’s topics range from microbiology to European travels, from cryonics to infection prevention, and from a pollinator walk to an Honors College trivia competition. SOU student-athletes will demonstrate skills such as shooting a basketball and getting out of the starting blocks in a sprint. There will even be a Quidditch tournament – a magical competitive sport from the world of Harry Potter.

A total of 123 demonstrations, exhibitions, performances, poster exhibits and symposia are listed on the SOAR schedule website.

All SOAR events are free and open to the public. Those who are attending SOAR events may park for free in SOU’s Mountain Street parking lot.

More information is available on the SOAR website.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.

Top high school students use SOU program to get a big jump on college

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(Ashland, Ore.) — One student at St. Mary’s School in Medford will be two-thirds of the way through her sophomore year at Southern Oregon University when she receives her high school diploma next month. One of her St. Mary’s classmates will be almost halfway through his sophomore year at SOU.

Another high-achiever – from Phoenix High School – will be just over halfway through his second year in college when he wears his high school cap-and-gown.

They are the top three college credit-earners among about 1,500 students from at least 22 high schools in Oregon, California and Nevada currently participating in SOU’s Advanced Southern Credit program. Students in the ASC program can simultaneously earn high school and college credits for approved advanced placement coursework.

The two St. Mary’s students have accumulated 74 and 62 credits, respectively. The Phoenix High student accrued 68 college credits at SOU during his high school career. Nearly 600 high school students will graduate this year with at least eight ASC credits.

(NOTE: This year’s three high school graduates with the most credits through SOU’s program can be made available for media interviews.)

“The (college) credits are transferrable to all public universities in Oregon and to most public and private universities nationwide,” said Stephanie Butler, SOU’s pre-college youth programs coordinator.

Butler points out that about 30 percent of students who take part in the ASC program wind up graduating from SOU – even if they try other college campuses immediately out of high school.

Advanced Southern Credit, which is in its 36th year, is one of three state-accredited, dual-credit programs in Oregon. Portland State University and Oregon Institute of Technology offer similar programs.

Teachers with master’s degrees or higher from participating high schools may submit ASC course proposals to appropriate academic department chairs at SOU. Teachers of approved courses must then undergo periodic professional development training at the university. The high schools receive 14 percent rebates on their students’ tuition payments for ASC classes, to help with the cost of teacher training and to reinvest in the program.

Students pay sharply reduced tuition for ASC courses – currently $41 per credit, or $164 for a four-credit course. By comparison, enrolled full-time students at SOU paid $1,084.64 in tuition and fees during the 2016-17 academic year for four-credit courses. A waiver option – primarily for students who qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price lunch program – can drop the price of ASC courses to $5 per college credit.

St. Mary’s School offers the most ASC courses – 39 – of the participating schools, while North Medford High School offers 34 courses, Ashland High School offers 24 and Phoenix High offers 22. The most-distant participating school is Rancho High School in Las Vegas, which offers three ASC courses.

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About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

State commission approves SOU tuition rate

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission acknowledged Southern Oregon University’s collaboration, momentum and attention to the overall best interests of students by voting today to accept 2017-18 tuition rates adopted last month by the SOU Board of Trustees.

“I truly appreciate the ability of HECC members to grasp the nuances of our recent budget- and tuition-setting process, and to understand the swell of energy and passion on our campus,” said SOU President Linda Schott, who was in Salem to present the university’s tuition plan to commissioners.

HECC members approved the 12 percent tuition increase that SOU’s Board of Trustees unanimously adopted on April 21. The HECC vote finalizes a months-long process by students, staff, faculty members and others to work collaboratively through a budget cycle that was deeply affected by the state’s $1.4 to $1.6 billion funding shortfall.

The HECC must approve tuition increases above 5 percent for any of the state’s seven public universities. Gov. Kate Brown laid out strict criteria that the universities had to meet this year as justification for increases over 5 percent, and the commission approved rates today for SOU, OIT and WOU. Tuition rates for PSU and UO did not receive sufficient votes for approval, and OSU and EOU did not require HECC approval for tuition increases below 5 percent.

SOU’s tuition has risen by an average of 2.5 percent annually over the past four years, and the university currently operates on less revenue than any other public university in Oregon, on a per-student basis. SOU’s tuition increase will result in an additional $18.17 per credit hour for SOU students who are Oregon residents, and similar increases for non-residents.

Students from various universities dominated the public comment session at Thursday’s HECC meeting. Some opposed their universities’ tuition increases and others spoke in favor of the rates, recognizing that deep cuts in programs would cause more damage than higher tuition.

President Schott acknowledged that SOU’s increase will cause difficulties for some students, and said the university has tried to address some of those concerns by offsetting the tuition increase with $500,000 in additional institutional aid for students least able to afford the increased cost. The university will also expand efforts to steer eligible students toward cost-saving options such as programs that allow students to graduate in three years instead of four.

“There is little to celebrate in today’s vote,” Schott said. “We have heard our students – those who have spoken against the tuition increase and those who have reluctantly acknowledged that it is the lesser of two evils. This tuition rate enables us to continue planning an efficient, innovative and successful future for SOU, its students and our community.”

SOU has made $14 million in cuts over the past three years as part of its retrenchment process. Any additional cuts would significantly erode the university’s academic and student support programs.

Tuition at SOU will remain among the lowest of Oregon’s seven public universities. The overall cost of attendance – a combination of tuition, student fees and housing – will go up by about 5.8 percent.

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About Southern Oregon University
As a public liberal arts university, SOU focuses on student learning, accessibility and civic engagement that enriches both the community and bioregion. The university is recognized for fostering intellectual creativity, for quality and innovation in its connected learning programs, and for the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.