140 years of SOU
Mail Tribune November 4, 2012
SOU students help make a movie
Daily Tidings September 3, 2012
John Thomas ’73, successful local car dealer
Mail Tribune November 5, 2012
SOU celebrates 140th birthday
The Siskiyou November 3, 2012
SOU introduces new smartphone app
The Siskiyou November 5, 2012
Photos from the Raiders’ most recent home football game
Steve Babuljak photography November 1, 2012
Second half of OUS Chancellor George Pernsteiner on Five on 5
KOBI 5 November 2, 2012
Raiders football tied for #12 in latest national poll
NAIA November 5, 2012
Men’s cross country team ends regular season ranked #1 in nation
NAIA November 4, 2012
Full version of print clips
140 YEARS OF SOU
The school has seen numerous changes — and name changes — over its proud history
By Paul Fattig
November 04, 2012 2:00 AM
The Rev. Joseph Henry Skidmore wouldn’t recognize the old place today.
Back on Nov. 4, 1872, the Methodist minister was the president of the Ashland Academy, which opened its doors to provide a place of higher learning in Southern Oregon.
Tuition per term was $4 for primary, $5 for preparatory, $6 for sub-junior and $8 for senior, according to the 2002 book “Remembering: A History of Southern Oregon University,” written by emeritus professor Arthur Kreisman.
The small academy, which also offered language classes for $3 a term back in the day, would morph into what is now SOU, albeit it took more than a century and nearly a dozen name changes. “We’re a wonderful story about a group of people in 1872 realizing they wanted to have higher education opportunities in the Rogue Valley so the residents wouldn’t have to make that long trek up to northern Oregon,” observed SOU President Mary Cullinan.
The school, beginning with only a handful of students in a small building that looked remarkably like a typical Methodist church, now is spread across 175 acres with nearly 7,000 students. There has been a bit of a tuition hike: Full-time undergraduate tuition is $7,521 per term for residents and $20,238 for nonresidents.
While 70 percent of the student body is from Oregon, students from 35 countries are expected come winter term, Cullinan said. The school has 143 international students.
One of seven institutions in the Oregon University System, SOU consists of the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and the School of Education. It also is the home of Jefferson Public Radio and the public access station Rogue Valley Television.
In addition to the main Ashland campus, classes are available at the school’s satellite campus in downtown Medford, as well as online.
The university, with a total annual revenue of $92.1 million, offers 36 majors and more than 100 areas of study.
“We were founded to train teachers,” Cullinan explained. “That was our original mission. We still train the majority of teachers in Southern Oregon.
“But we also a train a huge number of business owners and bankers — the business community is fueled by our graduates,” she added. “And we are the spirit behind the tremendous arts community in our region.”
In 1935, a faculty member named Angus Bowmer created a summer Shakespeare program that blossomed into the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the largest theater companies in America. Since then, the school has helped create the Rogue Valley Symphony Orchestra and the Rogue Opera.
Some of the school’s history is just plain unusual. For instance, in the summer of 1953, a butterfly collector — lepidopterist — named Vladimir Nabokov rented the home of SOCE professor Arthur Taylor. When he wasn’t hiking the hills above Ashland in search of butterflies, Nabokov worked on a novel, “Lolita,” which was published in Paris in 1955.
The school’s notable graduates include Ty Burrell, Emmy Award winner for his role as Phil Dunphy on ABC’s “Modern Family”; Paulann Petersen, Oregon poet laureate; Mark Helfrich, offensive coordinator for the University of Oregon Ducks football team; Virginia Linder, the first woman elected to the Oregon Supreme Court; and Michael Geisen, 2008 National Teacher of the Year.
Medford resident Mike Finley, 65, earned a degree in biology in 1970 from what was then Southern Oregon College.
“Several of the professors I had there made a huge difference,” he recalled.
A graduate of Medford Senior High School, Finley chose the school because of its proximity to the apartment he was living in above his parent’s garage in Medford. He drove to school in a 1962 Volkswagen Bug.
“It was local, and I didn’t have a lot of money,” he said. “The cost was only $125 a quarter.”
Finley now is the president of the Turner Foundation Inc., based in Atlanta, and the former supervisor of Yellowstone National Park.
“Over the course of my two careers, I have been engaged in negotiations, court settlements and difficult planning issues with opposing parties, many with degrees from Ivy League and more prominent schools, and I never felt lacking in any way,” Finley said of his college education in Ashland. “I had no trouble understanding any of the issues I’ve faced.”
Flamur Vehapi, now 28, arrived in the Rogue Valley from war-torn Kosovo in 2005 to attend Rogue Community College. He transferred to SOU, where he graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He has since earned a master’s degree in conflict resolution from Portland State University and now teaches at RCC.
“I really enjoyed my experiences at SOU, especially because I was very involved with the community there,” said Vehapi, author of the poetry book “The Alchemy of Mind.” He is working on another book of poetry.
Dan Bulkley, 95, who coached track and cross-country at the school from 1950 until he retired in 1979, originally came to the school because of its size.
“It was a small college when I arrived, only about 600 students,” he recalled. “That’s one reason I liked it so much. “We had some great kids over the years — it was a very enjoyable experience,” he recalled. “Every now and then I run into one of my students. It’s always nice to see them again.”
Meanwhile, Cullinan predicts the university will continue to draw students from the region and beyond.
“We are going to continue to grow incrementally,” she predicted. “We have to continue to balance the needs of Oregon students with out-of-state and international students.
“We’ve come a long, long way, but we still have a regional community that understands the importance of higher education,” she added.
A university by any other name
Southern Oregon University started out on Nov. 4, 1872, as the Ashland Academy. The following are the dates of the name changes as the school evolved to become what it is today:
1872: Ashland Academy
1878: Ashland Academy and Commercial College
1879: Ashland College and Normal School
1887-90: Ashland State Normal School
1895-1909: Southern Oregon State Normal School
1909-1926: The school closed because of lack of funding
1926: Southern Oregon State Normal School
1932: Southern Oregon Normal School
1939: Southern Oregon College of Education
1956: Southern Oregon College
1975: Southern Oregon State College
1997: Southern Oregon University
Boom town: Ashland sets a cinematic scene
By Sam Wheeler
Ashland Daily Tidings
November 03, 2012 2:00 AM
Southern Oregon filmmakers are hard at work capturing scenes at an Ashland retirement home for an independent movie called “Redwood Highway.”
The film follows 75-year-old Marie on her 80-mile walk down the renowned stretch of road to lay eyes on the Pacific Ocean for the first time in more than four decades.
“Two sticks “… we need it low,” mutters director Gary Lundgren, motioning to the cameraman before the scene comes together. “Cut! That’s great. … OK, get the leaves “… quick break everyone.”
The whine of a leaf blower drowns out everything until the leaves are rustled to perfection at the entrance to Mountain Meadows Retirement Community, then the actors reset, and the cameras refocus.
“Action!” Lundgren shouts.
Ashland-based production companies Jump Time Pictures, Joma Films and Elsewhere Films are producing “Redwood Highway,” which should be wrapped up and ready for the big screen by July 2013, says producer and co-screenwriter James Twyman.
The crew plans to have a scaled-back version of the full-length film ready in time for April’s Ashland Independent Film Festival, says Twyman, who owns Jump Time Pictures.
Lundgren, who owns Joma Films with his wife, Anne Lundgren, co-wrote the screenplay.
Friday was day nine of a 20-day filming schedule that already has taken the cast and film crew through Talent, Phoenix, Grants Pass and Cave Junction, says producer Gary Kout, who owns Elsewhere Films.
It should be the crew’s last day in Ashland, Kout says.
“The movie is kind of like the greatest hits of the Redwood Highway,” Kout says.
In the movie, the Ashland retirement home will be depicted as being in Grants Pass, where Marie, played by two-time Emmy Award-winning actor Shirley Knight, 76, begins her journey, Twyman says.
The film also will star Tom Skerritt, 79, who is known for roles in “Alien” and “Top Gun.”
Producers would not reveal further details about the movie’s plot.
On Friday, cast members James LeGros and Zena Grey, who play Marie’s son and granddaughter, put in 12 hours outside Mountain Meadows.
“We’ve just discovered that Marie, my mother, is missing,” says LeGros, who lives in both Los Angeles and New York City. “The shoots have been going well, so far.”
LeGros, 50, is a former cast member of “Ally McBeal,” a TV series that ended in 2002.
“This is a beautiful place to shoot,” says Grey of New York City. “I had a chance to take a walk through Ashland. Everything is so colorful right now.”
Grey, 23, is known for roles in “Snow Day” and “Max Keeble’s Big Move.”
Both actors agree now’s a good time to be away from New York, as the city continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy.
The cast includes several actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the crew includes a half-dozen interns from Southern Oregon University who are helping behind the scenes, Kout says.
The movie will be screened in about 2,000 retirement homes throughout the United States and Canada before it’s released,” says Twyman, because the story is geared toward an older audience.
“So often, our older generation gets told they can’t do this, they can’t do that,” Twyman says. “We can all do whatever we set our minds to; your age isn’t important. “… The film carries an important theme for a senior audience.”
In 2009, the Lundgrens and Kout collaborated to produce “Calvin Marshall,” a full-length comedy about an unrefined baseball player, which was shot entirely in Southern Oregon.
“We have very supportive communities around here for filmmaking, which is great because most independent filmmaking happens in public,” Kout says.
The movie “Night Moves,” written and directed by Kelly Reichardt, also is being filmed in Southern Oregon. And Reichardt directed the recent movie “Meek’s Cutoff,” which is set in Oregon.
“This region is becoming known as a premier spot for filming independent movies,” says Twyman. “You have having amazing locations, beautiful scenery, the people are friendly “… it’s everything you could ask for.”
Home Grown: Ashland Motor Co.
November 05, 2012 2:00 AM
Editor’s note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.
What do you do and how long have you been doing it? (John Thomas speaking) We’re a used car sales business. My brother and I have been involved in auto sales for 40 years. I’ve been an auto dealer since 1991, but as Ashland Motor Co. at this current location it will be 10 years in March.
How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? I went to school at Southern Oregon University, starting in 1969. Then I left the area and moved back in 1985. Bob has lived here for the past 25 years. Bob and I both graduated from South Salem High School.
What inspired you to go into this line of work? Our grandfather was a car dealer in Madras and our dad owned dealerships in Madras, Southern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. My brother and I got into the car business when our dad started a Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge dealership in Lebanon when we got out of college in 1973.
What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? We probably wish we would’ve done it sooner. We’re happy to be self-employed, and we enjoy being self-employed at this point. But we could have set out on our own sooner.
What’s the toughest business decision you’ve made? For me, it was leaving the security of the family business and striking out on my own in 1985. Part of the motivation was to be on my own and be in a town I grew to love when I was in college. I think my brother had the same motivation, too.
Who are your competitors? We are more designed to be small and have direct interaction as owners with our customers because we don’t have salesmen. We’re an alternative to the very large stores that have a chain of command. With our clientele, we lean toward specialty and imports. … Medford has many independent used car dealers; we’re the only independent lot in Ashland. It was not easy to find a location that worked because new and used car sales businesses are a nonpermitted use in the city of Ashland. Our location is a couple blocks outside the city limits. We had a rough time finding a location, and honestly, it’s the best we could’ve dreamed up.
What are your goals? We usually have an inventory of 35 to 45 cars, but in recent times it has been very difficult to get cars. There are multiple reasons for that happening. Depending on the month, we sell 20 to 25 cars. We’re happy to sell as many vehicles as we can personally to take care of the buyers. The slowdown in the economy affected us, but we’re small enough to adjust to it. It certainly has gotten better in the past year or so. Part of what we like about our size is that we’re able to adapt to what is going on. Eventually, we would like to sell the business and lease the property. We bought this property as undeveloped dirt and designed the lot from scratch.
What training or education did you need? I majored in sociology, so there is no correlation to what we do. For being in the car business — and being self-employed — the best education is being in the car business. We learned the business during our years working at various places, including our father’s.
What’s your advice for budding entrepreneurs? Do a good business plan, really identify what all your goals, challenges and obstacles will be. I would probably start small, so you can have a hands-on approach and not delegate as much so you know what’s going on. It allows you to be more flexible and make changes. It’s probably easier to grow than to shrink. We are sensitive to how stressful it is to look at a car; what we really do is treat people the way we would want to be treated. A vocation doesn’t dictate your character, your character dictates how you run your business.
Business: Ashland Motor Co.
Owners: John and Bob Thomas
Address: 1705 Highway 99 N., Ashland