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

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/G6f0HY)

(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.

-SOU-

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.

Hospital CEO to join SOU Board of Trustees

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/9LtvdF)

(Ashland, Ore.) — Sheila Clough, the chief executive officer of Asante Ashland Community Hospital, has been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to fill the 15th seat on the Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees and was confirmed today by the Oregon Senate.

Clough has served as CEO of the Ashland hospital for the past 3 ½ years and has held management positions in health care for 25 years. In seeking appointment to the SOU board, she cited the academic and economic benefits that the university provides.

“As a resident of Ashland and the CEO of a critical community service provider and prominent employer in the area, I have a vested interest in the long-term sustainability of SOU,” Clough said. “I am honored by my appointment to this volunteer board and look forward to supporting the strategies and vision that will ensure the university’s continued success.”

Clough joined Asante in September 2013 as CEO of Asante Ashland Community Hospital and led the hospital’s integration into the Asante system and its financial turnaround. The recovery plan she implemented resulted in an $8 million turnaround for the hospital from 2013 through 2016. Patient satisfaction at the hospital improved from the 50th percentile in 2013 to better than the 80th percentile in 2016, and the hospital’s employee engagement ranking went from the 7th percentile to the 91st percentile over the same period.

“The board welcomes Sheila Clough, whose accomplishments at Asante and leadership role in the community, we believe, are indicative of what she will bring to the table,” said Bill Thorndike, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees. “Sheila understands the complementary roles of a governing board and the executive team that operate an institution such as SOU. Her expertise in health care will broaden the board’s perspective and her business knowledge will be invaluable.”

Prior to joining Asante, Clough served in a progression of leadership roles from 1998 through 2013 with Ministry Howard Young Health Care in Woodruff, Wisconsin, eventually rising to the role of president and chief operating officer. Howard Young operated an acute care hospital, a critical access hospital and an assisted living facility.

Clough earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Minnesota and an MBA for health care executives from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives and in 2014 passed the organization’s board examination to be named a fellow of the college.

She is an active member of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Lithia Springs Rotary Club, and she has developed a new partnership with Ashland High School to focus students’ attention on the possibility of careers in health care.

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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.