Mark Helfrich to be Featured Speaker at SOU Commencement

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University is pleased to announce that SOU alumnus—and current head football coach at University of Oregon—Mark Helfrich will be this year’s featured speaker during the University’s Commencement ceremony on June 13.


Mark Helfrich.

Helfrich, who had a decorated career as a student athlete at SOU before his successful coaching career, graduated from SOU with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1996. He played football for the Raiders from 1992-1995, earning NAIA Honorable Mention All-America honors in 1993. That same season he would set team records for pass attempts in a season, passing yards in a season, passing touchdowns in a season, and total offense.

Mark Helfrich during his playing days with the SOU Raiders.

Though all of those records have since been broken, Helfrich still ranks as one of the most successful quarterbacks in Raider history, not only on the field but also in the classroom, having been named both an NAIA Scholar Athlete and FA Academic All-Star. He was inducted into the SOU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2012.
After years as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches, Helfrich’s head coaching career got off to a fast start in 2013 as he led the Ducks to an 11-2 record and a victory in the Alamo Bowl over University of Texas. Last season, under Helfrich’s leadership, the Ducks went 13-2, including victories in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the 2015 Rose Bowl semifinal game before falling to Ohio State in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
In a letter to SOU President Roy Saigo, Helfrich stated “It is with great humility and pleasure that the offer to deliver the commencement address at this year’s graduation ceremony is officially accepted. Thank you very much for this distinguished honor.”
SOU’s Commencement ceremony will take place Saturday, June 13, at Raider Stadium. The processional begins at 8:45 a.m. and the ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Commencement will be aired live on RVTV and archived for later viewing. Seating is available on a first come, first serve basis.
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, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit