Inaugural Oregon Arts Medallion goes to Medford’s James Morrison Collier

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(Ashland, Ore.) — The inaugural Oregon Arts Medallion, presented by Southern Oregon University’s Oregon Center for the Arts, was awarded today to local arts patron James Morrison Collier in recognition of his widespread philanthropy in support of local arts organizations.
Collier – who taught English in Delano, Calif., before moving to Medford in 2003 – was honored during a luncheon in SOU’s Schneider Museum of Art. Speakers included SOU President Linda Schott and SOU Board of Trustees Chair Bill Thorndike, who presented the medallion.
Other guests at the presentation included acclaimed pianist and SOU music professor Alexander Tutunov, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor Armando Duran, who plays the title role in OSF’s current production of Julius Caesar. Duran spoke as Julius Caesar to honor Collier, who wrote his master’s thesis on the Shakespeare play.
The Oregon Arts Medallion was created by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU to recognize and honor outstanding philanthropy in the arts throughout Oregon. The OCA’s mission, in part, is to honor Oregonians who participate in or support the arts.
Criteria for the new award is straightforward: long-term support for the arts in Oregon. The recipient is selected by OCA Director David Humphrey and the SOU Foundation.
Collier, who is particularly interested in supporting young artists, has helped numerous local arts organizations. Medford’s Craterian Theater became the Craterian Theater at The Collier Center for the Performing Arts after Collier made an undisclosed donation five years ago. Talent’s Camelot Theatre named a new venue in Collier’s honor in 2010 after he made a $300,000 donation. Other organizations he has supported include the Rogue Valley Symphony, the Rogue Opera and the Rogue Valley Chorale.
He has also donated several pianos, including one to the Rogue Valley Manor, where he lives.
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

Annual SOU Botanical Tour to begin with Friday launch party

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(Ashland, Ore.) — A launch party on Friday for Southern Oregon University’s Botanical Tour will introduce a fully web-based tour option that includes 107 GPS coordinates for trees located across the university’s 175-acre campus, along with a printed tour brochure.
The current version of SOU’s tree tour is the largest at any university in Oregon – and possibly in the U.S.
“This is a unique area,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscape services supervisor and resident arborist. “We can grow a wide variety of trees in southern Oregon, and we have benefitted greatly from our predecessors who planted many types of trees for us to enjoy.”
There are more than 300 tree varieties at SOU and many are still being identified. SOU’s Siskiyou Arboretum in Roca Canyon – just south of the Science Building – contains more than 70 different species of trees that are native to the region and were donated to SOU by Plant Oregon in 2016.
Friday’s Botanical Tour will begin at 10 a.m. in front of the Plunkett Center, at Siskiyou Boulevard and Mountain Avenue, following a brief presentation highlighting the tour’s goals. The online tour can be found at
SOU’s Botanical Tour was launched in 2015 by Environmental Science Program student Daniel Collay, with collaboration from the Landscape Department and faculty and staff across campus. The purposes were to educate southern Oregon residents about SOU’s sustainability programs and biodiversity, inspire people on- and off-campus to expand sustainability efforts and foster engagement with groups throughout the community.
For the tour, SOU’s campus is divided into north, south east and west quadrants and selected trees are numbered from one (a black oak on the north campus) to 107 (a Douglas fir on the south campus).
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 percent of its water consumption. Visit

SOU seeks input on future direction

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Alumni of Southern Oregon University and other interested community members are being asked again to share their thoughts as the university enters the home stretch on a plan that will shape SOU’s future and how it serves students and the region.
Hundreds of responses were received after SOU reached out to community members last spring to participate in a “strengths-weaknesses-opportunities-threats” (SWOT) analysis of the university. Those responses helped shape the university’s proposed vision, mission and values ( – guiding principles that will serve as a framework for SOU’s growth and evolution.
A new online survey was released which seeks community members’ feedback on the strategic planning process to date, and on each of seven “strategic directions” that are intended to move the university toward the future that is envisioned.
The strategic directions were created this summer by the university’s Strategic Planning Committee and other campus leaders, based on the work that had been done in previous months by a broad cross-section of constituents. The directions call for SOU to transform how and what it teaches; become an employer of choice that provides excellent service; support campus sustainability and ecological resilience for the bioregion; create a diverse, equitable and inclusive community of flourishing learners; achieve and maintain financial stability; develop physical and virtual environments in which learners can thrive; and serve as a catalyst for regional economic, cultural and social development.
SOU will continue its collaborative planning process through the fall and is expected to adopt and begin implementing a new strategic plan next year. The intention is to produce a focused, achievable and forward-thinking plan that will inspire SOU’s faculty, staff and students to strive for greatness.
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