SOU board condemns racial injustice

SOU board receives national Nason award for exceptional leadership

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University has been selected to receive the 2019-20 John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership, given by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) – the premier organization representing higher education governing boards.

The Nason Award, established in 1992, is presented in partnership with TIAA to higher education governing boards that demonstrate exceptional leadership and initiative.

This year’s honoree, SOU, was chosen from among more than 30 nominations illustrating the critical work of boards from both public and private institutions, statewide systems and institutionally related foundations.

“The Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University is thrilled to be recognized for our accomplishments since 2015 when the board was created,” said Lyn Hennion, SOU Board Chair. “We share this award with all of the bright students at SOU who motivate our work and all of the dedicated employees at SOU, whose everyday efforts have contributed to this tremendous honor.

“I am deeply proud of the collaborative work our board has undertaken with our campus, our community, and our state, to advance higher education in Southern Oregon and for our Great State of Oregon.”

In less than five years, the SOU Board of Trustees has exhibited courageous leadership to advance the institution and the enduring value of higher education. During a major period of transition and a statewide higher education governance transition, the newly-formed SOU board hired a new president and revitalized community relationships.

It also collaborated with the university’s administration on a broad and inclusive strategic planning committee to adopt a new mission and create and implement a transformative strategic plan. SOU’s strategic plan aims to transform curriculum and pedagogy; addresses demographic shifts; supports sustainability and the university’s ecological bioregion; focuses on creativity and innovation; aims to create a truly diverse and inclusive campus; and highlights regional economic, cultural, and social development.

“During this time in higher education when nationwide, regional universities are facing unprecedented challenges, the SOU Board is just getting started,” Hennion said. “We look forward to building on this momentum to ensure an even brighter future for SOU.”

SOU is one of six institutions receiving this year’s Nason Award. Anne Arundel Community College Board of Trustees, Arizona State University Enterprise Partners Board of Directors, Loyola Marymount University Board of Trustees, McDaniel College Board of Trustees, and Parker University Board of Trustees also are honorees.

“The AGB Nason Award recognizes boards that demonstrate exemplary and courageous leadership to advance student success and institutional vitality,” said Henry Stoever, the president and CEO of AGB. “We congratulate Southern Oregon University and look forward to honoring them before their peers at our national conference.”

The SOU Board of Trustees will be honored at AGB’s 2020 National Conference on Trusteeship in Washington, D.C., on April 5-7.  AGB also will present the award to SOU’s Board of Trustees on April 21, at the next regular meeting of the SOU Board.

The Nason award is named for higher education leader John W. Nason, who served as the chair of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council and helped more than 4,000 interned students continue their college studies across the nation during World War II. Learn more about AGB’s Nason Award at