SOU government relations director Marc Overbeck

Career policy advocate takes on government relations position with SOU

(Ashland, Ore.) — Marc Overbeck, who has served for the past 12 years in a variety of legislative and policy roles for the Oregon Health Authority, has been selected to become Southern Oregon University’s director of government relations. He will begin his duties at SOU on Tuesday, Feb. 27.

Overbeck has served in a variety of policy-related roles over the past 30 years, including positions with the Oregon Department of Human Services, the Governor’s Child Care Commission, the Oregon Governor’s Office and as a legislative aide. In his current role as the federally-designated director for Oregon’s Primary Care Office, Overbeck has provided insight and direction to state and federal policymakers and helped guide distribution of millions of dollars in government funding.

“I’m thrilled and honored to join the team at Southern Oregon University,” Overbeck said. “As a third-generation Oregonian with ties to the southern Oregon area, it’s really special to me to give back. I’m excited to bring my decades of governmental, political and policy experience to an institution I truly believe in.”

Overbeck said he was particularly drawn to SOU by the university’s emphasis on entrepreneurial spirit and innovation as it looks beyond higher education’s traditional, two-pronged financial reliance on state appropriations and tuition revenue. SOU has addressed the issue of cost management, is expanding its efforts to secure funding from external granting agencies and organizations, and is leveraging an ongoing surge in philanthropic support. The university is also a pioneer in revenue-generating projects that include solar power generation, construction of a senior living facility and creation of a university business district.

“I’m very inspired by President (Rick) Bailey’s vision of a university of the future,” Overbeck said. “At a time of social division, the opportunity to create and foster a place where all students, faculty and community members can belong is special.

“Something wonderful is happening at Southern Oregon University under President Bailey’s leadership, and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

SOU’s government relations director is the university’s primary liaison with state and federal lawmakers, and advocates for the university on matters involving higher education policy and funding.

Overbeck received his bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from Willamette University, and was named a Hansard Scholar at the University of London. He also received a Hammer Award from then-Vice President Al Gore – a recognition of work that results in a government that works better and costs less.