SOU Institute for Applied Sustainability to host tourism training

SOU Institute for Applied Sustainability to offer training

Southern Oregon University’s new Institute for Applied Sustainability will team with Travel Southern Oregon and its statewide counterpart, Travel Oregon, to host a sustainable tourism training seminar on April 2 in Portland for travel industry professionals. The session is an opportunity for SOU to build its reputation as a respected and influential resource in Oregon for those interested in sustainable tourism.

Pavlina McGrady, an SOU associate professor of business and fellow in the Institute for Applied Sustainability, will join Travel Oregon research coordinator Ladan Ghahramani as instructors for the training session. Participants will become the first cohort of SOU’s Sustainable Tourism Practitioner Training program as they learn about the future of sustainable tourism through a day-long schedule of interactive lectures, and local and international case studies. There will also be a review of Travel Oregon’s 10-year strategic plan.

The session – from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 2, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland – will serve as a lead-up to the three-day Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which begins at the convention center the following day. The sustainable tourism session is limited to 60 participants, and is sold out.

The initial training session on Sunday is funded by a $10,000 strategic investment grant from Travel Southern Oregon. A second training session, to be scheduled in May or June in southern Oregon, will likely be paid for by the Institute for Applied Sustainability.

The SOU institute was created last fall as part of an historic, $12 million gift to SOU from Lithia Motors and its GreenCars division. The two largest elements of the gift are a $5 million scholarship fund and $4 million to establish the Institute for Applied Sustainability, which will collaborate with Lithia on projects including a national sustainability conference, an academic credential in corporate sustainability and a national sustainability demonstration site.

Misinformation about SOU's fiscal realignment cleared up by President Bailey

President corrects misperceptions on fiscal realignment

SOU President Rick Bailey reached out to students and employees this week to correct various misinformation and misperceptions that have circulated among the campus community regarding the cost-management portion of the university’s four-pronged fiscal realignment plan.

The bottom line is that students and others should expect “a robust mix of academic programs and student experiences” at SOU for the foreseeable future, President Bailey said.

He specifically pointed out that the only academic program proposed for elimination at SOU is the master’s degree in Environmental Education, and all current students in that program will be able to complete their degree requirements.

“No other programs are being proposed for elimination,” he said. “Rather, our intent in identifying budget reductions was to more tightly focus some academic programs to better align with the needs of students as they graduate and begin or resume their careers.”

For example, the Theatre Program – where several inaccuracies have circulated among concerned students, staff and patrons – will continue to be a key piece of the SOU identity and an important element of the university’s overall offerings in the creative industries. The program is not one of SOU’s largest but its students, staff and patrons are vocal in their support.

“Discussions have been underway with the (theatre) department for the past several years about how we may be able to better integrate and create synergy among programs related to theater, film, video, gaming, concerts and special events – boosting the career opportunities for graduates who want to work in the creative industries,” President Bailey said in this week’s campus message. “The current fiscal realignment process accelerated those discussions.”

He also made clear that the university’s cost-cutting proposals do not include widespread layoffs. Almost 82 full-time equivalent positions have been identified for elimination by summer 2024, but 59 of those reductions will be accomplished through a combination of recurring job vacancies, retirements, voluntary departures and non-renewable contracts.

“The balance will come from current employees whose positions are proposed to be eliminated, and we are acting with openness, kindness, compassion, and support as we move through this process,” the president said.

He added that the current employees whose positions are proposed for elimination will not be identified by name, out of respect for their privacy, but those impacted positions will soon be made public. The positions are spread across faculty, classified and unclassified employee groups, with care taken to avoid or keep to a minimum any impacts to student experiences or academic opportunities.

President Bailey said he expects additional feedback and potential adjustments as he and other campus leaders continue to address the university’s structural deficit. The cost management plan will be presented on March 17 to the SOU Board of Trustees, and the board will take action on the plan at its meeting on April 21.

Cost management is one of four “planks” that make up SOU’s overall fiscal realignment strategy. The other planks, or elements, of the plan are to build a system of support for research and other projects to be funded by external granting agencies and organizations, leverage the ongoing surge in philanthropic giving to SOU, and diversify revenue by pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities such as solar power production and an on-campus senior living facility.

“Our ultimate goals are to repair the structural flaws in SOU’s financial model that have resulted in recurring budget crises over the past 25 years, and ensure continued access and academic success for our students,” President Bailey said. “We will achieve both by reducing SOU’s reliance on tuition and state appropriations.”

SOU recycling myths debunked

Debunked: Tackling five myths about recycling at SOU

It’s not always easy to understand what can and can’t be recycled. It differs from area to area depending on the capabilities of the sorting facility in the closest proximity to where we live. It is also so important to get clean waste streams to help secure end markets for the resource. Sarah Ross, SOU’s Student PEAK Zero Waste Coordinator, sat down with Jamie Rosenthal, Recology’s Waste Education Officer, to go over some recycling myths and how we can understand them better.

Here are some myths, debunked to help with the confusion:

Jamie: There’s a lot to feel good about, and a lot more work to be done. I’m proud of Recology’s long- standing relationship with SOU, and I feel especially grateful for the positive impact the students have made on the overall success of our city’s recycling program. We’ve actually received feedback from our sort facility in Northern California that Ashland has the cleanest recycling stream of all the locations they accept material from, which is certainly celebration-worthy. I think what sets Ashland apart from other locations is the overall desire to expand our understanding of recycling, and to do better when we learn what that is.

Sarah: I started out by asking Jamie one of the most common recycling myths; if an item has the chasing arrows symbol on it, it’s recyclable?

Jamie: No. That symbol isn’t trademarked, so any manufacturer can slap it on any product. All too often, sadly, this maneuver is to manipulate you, the consumer, into feeling good about your purchase. The chasing arrow symbol and numbers (1-7) were created in the late ‘80s to refer to the general category of plastic resin the item is made from, not its recyclability. Another little known fact: there are over 40,000 types of plastic resin, not seven. This is why we aren’t able to recycle “by the numbers.”

On SOU’s campus, we can recycle #1 and #2 plastic bottles, plastic jugs and plastic tubs that are clean and dry. You can recycle soft plastic bags at your local grocery store, or at the Ashland Recycle Center, or drop them off at the Student Sustainability Office in Stevenson Room 310 to be used for the Student Food Pantry – not in the recycling bin.

Sarah: Drawing from the first question, I then asked Jamie, our second myth; it’s harder to recycle now than it was years ago?

Jamie: The items allowed in mixed recycling bins at SOU are the same currently as in the past. What has changed is the impetus to reduce non-recyclable items in the bins and do a better job of recycling correctly. If you check the SOU recyclable materials page of what is allowed in your bin, to avoid the urge to ‘wishfully’ recycle items you think should go in, you are doing fantastic work!

Sarah: In terms of compostables, which we have on SOU’s campus, it’s often confused that can compostable products like cups, plates and cutlery be recycled or composted?

Jamie: Ack! Oh no. Composting and recycling happen in wildly different ways. When “compostables” end up in recycling bins, they can mix with the high value, desired plastic and compromise its quality. Additionally, compostables are problematic at industrial composting facilities because they don’t actually break down at the rate needed for those facilities to churn out their product in a timely manner. Imagine opening up a brand new bag of compost, only to find large hunks of artificial material in the mix. If you’re a serious gardener, this just isn’t OK.

Sarah: Let’s get into myth No. 4, that always stumps recyclers – that lids are recyclable.

Jamie: When a metal lid is no longer attached to the can it originated from, it will find its way into problematic places, such as the folds of cardboard, thus contaminating that specific stream of material. Plastic lids are always a recycling ‘no’, but if you’re able to contain the metal lid within the metal can it came from, say by stomping on the edge of the can once the metal lid is inside, you’re good to recycle that. Just make sure to check your work, by turning the can upside down and shaking it vigorously, to make sure your lid doesn’t fall out.

Sarah: Finally, the predicament that most people ask about; of the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), if I’m recycling, am I doing my very best for the planet?

Jamie: Unfortunately, no. Reducing and reusing are far more important than recycling. If you’d like to go the extra green mile, consider buying used instead of new. Did you know that buying a refurbished computer instead of a new one saves 139 pounds of waste, 7,300 gallons of water, and 2,300 kilowatt hours of energy required to manufacture a new one?

Here’s the GOOD news: SOU’s Recycling Center has student workers who hand sort the university’s recycling and are careful and conscious about recycling correctly. Please help them out by washing out all recyclable containers as this can contaminate a whole bag of recycling. According to Recology’s sorting facility where we send our material, we get it right 95 to 96% of the time, whereas the rest of the country is hovering around getting it right only 70% of the time. Thank you for being part of the solution, and keep up the great work – we know it’s not easy and your efforts are SO appreciated! And let’s also not forget – reducing and reusing (and repairing) is always far more important than recycling.”

Story by Jamie Rosenthal, Recology waste education officer, and Sarah Ross, SOU’s PEAK Zero Waste Coordinator

Food pantry inventory is low, with food drive underway

February Food Drive addresses demands on SOU Food Pantry

(Ashland, Ore.) — The timing of this month’s February Food Drive couldn’t be better for Southern Oregon University’s Student Food Pantry, which directly benefits from all food and monetary donations generated by the food drive. The on-campus Food Pantry has nearly been emptied by a combination of unprecedented use and high student need.

A total of 943 student visits to the Food Pantry in SOU’s Stevenson Union have been logged, to date, through this academic year’s summer, fall and winter terms. That’s almost double the 479 total visits to the Food Pantry during the previous, full academic year.

“Frankly, without the Food Pantry, I would have to drop out of college,” one student said in a recent, anonymous user survey. “My roommate and I depend on the food pantry to get necessary food, like canned fruits and veggies, that we just wouldn’t be able to afford. We likely would only be able to eat macaroni and ramen without the food pantry – which isn’t enough to truly support the level of work I do, or the studying I need to do for my degree.”

“During the school year, I can’t work enough to pay rent, bills, books, parking, etc., and cover all food costs,” another student said in the Food Pantry’s user survey.

SOU’s February Food Drive – part of the Governor’s State Employee Food Drive – began Feb. 1, continues through the end of the month and will support the Student Food Pantry’s operations throughout the year. ACCESS, the Community Action Agency for Jackson County, brings supplies to the SOU pantry each week, but those donated items are often gone within a day or two.

Anyone can make a one-time monetary donation online, and employees have the additional option of signing up for a monthly payroll deduction. Visit and donate by Feb. 28 to participate in the February Food Drive.

The popular “Fill the Bin” building competition is also back for the 2023 food drive, with the building that collects the largest volume of non-perishable food items by weight receiving bragging rights for the year. Collection bins have been placed on the main floor of all SOU buildings – including community drop-off stations in the box office for the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, the Stevenson Union foyer and in Lithia Motors Pavilion – and will be collected and weighed on Friday, March 3.

The goals of this year’s food drive are to generate monetary donations of $6,000 and at least 3,000 pounds of food – the combined equivalent of about 20,000 meals.

Items in highest demand at the Student Food Pantry include hearty soups, instant oatmeal, microwaveable/instant meals, nut butters, pasta, pasta sauce, canned beans, cereal, non-dairy milk and snack bars.

Questions about the food drive or the Student Food Pantry can be directed to or visit the February Food Drive website at for more information.


Philanthropic support soaring at SOU

Philanthropic giving increasing significantly at SOU

Philanthropic support of SOU has soared over the past five years, the result of an intensive effort to transition the university toward a future of sustainable financial operations and improved student access.

New gifts and pledges grew nearly 125% over that period, according to Janet Fratella, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the SOU Foundation.

“In 2022, we received the two largest gifts in our history, and we are on pace to continue setting new records as we embark on the university’s inaugural comprehensive campaign,” Fratella said.

Philanthropy has become a pivotal piece of revenue for public universities across the country over the past 30 years.

“As funding from the state has declined, the need for private gifts has increased and this added revenue over the long-term helps offset a continuing need to increase tuition, year after year,” Fratella said.

Investments from the university and its foundation over the past several years have provided the needed infrastructure to increase giving in new and significant ways.

“Philanthropy  is one of the new financial bedrocks of SOU, along with the strategic realignment of our operations and programs, targeted grant applications and entrepreneurial opportunities to create new revenue streams,” President Rick Bailey said.

The university received a $3 million estate gift in early 2022 from legendary wrestling coach Bob Riehm, who passed away in November 2020. A third of the gift endowed the men’s wrestling head coach position and two-thirds will be used to fund scholarships for the team’s student-athletes.

Riehm coached the school’s wrestling program for 25 years beginning in 1969, winning three national championships and mentoring 100 NAIA All-Americans. He compiled a 270-71-2 career record and has been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame, the Oregon Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and the SOU Sports Hall of Fame.

Bailey, Fratella and others announced in September what is easily the single largest gift in the university’s 150-year history – a whopping $12 million over 10 years from Lithia Motors, a Medford-based Fortune 200 company. The gift created the Lithia & GreenCars Momentum Fund, which will be used “to propel the university forward by investing in people and programs to implement the university’s and the company’s shared vision of sustainability and diversity.”

According to Bailey, the Lithia commitment will likely become a catalyst for other companies and individuals to participate in making a significant difference in both social and environmental change.

“A gift of this magnitude and scope has the potential to increase our national profile,” President Bailey said.

The Momentum Fund establishes a $5 million scholarship and leadership development program designed to recruit and retain first-generation and/or minoritized populations traditionally underrepresented in higher education. The first cohort of scholars will be named in 2023.

Another $4 million from the Momentum Fund will be used to establish the Institute for Applied Sustainability, which will be anchored by four distinguished faculty members and two administrators – all of whom bring sustainability expertise into their work, academic research or teaching. The institute will be led by Vince Smith, Ph.D., professor of environmental science and policy and director of the Division of Business, Communication and Environment. Members include Pavilina McGrady, Ph.D., associate professor of business; Bret Anderson, Ph.D., associate professor of economics; Christopher Lucas, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Communication, Media and Cinema Program; Jessica Piekielek, Ph.D., professor of anthropology; and Rebecca Walker, the university’s sustainability director.

The institute’s mission will be to identify and implement initiatives that move the university toward sustainability in campus operations and leadership. Its members will collaborate with executives from Lithia to develop projects and programs, such as the creation of a national sustainability conference, an academic credential in corporate sustainability and a national sustainability demonstration site.

The Momentum Fund also provides $1 million to support the university president’s efforts to develop  new ways of solving complex problems, and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. In addition to the Momentum Fund, Lithia & GreenCars have pledged to “electrify” SOU by providing electric vehicles to the university and installing charging stations across campus.

Finally, the company will continue to support the Lithia & GreenCars/Raider Golf Tournament, building upon many years of SOU athletic programs success. Proceeds from the annual tournament – which has raised more than $600,000 in each of the past two years – are used to provide scholarships to student-athletes.

“As we continue to engage more and more of our alumni and donors in the life of the university and demonstrate the impact of giving, we will see continued support and success,” Fratella said.

Food drive begins Feb. 1

State Employee Food Drive begins next week

The annual Governor’s State Employee Food Drive, also known as the February Food Drive, is a monthlong effort that begins Feb. 1, and all food and money received at SOU will directly address hunger at the university by supporting the Student Food Pantry’s operations throughout the year.

Donations in any amount or quantity will be welcomed – whether by accepting the “Governor’s Challenge” to donate $12 per month and a total of $144 for the year, contributing a different amount or leaving canned or packaged food in well-marked collection bins that will be placed on the main floor of each SOU building.

Anyone can make a one-time monetary donation online, and employees have the additional option of signing up for a monthly payroll deduction. Visit and donate by Feb. 28 to participate in the February Food Drive.

The popular “Fill the Bin” building competition is also back for the 2023 food drive, with the building that collects the largest volume of non-perishable food items by weight receiving bragging rights for the year. Collection bins will be placed in buildings beginning Feb. 3, and will be collected and weighed on Friday, March 3.

Items in highest demand at the Student Food Pantry include hearty soups, instant oatmeal, microwaveable/instant meals, nut butters, pasta, pasta sauce, canned beans, cereal, non-dairy milk and snack bars.

Questions about the food drive or the Student Food Pantry can be directed to or visit the February Food Drive website at for more information.

SOU solar transition receives support from Congress

SOU receives solar support from Congress

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University will receive $2 million to support its transition to solar power and energy independence, a result of the federal appropriations bill hammered out through months of negotiations and approved by Congress last week.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon included the solar project in the spending bill at the request of SOU President Rick Bailey. The allocation will be used to partially fund the university’s multi-year solar transition.

“The entire Southern Oregon University community is grateful for the support of the federal government as we begin our effort to become the nation’s first public university to produce all of its own daytime electricity on its campus,” President Bailey said. “We especially appreciate the support and work of Senators Wyden and Merkley for prioritizing our sustainable energy conversion in this year’s federal spending bill.

“This allocation will allow us to take a substantial step toward our goal, and it reinforces our institution’s commitment to environmental stewardship, financial prudence and responsible leadership,” he said. “We look forward to beginning our next round of solar installations to further reduce both our dependence on the electrical grid and the day-to-day costs of powering a 21st century campus.”

The federal funding comes just two months after SOU received a $1 million grant from the Oregon Department of Energy to pay for most of a $1.34 million project to add solar arrays to The Hawk Dining Commons and the Lithia Motors Pavilion/Student Recreation Center complex. That project also includes the installation of battery storage at The Hawk to support students, first responders and the broader community, if needed.

The new federal allocation will help pay for additional solar arrays on SOU’s parking lots and rooftops. Producing all of its own electricity will save SOU at least $700,000 per year in utility costs, and President Bailey plans to expand the program from there – additional solar installations will eventually enable the university to generate income by selling electricity to local utilities. He achieved a similar but smaller solar project at Northern New Mexico College, where he served as president before joining SOU.

SOU will continue to implement energy conservation and energy efficiency measures as it increases its solar capacity.

The university currently has nine solar arrays on its Ashland campus, plus an array at the Higher Education Center in Medford and a pole-mounted array installed last year by a nonprofit on land leased from SOU. The two new arrays supported by the state grant will increase SOU’s solar capacity, and the federal funding will push the project forward even further.

SOU’s first solar array – a 6 kilowatt project with 24 solar panels – was installed on the rooftop of Hannon Library in 2000. A total of five new arrays have been added in just the past three years, in projects funded through a combination of private investors, grants, the student body and the university. SOU’s Hawk Dining Commons and McLoughlin Residence Hall each have solar hot water systems installed to augment their natural gas domestic water heating, and the campus also has three net-zero buildings – they create as much or more energy than they use.

The transition to solar energy is one of four entrepreneurial opportunities SOU is pursuing to create more of its own revenue. The university has also begun a project to demolish the long-vacant Cascade housing complex and replace it with a senior living facility that produces partnerships between its residents and the university. Funding for the demolition has been approved by the state and is expected to begin in the next few months.

Other projects that will produce revenue or reduce expenses for SOU include the establishment of a University Business District in southeast Ashland – discussions are underway with the local business community – and replacement of its operational software with the cutting-edge Workday platform, which eventually will save the university about $750,000 per year in recurring costs.

The projects are part of an effort to realign SOU’s financial structure, reducing expenses to better reflect current enrollment and academic interests, fight the national trend of skyrocketing tuition, expand revenue sources and position the university for strategic growth.


pre-consumer waste is composted at The Farm at SOU

“Pre-consumer” composting closes loop at SOU dining operations

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Hawk dining commons at Southern Oregon University is now addressing the issue of potential food waste at both ends of the food service stream, after beginning a new program this month to collect and compost scraps generated in the preparation of student meals. The composted “pre-consumer” waste is used to enrich soil at The Farm at SOU – and grow more produce for the dining commons.

The dining facility – operated by Aladdin Campus Dining and used primarily by students in SOU residence halls – tackled the issue of post-consumer waste three years ago by using a small grant from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to replace 10.5-inch plates with nine-inch plates. The larger plates tended to encourage diners to take more food than they could consume in one sitting.

“This composting program is just another step in our efforts to create a more sustainable dining operation on campus,” said Daniel Kelly, marketing and sustainability coordinator for Aladdin’s SOU operations. “Switching to a smaller plate size a few years ago was an effort to generate less post-consumer waste. This is just another avenue for us to tackle the same issue of reducing waste … but this time it’s in the area of pre-consumer waste.”

The new program will result in the composting of about 400 pounds of food preparation waste each week – materials such as egg shells and scraps from fruits, vegetables and bread. The two-step collection process begins with compostable waste being deposited in specially marked green bins adjacent to the Hawk’s kitchen prep tables; that waste is moved to larger, secondary containers when the smaller bins fill, and the larger containers are transported by truck on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to The Farm, a few blocks to the northeast.

Aladdin plans to expand the composting program to all other dining locations on campus – Elmo’s and Einstein Bros. Bagels in the Stevenson Union, Southern Grounds at the Hannon Library and the Landing at Raider Village.

Kelly acknowledged the unanswered question: why not compost post-consumer food scraps? That’s a bit more complicated, he said, because scraps from diners’ food plates are often mixed with materials such as meat that typically can’t be composed due to health and safety concerns. But potential solutions that may allow some form of post-consumer composting will continue to be explored.

In the meantime, all partners in the new pre-consumer composting operation – SOU Dining, The Farm at SOU, and Facilities Management and Planning – are pleased that the “closed loop” program will support the university’s sustainability goals while improving productivity.

“As we get more and more produce from The Farm in our dining operations, being able to take some waste back to The Farm to turn it into compost creates a circular aspect, as that compost later gets used to support the crops at The Farm to generate more produce,” Kelly said. “It’s a win for plants, the environment and all the people who interact with food on campus – students, staff and community members.”


Patridge hired as general counsel

Patridge hired as SOU general counsel

Rob Patridge, who has held several high-profile professional and public service positions throughout Oregon, has been hired following a nationwide search to become Southern Oregon University’s in-house attorney. He will begin work as SOU’s general counsel on Dec. 5.

“Rob’s varied legal career has been punctuated by innovation and leadership, guiding his clients through situations both routine and ground-breaking,” SOU President Rick Bailey said this week in a message to campus. “His experiences will benefit SOU as we re-engineer our financial structure by developing entrepreneurial revenue sources.”

Patridge has served four years as the Klamath County District Attorney, almost five years as chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, two years as general counsel and district director for former U.S. Representative Greg Walden, three terms as State Representative for Oregon House District 50 and two years as a Medford City Council member.

He has directed several “change management” efforts for clients, and led government and business leaders through emerging issues in commercial alcohol, tobacco, hemp and cannabis regulation, in his current position as regulated products leader at the international Deloitte Consulting firm. His clients at Deloitte have also included health care and financial institutions.

Patridge’s other work experience includes 13 years as managing member of the Covey Consulting firm, three years as president of Powder River’s Meridian Investments branch, six years as general counsel for Pacific Retirement Services, Inc., almost four years as a deputy district attorney for Jackson County and five years with Applied Laser Systems, Inc., of Medford.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree from Willamette University, and has southern Oregon roots, graduating high school in Eagle Point.

Patridge succeeds Jason Catz as SOU’s general counsel, following Catz’s resignation earlier this year to take a position at Oregon State University.

“I want to personally thank our search committee – led by Vice President Toya Cooper – for the successful search that led to Rob’s hiring,” President Bailey said. “I encourage each of you to welcome Rob to our campus and to get acquainted with him as time allows.”

John Johnstin hired as student activities and Stevenson Union director

John Johnstin named director of student activities and Stevenson Union

SOU has a new director of student activities and the Stevenson Union. Dean of Students Carrie Vath, Ph.D., is happy to introduce John Johnstin (he/him) to the campus community. John was selected following an in-depth search that included several strong candidates.

“The search committee was impressed with John’s experience, ideas and collaborative style,” Vath said. “I am very excited to have John as a member of the Student Life team.”

John joins SOU from Notre Dame University, where he served as the assistant director of student engagement and community engagement in addition to interim director of the Gender Relations Center. His official start date with SOU was October 17; his role oversees Student Activities, the Stevenson Union, Clubs and Organizations, and New Student Programs.

SOU stood out to John in several ways. He said that “many things excite me about SOU but the people (students, staff, and faculty) and the institutional potential stand out the most.”

John has a long history of dedication to institutions of higher education and the students they serve. He is a two-time graduate of Central Michigan University, with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in higher education administration. While pursuing his studies at CMU, John served as a residence hall director for seven years. During that time, he was involved with campus organizations that support survivors of sexual aggression and mentoring college-aged men.

John moved next to Dallas, Texas, and the University of Texas at Dallas. He served as an assistant director of student organizations during his three years there. He also served as co-chair of Welcome Week(s) and Homecoming. The University of Notre Dame brought John back to the Midwest for the past seven years. His work in the Gender Relations Center focused on student leadership, mentoring peer educators and violence prevention programming.

“I hope to help our students and staff to develop a robust, engaging and exciting student experience from admission through graduation,” John said.

SOU students and employees are encouraged to stop by and connect with John in Stevenson Union 312A or reach out via email at