SOU's World Series champions raise their trophies

Parade to celebrate SOU’s NAIA World Series champions

SOU students and employees are encouraged to build time into their schedules, if practical, to attend today’s parade and celebration of the university’s national champion softball team. The Raiders won the NAIA World Series title last Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri.

Today’s parade will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Mountain Street near the SOU Plunkett Center. It will proceed along Siskiyou Boulevard and down Wightman Street to the Lithia Motors Pavilion for a trophy presentation and celebration of the team’s accomplishments.

Students, employees, alumni and other fans are asked to view the parade from the lawn and sidewalk along Siskiyou Boulevard between the Stevenson Union and Churchill Hall. Softball team members, SOU President Linda Schott, the university’s Raider Band and others are expected to participate.

Employees who are interested in attending the festivities should coordinate with their supervisors to confirm attendance on work time.

The softball team’s victory in Wednesday night’s winner-take-all game against Oklahoma City in Springfield, Missouri, resulted in SOU’s first-ever national title in a women’s sport.

The Raiders made it through the World Series winner’s bracket unbeaten, then had two chances to defeat Oklahoma City – which emerged from the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament. Oklahoma City won the first game of the two-game set with SOU on Wednesday morning.

SOU is just the second Cascade Conference member to win the NAIA World Series since it began in 1981. The team finished 52-8, setting an SOU wins record for the third consecutive season under fifth-year head coach Jessica Pistole.

SOU celebrates World Series championship

Raiders softball team returns to SOU as World Series champs

The SOU Raiders softball team, united all year in its focus on a national title, was returning to Ashland today in four separate groups after winning the university’s first championship Wednesday night in the NAIA World Series.

SOU President Linda Schott, who was traveling in Mexico as part of the Ashland-Guanajuato Sister City delegation, said she followed the championship series closely and is thrilled with the result.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team and our university,” the president said. “These young women are textbook examples of student-athletes. They demonstrated their talent, toughness and determination on a national stage – and the team has a combined grade point average of 3.5. They are ideal representatives of SOU and the state of Oregon. I look forward to congratulating them when we’re all back on campus.”

Plans are in the works for a parade next week to celebrate the team’s championship. Details will be posted on SOU News when the date, time and route are finalized.

The SOU team was led on Wednesday by a complete-game effort from pitcher Gabby Sandoval and a first-inning grand slam by shortstop Paige Leeper as they defeated NAIA powerhouse Oklahoma City, 8-3, in an elimination game for both teams.

The Raiders made it through the World Series winner’s bracket unbeaten, then had two opportunities to defeat Oklahoma City – which emerged from the loser’s bracket in the double-elimination tournament. Oklahoma City won the first game of the two-game set with SOU on Wednesday morning.

SOU is just the second Cascade Conference member to win the NAIA World Series since it began in 1981, and the team set a school record for wins for the third consecutive season under fifth-year head coach Jessica Pistole.

Wednesday night’s game was Sandoval’s 33rd complete game of the season, giving her a 36-4 record – the 10th-most single-season wins in NAIA history and the most for any pitcher since 2013.

Maria Ruiz, awarded U.S. citizenship

SOU student overcomes immigration obstacles, succeeds academically

Maria Belen Ruiz Gonzalez was 5 when she arrived in the United States on the Fourth of July 18 years ago, and she thought the fireworks over Portland were a celebration of her arrival. The SOU business major will observe Independence Day as a newly-minted U.S. citizen this year, nearly closing the loop on a long cycle of immigration roadblocks and limited opportunities for her family and herself.

“There is nothing more frustrating to me than people who have a mindset that if you just come into the country legally, you should be fine,” Ruiz says. “My own family came to the states on a plane, with proper documentation.”

Her mother came first, to check out the possibilities, and Ruiz followed with her father and brother. All had visitor visas that allowed them to enter the U.S. from Paraguay, where her mother was a businesswoman and her father an accountant. They escaped a pervasive climate of violence in their hometown of Asuncion, Paraguay.

Maria Ruiz (center) in citizenship class

“On two separate occasions, armed men showed up at my home to attempt to kidnap my brother and I so they could hold us for ransom,” Ruiz says. “It’s a thing in Paraguay. On more than a few occasions, my mom was attacked in her own office by burglars demanding money.

“My parents were nice people – they didn’t have people who hated them or anything, but this is how people survive and get by in Paraguay.”

Her parents took what work they could find in the Portland area, settling in Tualatin and holding two or three under-the-table jobs each. They were overworked and underpaid, Ruiz says, because they didn’t have U.S. Social Security numbers.

Their visitor visas soon expired, driving the family deeper into the shadows of society. They couldn’t apply for Social Security cards, couldn’t file tax returns and, as immigration laws tightened, were unable to hold drivers licenses. They couldn’t leave and then re-enter the U.S., and because they had overstayed their visas it eventually became more difficult for their relatives to visit. Ruiz’s mother and aunt haven’t been able to see each other for more than 18 years.

“I refused to talk about my legal status for years due to fear instilled in me from a young age,” Ruiz says. “However, I’m here, I’m proud and I’m fearless.”

She turned a corner in her personal journey in October 2013, when she gained permanent resident status in the U.S. – a process that she describes as far more difficult and convoluted than her recent citizenship interview and test. As a permanent resident, she became eligible for a Social Security card and a driver’s license, and was able to work above-board.

She took another huge step – or a leap of faith – the following fall, when she enrolled at Portland Community College.

“I had no clue what I was doing, or what the collegiate system was like here,” Ruiz says. “Nobody in my family had ever attended college in the U.S. My dad was a CPA in Paraguay, but my mom was a self-made entrepreneur and she hadn’t even finished high school.

“So for me, my first full two years of college were guessing games.”

She initially applied for and was granted financial aid, but that was revoked when her grades plummeted during her freshman year. She paid for the entire second year out-of-pocket, working full-time at Nordstrom in Portland while attending classes and resuscitating her GPA.

Her boyfriend – defensive lineman James Aso’au Porter – was recruited to play football at SOU beginning in 2016, and a year later Ruiz decided to transfer and join him on the Ashland campus.

“I struggled a lot to fit in here,” she says. “I’m a very outgoing person, but I felt like I was out of my league at a university.

“What helped a lot was the football team – especially the defensive linemen. My boyfriend would take me to all the things they would do. I went to all the games. If I talked to other students within my classes, it was almost always the football players. They have been my go-to, my protectors, my friends here at SOU.”

Ruiz is on course to earn her bachelor’s degree next spring in business administration, with a concentration in marketing and a minor in communication. She plans to move back to Portland after graduation and would love to land a job with either Nike or Adidas – and to “wake up just as excited to learn and grow every day as I do from my classes.”

But her immigration history continues to raise obstacles for her, even though she’s been a permanent U.S. resident for five years and became a citizen in April.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process requires her to list at least one parent as a source of financial support. She can’t list her mother, who still has no reportable income and no Social Security number, and Ruiz had a falling out with her father when she was in high school and no longer communicates with him.

She got by while at PCC by using the college’s payment plan and saving money from her job. She now works at Dutch Bros. in Medford, but doesn’t earn enough to cover all school and living expenses, and has hasn’t applied for scholarships or other aid.

“I’m a barista and the tips are good, but aren’t that great,” Ruiz says. “I was granted subsidized and unsubsidized (college) loans. I now have almost $10,000 in school loans for the entire year and summer that’s coming up.”

But she has developed a sense of belonging at SOU, and credits small class sizes and caring professors for her academic success and growing confidence – specifically calling out business faculty members Dennis Slattery, Mark Siders and Jeremy Carlton.

“I’m a firm believer of fate,” she says. “I think we’re all where we’re supposed to be in this point in time. SOU is that for me.”

The admiration of her professors runs in both directions, with Slattery describing his student as “sweet and intelligent, and terribly hard-working.”

“Her story is one of courage and hard work, all in this wonderful personality and bright light of a person,” he says.

A high point in Ruiz’s journey was the U.S. citizenship process. She applied last Halloween – just a few days after she became eligible, following five years as a legal permanent resident. It meant a trip to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office in Portland, a $725 application fee and a “biometric screening” – fingerprints, photograph and signature. She received a study packet of 100 U.S. civics questions, and was told she’d need to correctly answer six out of 10 randomly selected questions during her oral exam for citizenship six months later – in April.

“I got the first six questions correct, so I didn’t need to answer any more,” Ruiz says.

As proud as she is of her accomplishment, she is most excited about what it will mean for her mother. Because Ruiz is over 21 and now a citizen, her mother is eligible for a change in her own legal status. “All that has to be done is file paperwork and pay the fees,” she says.

That’s the catch – legal fees and application expenses will amount to almost $6,000. And because she received no financial aid this year, most of Ruiz’s earnings have gone toward her own expenses. She had been putting some money aside to buy her mother a round-trip airline ticket to Paraguay for Mothers Day, to be reunited with family members for the first time since 2001. But Ruiz and her mother have agreed those savings should instead go into their immigration fund.

“I will still buy her a round trip ticket, but after all the legalities are dealt with,” Ruiz says. “For me, I won’t consider this (citizenship process) successful until my mom is 100 percent protected from deportation.”

SOU men's track team, which won a Cascade Conference championship

SOU wins 4th consecutive Cascade Conference All-Sports Championship

Southern Oregon University will hang a Cascade Conference All-Sports Championship banner for the fourth year in a row, after landing at No. 1 in the final 2018-19 standings announced Thursday by the league office.

The Raiders won conference titles in four sports – in men’s soccer and volleyball in the fall, and men’s track and field and women’s softball in the spring. The university also got important points from its men’s and women’s cross country teams, which each finished second at their championship meets, and from its third-place women’s track and field team.

SOU totaled 203.1 points and Oregon Tech – which was deadlocked with the Raiders heading into the spring season – finished in second place for the second year in a row with 191.7. Eastern Oregon (187.3), College of Idaho (181.9) and Corban (162.6) were next in the standings.

Points for the All-Sports Championship standings are awarded based on participating institutions’ top eight finishes in CCC regular-season standings – except in the cases of cross country, golf, track and field, and men’s wrestling, whose scores are based on finishes in conference championship contests. The scoring formula also takes into consideration the number of schools competing for championships in each sport.

The conference All-Sports Championship trophy was awarded for the first time in 2006-07, and the Raiders won it for the first time in 2015-16.

Eleven colleges and universities are regular members of the Cascade Conference and nine more are associate members that participate in a limited number of sports.

This story is based on an earlier version at

Student presentation at 2018 SOAR conference

SOAR conference returns to SOU with 80-plus events in four days

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon Arts & Research (SOAR) conference – an annual showcase of Southern Oregon University talents, interests and innovations – will begin Tuesday, May 14, and continue through Friday, May 17.

The 12th annual forum will feature a film screening and discussion about citizen activists’ creative efforts to bridge America’s deepening divides; a “language roundtable” at which international students and language club members discuss the importance of language programs in the global era; and more than 80 other separate events presented over four days by SOU students, faculty and staff.

SOAR’s events – which come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from 20-minute demonstrations or performances to multi-day exhibitions – capture SOU’s unique and inclusive spirit.

This year’s conference features a total of 16 exhibitions, or displays of original creative work; 25 presentations of projects, capstone experiences, research elements or theories; 20 symposia on group projects; 11 performances of music, drama, dance, readings and other creative expressions; five demonstrations of skills or activities; and six food outlets. There will also be 120 poster presentations.

All SOAR events are free and open to the public. Those who are attending SOAR events may park for free in SOU’s Mountain Street parking lot. Information about this year’s conference is available on the SOAR website.

The Oregon Writing Project at SOU and the university’s Multicultural Resource Center will cohost a screening of the PBS documentary “American Creed,” which first aired in March 2018. The documentary – with former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Pulitzer-winning history David Kennedy – explores the efforts of prominent and everyday citizens to overcome philosophical or political differences in America. The screening is at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, in the Hannon Library’s Meese Room and will be followed by a discussion moderated by Alma Rosa Alvarez, chair of SOU’s English Program.

SOU language club students and international students will discuss the importance of languages and language programs, despite the current trend language programs being cut at universities across the nation in a symposium on Tuesday, May 14. The students will share the experiences they could not have had without a second or third language—from study abroad and internship possibilities, to personal growth and cultural exchanges that have led to life-long multinational friendships. The event will be at 12:30 p.m. in Room 323 of the Stevenson Union.

A full schedule of this year’s SOAR events is available online.


SOU crew wins women's pair category at rowing championships

SOU team continues to surprise the collegiate rowing world

The SOU Rowing Team, which burst onto the national scene as a rookie program two years ago, captured the gold medal in the women’s pair category a week ago at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships near Sacramento.

SOU’s two-person crew of Kenna Tyler and Molly Beilstein won the 2,000-meter race by two boat-lengths against much more established programs including the University of California-Berkeley and the University of California-Santa Barbara, which placed second.

“This truly is an amazing accomplishment for SOU students,” Environmental Science and Policy Professor John Gutrich, who is faculty advisor to the rowing club, wrote in an email announcing the win. “SOU received much praise and coverage during the announcing of the race.”

Nine West Coast collegiate programs entered the women’s pair competition and six boats qualified for the grand final race on Sunday, April 28. The SOU team was seeded first after winning a preliminary heat the previous day, and faced crews from UCSB; the University of Central Oklahoma, which finished third; UC-Berkeley; Humboldt State University; and Chapman University.

The regatta was held at Lake Natoma, on the American River near Rancho Cordova, northwest of Sacramento.

The SOU Rowing Team also entered crews in the men’s pair category and the women’s 4+ category – which has four rowers plus a coxswain, who guides them.

The team is a sport club at SOU – a student-led organization overseen by the Campus Recreation Department. The university’s sport clubs can be competitive, recreational or instructional but most represent SOU in intercollegiate competition. The rowing team trains at Emigrant Lake.

SOU’s rowing team was formed two years ago and surprised many at the 2017 American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships in Georgia by finishing second overall out of 22 entries in the novice women’s 4+ category.

Bike blender at previous SOU Earth Week

Earth Week at SOU packs in wide variety of events

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University’s fifth annual, student-driven Earth Week celebration from April 15 to 20 will be all about awareness of important issues facing the planet – and celebration of efforts that are making a difference.

Events will range from a “tea talk” about environmental justice and a “pollinator party” with local beekeepers, to a transportation options fair and an Earth Day bike ride. The three-day Environmental Justice Film Festival will have screenings on Tuesday through Thursday, and a Gender Neutral Clothing Swap will also be held each of those days.

The film festival – sponsored by SOU’s Sustainability Resource Center (ECOS), Black Student Union, Queer Resource Center and Food Justice League, and the local climate action group Rogue Climate – will offer films that focus on environmental and social justice from 6 to 8 p.m. each evening. Tuesday’s film will be in the Stevenson Union Arena and the other two films will be in the facility’s Rogue River Room.

One of the featured events at this year’s Earth Week observance will be an “Earth Day Extravaganza” on Tuesday in the Stevenson Union Courtyard. It will feature displays that highlight some of the notable sustainability efforts underway in the Rogue Valley, and opportunities to interact with local organizations and groups that are engaged in those efforts.

Earth Week at SOU will feature public events both on and off the university campus.

Earth Week highlights
MONDAY: Meatless Monday brings an entirely vegetarian menu, all day, to the Hawk dining commons; Tea Talk discussion about environmental justice, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Third Eye Theater between the Stevenson Union and Britt Hall.

TUESDAY: Graduate student Emily Lind of the Environmental Education club will lead a short “bird hike” around the Ashland Pond, transportation provided (email for information); Earth Day Extravaganza, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stevenson Union Courtyard; a gender-neutral clothing swap, sponsored by the Queer Student Union, will offer free clothes from 1 to 6 p.m. in the Stevenson Union Gallery (SU 323); Environmental Justice Film Festival, “Viceland’s Rise, Standing Rock Part II,” about the Standing Rock efforts to protect tribal burial sites from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

WEDNESDAY: “Nature Reading” of short creative works about nature and ecology, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Third Eye Theater; OSPIRG pollinator party with beekeepers, live music, free food, face-painting, raffles and speakers, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stevenson Union Courtyard; gender-neutral clothing swap, 1 to 6 p.m., Stevenson Union Gallery (SU 323); Environmental Justice Film Festival, “An American Ascent,” about the first African-American expedition on Denali, North America’s highest peak.

THURSDAY: Transportation Options Fair with information about getting around without a car, with goodie bags and smoothies made with a “bike blender,” 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Stevenson Union Courtyard; gender-neutral clothing swap, 1 to 6 p.m., Stevenson Union Gallery (SU 323); Environmental Justice Film Festival, “Urban Roots,” about depressed industrial towns and the need for a sustainable future.

FRIDAY: Arbor Day of service, a day of stewardship with ECOS, SOU Landscaping and The Farm at SOU, with an optional free lunch, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. (details and sign-up online); silver maple birthday party, music and games at the silver maple in Raider Village, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

SATURDAY: Earth Day Bike Ride with ECOS, biking along the Bear Creek Greenway with treats in Talent, noon to 3 p.m. (details and sign-up online); Rogue Valley Earth Day 2019, a free, all-ages celebration about stewardship and community-building, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.

A full list of SOU Earth Week events can be found on the SOU sustainability website.


SOU Hypertext Hotel VR

SOU students renovate “Hypertext Hotel”

There was always a vacancy for students and some special guests in a particular place of lodging. Enter the Hypertext Hotel….”

The year was 1990. A room of students typing on Macintosh desktops at Brown University participated in the first ever hypertext writing workshop. Under the wing of postmodern fiction’s legendary trickster, Professor Robert Coover, students accessed, constructed and soiled the binary walls of a collaborative writing space consisting of hyperlinked windows of language and the occasional MacPaint rendered illustration.

The writers relied on traditional storytelling and the grace of the reader’s imagination to raise what became the Hypertext Hotel, located in what was – and to some extent remains – an unexplored city block in literature’s scholarly district.

Fast-forward to 2019. The writing that made up the hotel – believed this time last year to be mostly lost to time – has been recovered. The HTML files that once ran on an application called Storyspace were found on Coover’s old faculty PowerBook G4 and are now entering virtual reality.

The Hotel redux, titled “Hypertext Hotel – VR,” has been guided by Southern Oregon University Professor Robert Arellano, founder of the Emerging Media and Digital Art (EMDA) major at SOU, hypertext literature pioneer and former student of Coover’s. Arellano was one of the students who sat in the Brown computer lab writing hotel rooms and subplots of his own.

Early in this year’s Winter term, Arellano enlisted two all-star EMDA students, Andrew Masek and Quinn Jacobus, to model 3D rooms based on the original writing in the recovered HTML files. Masek and Jacobus have since created, in just 12 weeks, the first iteration of Hypertext Hotel – VR.

Hypertext Hotel Oculus Rift VR Headset

“In 2018, at the same time as our practicum class planned to re-open the Hypertext Hotel, the Game Dev club had gotten real traction and purchased an Oculus along with a high-end PC to run VR in Unity,” Arellano said. “Meanwhile, Miles Inada had a 3D class that was a real turning point in the EMDA program. That’s how I met Quinn Jacobus, one of the main student designers of the Hypertext Hotel – VR.”

The project, which was on display at SOU’s Schneider Museum of Art from Jan. 24 to March 16, stood as the first VR installation in a museum that has proven hospitable to digital art. The (re)opening night produced much energy – to be expected when art, wine and novel interactive realities are made free to the public.

Hypertext Hotel – VR appeared next to four other faculty artists and two returning guest artists – Adam Bateman and Maria De Los Angeles – in a series called “From Ignorance to Wisdom” (consistent with the current campus theme of the same name).

“From Ignorance to Wisdom” may seem a vague title for the historic hypertext project. But as Arellano points out in his artist statement, the project was made possible by the atypical process of working with students rather than lecturing – as Coover had done in the previous writing lab on early-model Mac computers. The process requires all parties to admit ignorance, listen to the wisdom of others and learn together. It produces an effective learning environment in which students produce “school projects” worthy of display in nationally recognized art museums and creative professors are positively challenged.

Hypertext Hotel VR Project in SOUs Schneider Museum of Art

The installation did encounter roadblocks, as may be expected of an experiential digital art project.

“On the opening day, we learned that the PC we planned to run ‘Hypertext Hotel – VR’ on during the Schneider show did not have a powerful enough CPU,” Arellano said. “We scrambled to find an alternative, but there was not a powerful enough rig at the university that could be dedicated to the museum for the required length of time.

“For the opening reception, Andrew Masek, the other main student designer, loaned us his personal machine. And the following day, the owner of Medford’s Cyber Center, Anthony Kaiserman, stepped in and kindly donated a computer for the show’s entire six-week run.”

When you ride the elevator for a unique perspective from the hotel’s 1300-level room, you might see that the project has been a catalyst for electronic literature, convincing the most reluctant of writers to jump into the quickly growing digital pool.

The hotel also follows up on its promise of being a generative, collaborative and largely anarchic experience – one that a lone author would find hard to come by. An author could write a letter to another writer, who then writes on that letter and sends it to yet another writer. The software – whether the original Storyspace or the open-source Twine – allow a writing experience conducive to collaboration, and one that will become more streamlined and collaborative with time.

SOU Hypertext Hotel VR Installation EMDA Red Room

After putting on the Oculus headset and walking through the 3D hotel rooms, an observer might be left to ask what’s next in the Hotel project? The “Hypertext Hotel – VR” showcases what is possible for artists, in largely accessible ways. Writers collaborate with each other in a computer lab and merge their work with that of 3D artists, VR experts, programmers and others. The redux is a catalyst for more students and artists, such as Masek and Jacobus, to collaborate by bringing the original stories to life again – maybe alongside some new ones.

In line with the tradition of storytelling, the hotel has become a place to write stories inspired by what is possible now, in celebration of what came before.

SOU Hypertext Hotel VR Installation

Story by James Cutrona, EMDA class of 2018

holmes-sou-academic all-america

SOU’s Holmes gets prestigious Academic All-America recognition

Southern Oregon University senior Tristen Holmes has been named to the NAIA’s Google Cloud Academic All-America second team for men’s basketball – one of just 13 student-athletes in SOU history to receive Academic All-America honors.

Holmes is among 10 student-athletes nationwide to be picked to the NAIA first and second teams by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

The Academic All-America selection was the second recognition this week of Holmes’ academic accomplishments – he is one of four student-athletes from SOU’s winter sports teams who were named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes on Tuesday. Holmes, an interdisciplinary studies/pre-dentistry major, and business administration major Tate Hoffman were recognized from the men’s basketball team. Men’s wrestler C.J. McKinnis, a business administration major, and women’s basketball player Delaney Sparling, a health and physical education major, also received the Daktronics honor.

Student-athletes must be juniors or seniors, have a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.5 and be enrolled at their current institution of at least one full year to be eligible the Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athlete distinction. SOU’s fall sports teams produced 23 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar Athletes.

The Google Cloud Academic All-America program recognizes student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom, and is considered the most prestigious of academic honors for college athletes.

A committee of the College Sports Information Directors of America selects honorees from various sports at the NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA levels. In 2017-18, the most recent full academic year, a total of 19,146 student-athletes were nominated across all sports and 1,497 were recognized as Google Cloud Academic All-America first- or second-team members.

Holmes, a point guard for the SOU men’s basketball team, is a two-time All-Cascade Conference performer and North Medford product. He is a McNair Scholar, has a cumulative GPA of 3.84 and has been accepted to attend Oregon Health & Science University in Portland next fall.

He averaged 16.4 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season. He was the only player during the Cascade Conference regular season to rank among the top 15 in all three of those statistical categories.

Holmes made 98 career starts and finished his SOU basketball career with 1,412 points, 577 rebounds and 453 assists – the first player in school history with more than 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. He finished at No. 3 in assists and No. 12 in scoring in the basketball program’s record book.

He and the Raiders had a 21-11 record this season, falling in the Cascade Conference tournament championship game at College of Idaho. In his four-year SOU career, his teams totaled 83 victories.

This story is expanded from an earlier version at

Michael Fields-3D imaging

SOU students enter international 3D imaging contest, recognized for innovation

SOU students Michael Fields and Matt Krause, both seniors in the university’s Emerging Media and Digital Arts (EMDA) program, showcased their 3D imaging abilities this winter by participating in the X-Taon Car Texturing Contest.

Fields, originally from Bandon, was awarded sixth place in the international contest that drew hundreds of entries from China, Indonesia, Malta, Canada, Germany, Sri Lanka, France, Slovakia and other countries. He was the only student winner from the United States.

The car texturing contest, which ran from last Nov. 27 to Dec. 18, had student and professional categories, and was judged by jurors from Pixar Animation Studios, Microsoft Studios, Animal Logic and Takumi Yamamoto. The competition was sponsored by Allegorithmic, developer of the Substance Painter 3D painting software, and Substance Designer, a 3D material authoring tool.

All contestants began with the blank exterior of a digital show car, and used 3D tools to “paint” the vehicle with designs and textures. Fields used a computer mouse to create an intricate, black-and-white design for his entry, which he called “Sharpie Car.”

“Not easy to create a full black-and-white, hand-painted version and here it is superbly executed – and with a mouse,” one juror wrote. “Are you crazy! Congrats!”

Fields and Krause have worked closely with SOU professor Miles Inada to develop portfolios and innovative 3D works as part of the SOU EMDA program. Both are major contributors to campus culture as co-presidents of the Student Game Development Club at SOU.

The two plan to pursue careers in the game development industry when they graduate from SOU following Spring Term.