Bill Thorndike SOU Trustees

SOU trustees endorse national initiative to boost higher ed perception

(Ashland, Ore.) — The Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees voted unanimously today to pass a resolution to support and participate in a project with college and university trustees nationwide to revive the public’s trust in higher education.

The Guardians Initiative – developed by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) – is intended to increase support for higher education. It aims to strengthen financial backing from state legislatures across the country, prompt a rebound in college and university attendance and improve the public perception of higher education.

The SOU board is among the first in the country to endorse the Guardians Initiative.

“The enduring personal and societal value of higher education is well-supported,” said Bill Thorndike, chairman of the SOU Board of Trustees. “The lifetime earnings gap between those with college educations and those without has never been greater. Moreover, the economic and cultural benefits that colleges and universities bring to their communities are invaluable.

“We need to restore the luster to higher education. As public perception improves, we want higher education to become a greater legislative priority and for universities such as SOU to be recognized as keys to the growth and sustainability for individuals and communities.”

The traditional role of trustees might focus narrowly on the issues of the colleges and universities they serve. The Guardians Initiative encourages trustees to also advocate for higher education in general, to lobby at the state and federal levels for improved support, and to help improve the public’s perception of the value of higher education.
The initiative is meant to galvanize the support of about 50,000 college and university trustees nationwide.

“SOU’s trustees are recognized leaders and creative thinkers from the public and private sectors,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “I am tremendously excited to see how they will influence our national conversation about higher education.”


SOU student joins university’s Board of Trustees

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University student Shanztyn Nihipali has been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the university’s Board of Trustees.
Shantzyn NihipaliNihipali’s two-year appointment is effective immediately. He succeeds Jeremy Nootenboom as the board’s student trustee – a voting position and full member of the panel. Nootenboom’s term ended when he graduated in June.
“It is an honor to have been recommended by the students and ultimately appointed to serve my university as a member of the SOU Board of Trustees,” Nihipali said. “These are exciting times for SOU, and I look forward to continuing to support the university’s advancements as an institution for the future.”
He expects to earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a certificate in nonprofit administration in 2019.
“The Board of Trustees enthusiastically welcomes Shanztyn to his new role,” said Bill Thorndike, SOU’s board chair. “We value the student trustee’s full participation on the board and look forward to working together.”
Nihipali serves as a student representative to the University Planning Board and SOU’s Strategic Planning Committee. He is the founder and chair of the university’s Polynesian Education Conference and has served as chair of SOU’s Hoʻopaʻa Hawaiʻi Club. He received a Building Bridges Award for 2015-16 academic year and an Outstanding Community Building Award for 2016-17.
He has served as a Raider Ambassador since January 2015, leading as many as 35 campus tours for prospective students and their families. He also worked for one year as a front desk assistant in SOU’s Office of Business Services.
Nihipali’s family has been involved in the real estate and construction industry of Hawai’i for almost 40 years, which provided the foundation for his interest in business. He is focusing his studies on hospitality and tourism management.
In addition to his campus leadership roles, he enjoys participating in autism awareness and cultural revitalization activities in his spare time.

Hospital CEO to join SOU Board of Trustees

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(Ashland, Ore.) — Sheila Clough, the chief executive officer of Asante Ashland Community Hospital, has been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown to fill the 15th seat on the Southern Oregon University Board of Trustees and was confirmed today by the Oregon Senate.
Clough has served as CEO of the Ashland hospital for the past 3 ½ years and has held management positions in health care for 25 years. In seeking appointment to the SOU board, she cited the academic and economic benefits that the university provides.
“As a resident of Ashland and the CEO of a critical community service provider and prominent employer in the area, I have a vested interest in the long-term sustainability of SOU,” Clough said. “I am honored by my appointment to this volunteer board and look forward to supporting the strategies and vision that will ensure the university’s continued success.”
Clough joined Asante in September 2013 as CEO of Asante Ashland Community Hospital and led the hospital’s integration into the Asante system and its financial turnaround. The recovery plan she implemented resulted in an $8 million turnaround for the hospital from 2013 through 2016. Patient satisfaction at the hospital improved from the 50th percentile in 2013 to better than the 80th percentile in 2016, and the hospital’s employee engagement ranking went from the 7th percentile to the 91st percentile over the same period.
“The board welcomes Sheila Clough, whose accomplishments at Asante and leadership role in the community, we believe, are indicative of what she will bring to the table,” said Bill Thorndike, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees. “Sheila understands the complementary roles of a governing board and the executive team that operate an institution such as SOU. Her expertise in health care will broaden the board’s perspective and her business knowledge will be invaluable.”
Prior to joining Asante, Clough served in a progression of leadership roles from 1998 through 2013 with Ministry Howard Young Health Care in Woodruff, Wisconsin, eventually rising to the role of president and chief operating officer. Howard Young operated an acute care hospital, a critical access hospital and an assisted living facility.
Clough earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Minnesota and an MBA for health care executives from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a member of the American College of Health Care Executives and in 2014 passed the organization’s board examination to be named a fellow of the college.
She is an active member of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Lithia Springs Rotary Club, and she has developed a new partnership with Ashland High School to focus students’ attention on the possibility of careers in health care.
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% of its water consumption. Visit