Tag Archive for: Linda Schott

SOU president to retire by end of year

SOU President Linda Schott to retire by end of 2021

(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott, who has positioned SOU for the future since taking office in August 2016, announced to campus today that she will retire at the end of 2021, capping a 36-year career in higher education. Schott pledged to continue putting all of her energy into serving SOU and will do her best to prepare the university for her successor.

“I intend to stay fully engaged in leading the university until a new president is hired,” President Schott said. “Our leadership team is strong, and all have indicated their willingness to continue in their roles throughout the presidential transition.”

Paul Nicholson, chair of the SOU Board of Trustees, praised the work Schott has done at SOU and said she will leave the university on firm footing.

“Linda Schott has been a force for change at SOU; her vision, energy and leadership have transformed the university in a positive way,” Nicholson said. “The board is deeply appreciative of her work and what she accomplished – all of which has laid a powerful foundation for the challenging work ahead of us.

“We also thank Dr. Schott’s husband, Tom Fuhrmark, and their family for their tremendous support during her tenure. The board wishes Dr. Schott much happiness in the next stage of her life.”

The SOU community developed a new vision, mission and strategic plan that has been integrated into the university’s daily operations during Schott’s tenure. The university also opened several new facilities during the past five years (the Student Recreation Center, Lithia Motors Pavilion, Thalden Pavilion and the Theater/JPR Building) and garnered additional state funding for the campus and its infrastructure. The university reshaped academic offerings for both traditional students and the growing number of adult learners who are returning to SOU to complete bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees. Graduation rates for SOU students increased 13 percent over seven years ending in 2019, and the percentage of graduates working in fields related to their majors has reached 68 percent – 10 percent above the national average.

Using national data to help align academic offerings with emerging workforce needs, the university also developed a menu of 18 new microcredentials – with more on the way – that enable both undergraduates and those who have already graduated to pick up extra skills.

President Schott played leading roles in the creation of the Southern Oregon Higher Education Consortium and the Southern Oregon Education Leadership Council. 

Schott came to SOU from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where she served as president from 2012 to 2016. She previously taught at three Texas universities and held administrative positions in Michigan and Colorado. She received her bachelor’s degree in history and German from Baylor University, and her master’s degree in history and Ph.D. in history and humanities, both from Stanford University.

SOU’s Board of Trustees plan to discuss the president’s retirement and a presidential search during its regular meeting on April 16, 2021. A search committee is expected to be formed in the coming weeks to begin the process of finding Schott’s successor. Nicholson said the board will look forward to engaging the campus community during the search for SOU’s 14th president.


About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.

SOU HECC Strategic Plan Mission

Oregon’s HECC praises SOU strategic planning work

(Ashland, Ore.) — Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission unanimously approved Southern Oregon University’s new mission statement on Thursday, and its members described the university’s strategic planning work as “exemplary” and “energizing.”

A delegation from SOU including President Linda Schott was in Salem to present the university’s new vision, mission, values and strategic directions at the HECC meeting. SOU’s entire strategic planning effort won support, but commission members were required by state law only to evaluate and approve the mission statement (included below in its entirety).

“Our strategic plan is the roadmap that will guide SOU into a future filled with equal portions of uncertainty and opportunity,” President Schott said. “It defines not only who we are as members of a dynamic academic community, but who we strive to be and how we intend to achieve our goals.”

HECC member Sandy Rowe, who was editor of The Oregonian from 1993 to 2010, described SOU’s work as “outward facing – that is rare.”

“SOU has broken out of the pack,” she said.

Commission member Terry Cross, former executive director and current senior advisor to the National Indian Child Welfare Association, called the university’s mission statement “exemplary work.”

“I like the alignment with HECC,” he said. “You are helping us lead, helping us to be a better commission.”
HECC Chairman Neil Bryant, a Bend lawyer, acknowledged that he has been critical of SOU in the past but said the university “achieved focus” with its new mission statement.

President Schott, in a message to SOU students and employees on Thursday afternoon, thanked each person who has weighed in with feedback during the year-long strategic planning process, and especially those who have done the heavy lifting on the project.

“I am immensely grateful to all of you who have worked so many hours over the past year to visualize the future of our institution and craft the strategic plan that will help us realize our potential,” she said.

SOU’s new mission statement:
Southern Oregon University is a regionally-engaged learning community committed to being the educational provider of choice for learners throughout their lives.
We inspire curiosity and creativity, compel critical thinking, foster discovery, and cultivate bold ideas and actions.
We achieve student success, professional preparation, and civic engagement through service excellence, evolving technologies, and innovative curriculum.
We foster access, equity, inclusion and diversity in thought and practice.
We prepare our learners to be responsible, engaged citizens in our democracy.
We promote economic vitality, sustainability, cultural enrichment, and social well-being in our region, the state, the nation, and the world.”


SOU president leads in protection of immigrant and international students

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/Hofi8K)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott continues to take a leadership role in support of immigrant and international students, serving as an early member of the new Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.
The alliance – which was formed earlier this month and has quickly grown to more than 150 members – is a collective effort by college and university leaders across the U.S. to address immigration issues that may affect their students. Members will work together to support federal and state policies that create welcoming environments for immigrant, undocumented and international students.
Higher education presidents and chancellors formed the organization as members of Congress began their lead-up to a likely vote on extending some form of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The White House decreed in September that Congress must act within six months to prevent the program’s cancellation and the deportation of its participants, and several members of Congress have suggested that a proposal is likely in January.
President Schott has been vocal in her support for the program, which offers immigrants who grew up in the U.S. without legal documentation an opportunity to remain as they pursue school or work goals.
“We do not have a large number of DACA students at SOU, but our institution recognizes that it is critically important for all people to have the opportunity to learn and grow,” President Schott said. “We value the rights of all students – regardless of their immigration status, nationality, gender, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, religious affiliation or political persuasion – and are unconditionally committed to preserving them.”
While DACA is the most urgent priority of the new alliance of higher education leaders, the organization will also seek to modernize other portions of U.S. immigration law that was originally drafted in the 1950s. Alliance members will urge lawmakers to recognize today’s global interconnectedness and the importance of maintaining U.S. universities and colleges as premier academic destinations for students worldwide
In addition to her membership in the new Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, President Schott is one of more than 700 college and university presidents in the U.S. to sign a statement in support of DACA. She communicated directly with SOU’s DACA students more than a year ago to assure them of the university’s unequivocal support, and has consistently told all segments of the campus community that the institution’s core values begin with the protection of students’ academic rights.
“I am a historian by trade, and understand how important it is to heed the lessons of the past,” President Schott said. “If we don’t protect the vulnerable among us, how long will we be safe from those same risks?”

SOU announces new Vice President for Finance and Administration

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/etkYBp)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Greg Perkinson, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who currently manages a nationwide program for The Boeing Company with a $100 million annual budget, has accepted an offer to become Southern Oregon University’s new vice president for finance and administration.
He will start with the university on Dec. 18.
“I really look forward to serving the faculty, students and staff at SOU,” Perkinson said. “Customer service is ‘job one’ and I was really impressed by the team’s customer-focus and values-based approach to student success.”
Perkinson currently leads Boeing’s Consolidated Facilities Operations and Maintenance (CFOAM) program, which is based in Chantilly, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. He leads a team of more than 600, responsible for management of finances, facilities, supply chain and environmental health and safety at three government sites. He has worked at Boeing since 2009 and as the CFOAM program manager since 2015.
Perkinson served as a civil engineering officer in the Air Force from 1984 until his retirement from active duty in 2009. He was based at the Pentagon as manager of the Air Force’s Joint Basing Program from 2007-09, and from 2006-07 was commander of the 286th Mission Support Group – a position equivalent to city manager – at the Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. He was also a public works director at two Air Force bases, and served as a faculty member at the Air Force Academy.
“We had an exceptional field of finalists for this position, from inside and outside our organization,” SOU President Linda Schott said. “We are excited to bring Greg on board. His career experiences – from Lean business practices to sustainable building – create a great match for SOU. I look forward to seeing how his expertise will help us become more effective and efficient in serving our students and our region.”
SOU’s vice president for finance and administration oversees a broad range of campus operations, including the university’s Business Services, Budget Office, Human Resources, Facilities Management and Planning, Campus Public Safety, Information Technology and Service Center departments. It is a key leadership position that works closely with the university president on policy and operational issues.
Perkinson and his wife Christine are excited to “head west” and transition to Ashland, where they can enjoy the culture and diversity of the region, and be closer to family.
Perkinson received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Kent State University and his master’s degree in architectural engineering from Penn State University. He is a registered architect in California.
He will succeed Craig Morris as SOU’s vice president for finance and administration. Morris will retire at the end of this year after serving the last 20 years of his career with SOU. Morris began as business manager for the university’s physical plant and held various other positions before becoming the vice president for finance and administration in July 2009.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and 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. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

More than 1,100 graduates to receive degrees at SOU commencement

NEWS RELEASE (available online at https://goo.gl/G6f0HY)
(Ashland, Ore.) — Saturday’s Southern Oregon University commencement ceremony will mark both an end and a beginning for more than 1,100 students – the conclusion of a degree program and the start of whatever adventure their education has prepared them to take on.
The event at Mountain Arena (Raider Stadium) will begin with a processional at 8:45 a.m., and ceremonies at 9 a.m. It is expected to conclude at about 11:30 a.m.
This year’s commencement address will be presented by Winona LaDuke, a prominent Native American environmentalist and activist who twice ran for vice president on a Green Party ticket headed by Ralph Nader. LaDuke, who lives on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, was raised in Ashland and her mother – noted Oregon painter Betty LaDuke – was a member of SOU’s art faculty for 32 years.
Other noted speakers include SOU President Linda Schott, SOU Board of Trustees Chair Bill Thorndike, SOU alumna Kacie Ryan (’07) and graduating student Dante Fumagalli.
In keeping with SOU’s commitment to sustainability, the 24-page commencement booklet will be printed on paper from responsible sources. Graduates’ robes will be biodegradable and made of wood fiber from renewable, managed forests. Students will collect robes following the ceremony from graduates who no longer want them, and they will be reused next year by graduates in need.
Water bottles, provided in part by a donation from Asante, will be filled by a crew from the Aviands dining service at SOU and handed out to the first 5,000 graduates and guests.
SOU’s Class of 2017 includes an expected 866 recipients of bachelor’s degrees, plus another 61 from the Oregon Health & Science University nursing program at SOU. Another 184 students will receive graduate degrees.
The university’s Social Sciences Division will lead the way with a combined 273 bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded; the Business, Communication & Environment Division will account for 247 graduates; the Education, Health & Leadership Division will have 245; the Oregon Center for the Arts will have 143; the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Division will have 94; the Humanities & Culture Division will have 30; and the Undergraduate Studies Division will have 13.
The Dankook Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Students will be presented to new graduates Rebekah Ratcliff, an honors graduate in sociology and anthropology who has been recognized for her work on local and Latin American projects; and William Babishoff, a former radio and television personality who will receive his degree in communication with an emphasis on film, television and convergent media. The award, given to SOU’s outstanding female and male graduates, commemorates more than 30 years of friendship between SOU and Dankook University in Seoul, South Korea.
The Universidad de Guanajuato Award for Outstanding Graduate Student will be presented to Jared Brown, who will receive his master’s degree in music performance with a 4.0 grade point average. Brown served as a graduate teaching assistant in music theory/aural skills and percussion, and worked with students at Crater High School in Central Point.
This year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards will be presented to music Professor Vicki Purslow; Lisa Ciasullo, an associate professor of math; Kylan De Vries, an associate professor of sociology and gender, sexuality and women’s studies; English and writing Professor Bill Gholson; and communication Professor Alena Ruggerio.
Raider Stadium will open at 7 a.m. and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. No tickets will be required. Free parking will be available in all SOU lots throughout the day, and a free shuttle service will run to the stadium from the Mountain Avenue lot about every 15 minutes.
Saturday’s ceremony will be broadcast live on RVTV and archived for later viewing. More information about SOU’s commencement is available at www.sou.edu/commencement.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and 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. It is the first university in the nation to balance 100 percent of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

Statement on immigration and support for all students

The following statement was sent this morning from SOU President Linda Schott to all students, faculty and staff.
Dear students and colleagues,
Southern Oregon University is a place where diverse backgrounds intersect and where all members of our academic community are supported and respected – as are their thoughtfully shared views on any issues they consider important.  We do not apply religious tests before admitting students or hiring employees, and we do not discriminate against people based on their nationality, race, gender or sexual orientation. Students and employees who come to SOU – whether from Medford or Mexico, Salem or Somalia – all have the right to be treated fairly and to be valued for who they are.
SOU does not stand alone but is part of a larger network of higher education institutions spread across our nation.  Many of these universities are stepping forward at this point to reiterate their commitments to liberal education and democracy. For example, President Muriel Howard of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities – of which SOU is a member – has issued a statement asking the Trump Administration to reconsider its recent executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program and banning travel into this country for the citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations.
“America’s state colleges and universities have been strengthened by the presence of students and faculty from around the globe, including those from the seven countries specifically targeted by the president’s executive order,” President Howard wrote. “We share in the collective commitment to protect our national security while at the same time enriching our nation with invaluable contributions from abroad.”
I share President Howard’s support for diversity – geographic, religious and otherwise. Although SOU has few students from the list of seven countries affected by the executive order, we have many international students who now wonder about their futures in our nation.  Thus I want to be clear that during this period of uncertainty and unrest, as we have throughout the history of our institution, SOU will continue to support all students and employees who wish to learn, grow, and make contributions to our campus and communities. 
Each morning, I walk into Churchill Hall under an inscription that reads, “The difficulties of democracy are the opportunities of education.” As we listen to our political leaders disagree about policies and principles and as we watch protestors take to the streets; as we pen our individual letters to elected officials or otherwise demonstrate our personal political views, it is apparent that our democratic system is being tested. It has been tested before, and we have always emerged from those tests with a new appreciation for both the daunting difficulties and amazing possibilities of self-governance. That self-governance is made possible at least in part by an educated populous and by the schools, colleges and universities providing that education. We at SOU are engaged in a serious, vital endeavor. We will continue our efforts, with renewed commitment, mutual respect and vigorous care for each other.
Linda Schott
President, Southern Oregon University