Eastern Oregon University Board appoints interim co-presidents

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
Aug. 19, 2022 8:02 p.m.

The co-presidents will lead the university while the board seeks out a permanent leader.

The Eastern Oregon University Board of Trustees Friday morning appointed interim co-presidents.

FILE--In this Aug. 5, 2003, file photo, college students Scott Pugrud, right, Adriana Mendoza, middle, and Mike Freese walk across Eastern Oregon University campus near the administration building in LaGrande, Ore. Eastern Oregon University has been designated by the state Legislature as Oregon's Rural University. The designation, which passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously and was signed by Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, doesn't come with a boost in state funding or new rules for how the university is run. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

FILE--In this Aug. 5, 2003, file photo, college students Scott Pugrud, right, Adriana Mendoza, middle, and Mike Freese walk across Eastern Oregon University campus near the administration building in LaGrande, Ore. Eastern Oregon University has been designated by the state Legislature as Oregon's Rural University. The designation, which passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously and was signed by Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, doesn't come with a boost in state funding or new rules for how the university is run. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

Don Ryan / AP

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The board appointed Vice President of Finance and Administration Lara Moore and Board Chair Richard Chaves as the university’s temporary leaders. The two will step into their positions on Sept. 1.

The appointments follow the departure of EOU President Tom Insko. Insko announced earlier this month that he would leave the university to become the president and chief executive officer of Collins — a wood products company based in Wilsonville.

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The leadership change at Eastern comes as other Oregon universities are going through transitions at the top. University of Oregon President Michael Schill announced last week his departure to lead Northwestern University. Portland State University’s president, Stephen Percy, will retire at the end of the upcoming academic year. Oregon’s largest public university, Oregon State, also recently appointed a new president after its former president resigned amid controversy.

Following Insko’s announcement, the EOU board discussed multiple options for temporary leadership: appointing co-presidents, naming an external interim leader who has experience working with EOU, naming an internal candidate or conducting a search for an interim president.

According to the university, after board discussions with the campus community, the board landed on interim co-presidents Moore and Chaves.

“We don’t make this choice lightly,” Vice Chair Cheryl Martin said in a statement. “We want to provide the university, and most importantly, our students, with stability, continuity and momentum as they come into the new year.”

Chaves will resign from the board to take on the interim co-president role.

“We have a strong board and a great leadership team,” Chaves said in a statement. “I look forward to more conversations like this with the community and have confidence that ‘Together, it’s possible.’”

EOU’s board will meet in the next few weeks to discuss the search process for a permanent president.

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