Eastern Oregon University will have a new leader after nearly a year without a permanent president.
Eastern’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to name Kelly Ryan as the university’s new leader. She will step into the helm July 1.
Ryan will succeed the university’s former leader, Tom Insko. Insko left the La Grande-based university last summer to become the president and chief executive officer of a wood products company based in Wilsonville.
He had served as EOU’s president since 2015, but before that he worked as an executive for more than 20 years at another wood products company.
In Insko’s absence, EOU’s board appointed two interim co-presidents: Vice President of Finance and Administration Lara Moore and Board Chair Richard Chaves. The two had been leading the institution since last September.
Ryan is currently the interim chancellor at Indiana University Southeast.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the Board for their approval and I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in this process,” Ryan said in a statement. “What I saw when I visited was an internal and external community that is dedicated to EOU’s ascent. I couldn’t help but be swept up in your enthusiasm for EOU and the hard work that’s gone on there and in the community.”
Like many other institutions in the state, Eastern has seen a drop in enrollment — a challenge Ryan will have to face as the new president. Over the past decade, the university’s student headcount has fallen by 35%, according to data from Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission.