EOU regional adviser Wendy Sorey speaks to Umatilla seniors at a job fair in Boardman, Oregon.

EOU regional adviser Wendy Sorey speaks to Umatilla seniors at a job fair in Boardman, Oregon.

E.J. Harris/East Oregonian

Eastern Oregon University has always been a home for students looking for a smaller, more rural college experience in Oregon, but that role is now official.

The La Grande-based university has been designated by the state Legislature as Oregon’s Rural University.

“It defines our role in the state and shows our unique mission,” said Tim Seydel, EOU’s vice president for university advancement.

The designation — which passed both chambers of the Legislature unanimously and was signed by the governor on Tuesday — doesn’t come with a boost in state funding or new rules for how the university is run. But Seydel said it could help set EOU apart when applying for state and federal grants for programs that are targeted toward helping first-generation college students, for example, or those from rural communities.

Read more at the East Oregonian.