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EOU Chief Touts Mission In John Day Visit

JOHN DAY – Eastern Oregon University President Bob Davies says the school is ready to help students, young and old, enjoy the benefits of a higher education.

He made a few appearances April 17 to discuss what EOU has to offer, making stops at Prairie City School, Grant Union Junior-Senior High School, and an open house held at the Outpost Restaurant.

He noted there are a lot of moving parts to EOU’s financial situation, but he is pleased with Gov. John Kitzhaber’s recommended budget.

Davies said that while the budget forecast isn’t as high as he would like – the school has taken a lot of cuts over the past few years – “it’s moving the needle in the right direction.”

Mindful of budget challenges, Davies says the administration evaluates whether they are offering the right major concentrations with a wide enough variety of offerings for students given the financial realities.

He said he doesn’t envy legislators who are faced with balancing the budget, but he does believe EOU makes a case for higher education funding.

Davies is hopeful the governor’s focus on K-12 success will turn out more college-ready high school graduates, but added, “It’s a pipe dream unless we really put some money behind it.”

The university supports the governor’s 40-40-20 initiative, which declares that by 2025, Oregon will ensure that 40 percent of adults will have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher; 40 percent will have earned an associate degree or post-secondary credential; and 20 percent will have earned a high school diploma, modified high school diploma or its equivalent.

EOU has made a commitment called the Eastern Promise, to promote the values of education and to advance the number of students who graduate from high school in rural Oregon ready to attend, and eventually graduate, from a post-secondary educational institution.

The university is offering college credits to high school students as part of the Eastern Promise which includes a program they will have this summer in which high school students can enroll at EOU to experience university life for three weeks at $40 a credit.

More information is available through the local high schools and EOU’s website.

Davies said they would like to engage fifth-graders and up and encourage them to set goals for higher education.

“Starting at fifth grade may seem too far away, but if they are thinking about it, it increases the chances they will go - it plants the seed,” he said.

At the other end of the spectrum, Davies notes there are opportunities for older students.

On campus, the Students Older Than Average (SOTA) club offers support and activities.

“We’re seeing more and more nontraditional students on campus,” Davies said.

Students can also take courses remotely.

The university’s regional center director Chris Cronin helps distance ed students at John Day’s EOU Grant County Center which has been in existence for 18 years. She works out of the Grant County Education Service District office at 835 S. Canyon Blvd., 541-575-1349.

“EOU has a commitment with the region,” Cronin said. “I think we have an excellent program and great students. It has been a pleasure for me to help students as they earn their degree, and they don’t have to leave Eastern Oregon to have a full college experience.”

Davies said he’d like the local residents to know “we’re ready and able to assist in every way.”

“Visit with Chris or visit the campus,” he said. “EOU is able to work with every student on an individual basis – that’s the amazing attribute of our campus and, it’s what we’ve been doing for decades.”


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