In Honor of R. E. Lieuallen
by Jack Morton
Each of us has had heroes in his life. I have had three—my father who survived the horrible trench war in France during World War I, Leonard Rice, one of the kindest and most able men I have known, President of WOSC during the 1960’s and 1970’s, and R. E. Lieuallen, former president of OCE (WOSC) who was appointed Chancellor of the State System of Higher Education in 1962.
In the mid 1930’s Lew, as I first knew him, was teaching in Weston in eastern Oregon. He visited my father, a banker in Heppner, to ask for a loan so he could attend Pacific University in Forest Grove and obtain a bachelors degree. Lew later told me that his credit rating was such that dad could not authorize a bank loan, but that he had made him a personal loan of $600.00 for his freshman year. Still in the depression $600.00 was a substantial amount. I once asked Lew if dad had charged him interest on the loan and Lew merely smiled.
At Pacific Lew played right half back on the football team. In those days football was single wing offense, with limited substitution rules, few times out and you play both offense and defense. 140 pound Lew was a warrior.
In 1960 I was an elementary school teacher living in Newberg with my wife, Mary and two children. I had graduated from the University of Oregon in secondary education in 1946 but was offered an elementary teaching position in Newberg with the promise of a school principal’s job if I merited it. In order to obtain an elementary credential and my master’s degree I had to go to OCE where Lew was president. This took two summer sessions. In my second and final summer at OCE Lew looked me up on campus and offered me the position of Registrar. With my usual intelligence I said, “Sure, what does a registrar do?”
The college grew rapidly in the 1960’s under Lew’s leadership with the enrollment of post World War II returning veterans. The college offerings were greatly expanded including a Master of Science degree program and the faculty was enlarged.
Lew left WOSC in 1962 after being appointed Chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education, having succeeded in materially increasing the student enrollment. The night he left hundreds of faculty, civil service employees and students spontaneously gathered to thank him and bid him farewell.
While Lew was Chancellor he supervised the rapid growth of the System including expansion of OIT from a two year to four year degree granting college.
He was very successful working with the legislature. When legislators wanted to cut his budget stories are told of his ability to achieve what he wanted by responding with a smile and then walking out of the session with the money he had requested.
After our retirement Lew, Barbara, Mary and I traveled together frequently from Mexico to Alaska.
Governor Kulongoski, along with other dignitaries, attended the memorial service. I was honored when the family asked me to speak.
Lew’s wife Barbara, sons, Doug and Scott, daughters, Barbara and Molly, and numerous grandchildren survive him.
Lew was a unique, modest and masterful man.