Dear alumni and friends of WOU,
Just last year, President John Minahan described evidence of the remarkable changes occurring at Western Oregon University – from the opening of our Health and Wellness Center to the Ackerman Live/Learn facility, designated with the premier (LEED) platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
I am proud to report that the momentum continues, with the construction of the new artificial turf athletic fields for student recreation and club sports and the redesign and upgrade of the Werner University Center – making it more usable and comfortable for our student body. In addition, as this WOU magazine is circulated, we have broken ground and are constructing the new 22,000 square-foot DeVolder Family Science Center. This modern, state-of-the-art facility is so important to our university students, those majoring in the sciences and those taking science courses to fulfill their liberal arts core curriculum. Our appreciation is extended to Ron ’68 and Norma DeVolder for their significant funding for this project.
This issue contains articles about many of the accomplishments of our students, faculty and staff that are instrumental in making WOU the “gem” of a public institution that it is!
WOU continues to be the most “Oregon” of public institutions of higher education in the state, with 85 percent of our student body from Oregon. Changing demographics within the state coupled with the state’s goal of having 40 percent of its citizens receiving a bachelor’s degree or higher, have prioritized campus conversations by students, faculty and staff to emphasize diversity as a matter of institutional priority and an integral component of academic success.
We, at WOU, are proud of our ability to successfully serve Oregon’s students in large numbers, including its underrepresented students. That valued attribute is an important component of our core mission. In addition, we recognize that a commitment to diversity extends beyond our student populations - to staff and faculty; and should inspire a curriculum and campus culture that values inclusiveness and recognizes our differences as an advantage. I am proud to announce that the university’s draft diversity plan is now being reviewed by campus constituencies and may be found as a link on the WOU president’s website. My appreciation to the committee charged with this important undertaking.
Lastly, I want to recognize the important legacy Professor Hank Bersani leaves with WOU and the passing of WOU’s dear friend and benefactor, Mario Pastega. To quote Mario, “one hundred years from now it won’t matter how much wealth we had or how much prestige. But, if along our path of life we gave a helping hand to fellow human beings, it will make a difference.”
For those of you who also wish to “make a difference” at WOU, please contact Tommy Love, WOU’s director of advancement at 503-838-8281.
Mark Weiss, president
Western Oregon University