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E-mail message to alumni and friends of the University of Oregon
As students return to campus this fall, Oregon is embracing bold changes in the way our public universities are governed, reform that is essential to advancing our mission in the face of a prolonged decline in investment from the state.
Legislation establishing local governing boards for the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University was passed by the Oregon Legislature and signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber this summer. Many alumni and friends of the UO answered the call and helped make this historic moment happen. The members of these new boards have been appointed by the governor and currently await confirmation by the Senate.
This new structure shifts oversight of Oregon’s three largest public universities from a single board governing the state’s entire seven-university system to independent boards intimately familiar with each institution’s unique mission, challenges, and aspirations.
This change comes at a moment when significant decisions must be made regarding the future of higher education in this country. Even as a college degree has become increasingly essential in today’s knowledge-based economy, the confluence of economic recession and other pressing state needs has shifted the burden of financing our public universities, here and elsewhere, increasingly onto the shoulders of students and their families. In 1990, more than a third of the University of Oregon’s funding came from the state. This year, less than six percent will, even as we enroll more Oregon students. At the same time, federal support for basic research is threatened, creating concern that our nation may falter in our capacity to remain the world’s leader in innovation, creativity, and discovery. This must not continue.
We have a tremendous opportunity now to elevate the UO’s position among the finest research universities in the world and affirm our promise of access and excellence. Together, we must seize this opportunity to focus intently on the pursuit of discovery and innovation at the highest levels; to guarantee the degrees our students earn carry the weight of significant achievement and the power of a reputation that distinguishes us among our peers; to ensure that the acquisition of a UO degree remains within reach for Oregon students; and to continue to bring the best minds in the world to Oregon to enhance the quality of life for everyone.
This new governance structure supports this bold reform. It provides greater flexibility in operations and management in a time of considerable complexity and rapid change. It allows us to seek additional methods of financing our infrastructure needs, and assures supporters that private funds intended for our academic mission will remain with the institution and not diminish other sources of revenue. And it increases the efficiency and effectiveness with which we manage our resources.
The UO has long been one of the nation’s premier public research universities, built on a strong foundation of access and quality. Within this new structure, we will not only continue that commitment, we will enhance it.
We will demonstrate to Oregon’s most promising students, who represent the next generation of innovators and influencers, that they will find no better educational experience anywhere than here at the UO. And we will ensure that they have the resources to attend the UO, regardless of financial means.
At the core of this educational experience is our faculty. We will continue to focus on faculty excellence, supporting the world-class professors and instructors who are at the heart of our students’ academic experience.
We will aggressively pursue the transfer of knowledge and technology that brings the discoveries and innovations that begin on our campus to the state, the region, and the world.
We will actively collaborate with all the universities in our state to collectively serve the people of Oregon and affirm the crucial role our institutions play in the advancement of the public interest.
The UO begins classes this term in an environment of change, but with a steady focus on our public research mission, which is unwavering. Its value is inherent, and its importance undeniable. Thank you for all you do in continuing to support this critical mission.
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E-mail message to alumni and friends of the University of Oregon As students return to campus this fall, Oregon is embracing bold changes in the way our public universities are governed, reform that is essential to advancing our mission in the face of a prolonged decline in investment from the state.
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