Oregon State University announces plan to pursue independent Board of Trustees

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Ed Ray announced today that OSU will establish its own independent Board of Trustees to govern Oregon’s only university with a statewide presence and help guide OSU’s mission to serve the state and the needs of its citizens in a growing global economy.

“Oregon State University, Oregon’s statewide university, was created to serve the higher education needs of the people of Oregon,” Ray said. “That service is our core mission and part of our DNA.”

“Advancing Oregon’s future and attaining the state’s 40-40-20 educational achievement goals are central to OSU’s mission as a 21st Century land grant university and can best be accomplished through the creation of a university governing board that represents all of our state.”

Ray confirmed his intent to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber in writing and in personal phone calls.

Under Senate Bill 270, which was adopted by the 2013 Oregon Legislative Assembly, Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Portland State University are established as legal entities separate from each other as well as from the remaining four regional universities and the Oregon University System. OSU, UO and PSU will each have its own institutional board with 11 to 15 members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oregon Senate.

“Guided by our mission and values, we are working closely with the governor as he seeks leaders from across the state and nation to serve as board members who represent the diversity of Oregon and understand the needs of its residents and regional concerns,” Ray said.

Membership on Oregon State’s board will include civic, business and educational leaders and will include one student, one faculty member and one university employee who is not from the faculty. As president, Ray will serve as an ex-officio, non-voting member. Kitzhaber will announce his appointments in mid-August with a Senate confirmation process expected in September. Board members serve voluntarily and do not earn a salary. 

Ray’s decision followed an extensive outreach effort this spring in which he met with hundreds of OSU students, faculty, staff and alumni, industry leaders and members of the OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association.

“I have talked to many individuals and groups regarding the Board of Trustees, and I have heard two clear and distinct messages: First, given the adoption of Senate Bill 270, OSU should have a Board of Trustees and on the same timeline as the University of Oregon and Portland State.

“The second message surprised me a little and pleased me a lot,” Ray said. “People told me that we should step up and do all that we can to maintain a sense of a system in higher education by promoting collaboration and affiliations. Simply put, we must not let down the people of Oregon just to make the university better off. We view advancing Oregon’s future and attaining Oregon’s 40-40-20 educational achievement goals as mission critical.” 

Oregon’s “40-40-20 Goal” is for 40% of adult Oregonians to hold a bachelor’s or advanced degree, 40% to have an associate’s degree or a meaningful postsecondary certificate, and all adult Oregonians to hold a high school diploma or equivalent by the year 2025.

As provided in Senate Bill 270, the board has broad authority and will be responsible for developing a budget proposal for the 2015-17 biennium by April 2014. Under the bill, the board’s establishment becomes formal in July 2014. Board responsibilities include:

  • Establishing policies for all aspects of the university’s business;
  • Establishing tuition and fees;
  • Providing academic program oversight;
  • Approving the university’s budget for submission to the state; and
  • Appointing and employing OSU’s president in consultation with the governor. 

“We are not taking this step just to advance our own reputation,” Ray said. “We are taking this step as Oregon’s statewide university. This university was created to serve the educational needs of the people of Oregon and to advance economic and social progress. We are committed to engage with Governor Kitzhaber and help attain Oregon’s 40-40-20 educational achievement goals in a partnership with the state’s entire education continuum – from pre-kindergarten through all of Oregon’s universities. We will work enthusiastically and collaboratively with university colleagues to address the statewide higher education needs of all Oregonians, while retaining the benefits of a university system.”

Oregon State University’s main campus is located in Corvallis, and the OSU – Cascades branch campus is located in Bend. OSU operates the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport as well as 15 agricultural experiment stations and research centers and six forest research laboratories around the state. OSU Extension has offices and programs in all 36 Oregon counties.

OSU is Oregon’s fastest growing university with 26,000-plus students. OSU graduates come from all 36 Oregon counties. During the last five years the university has attracted more valedictorians and salutatorians from Oregon high schools than any other university in the state. OSU received $281 million in funded research last year, more than all of Oregon’s other public universities combined. Meanwhile, the Campaign for OSU led by the OSU Foundation raised more than $100 million last year to reach $948 million, toward a $1 billion campaign goal that will conclude in December 2014.  OSU’s statewide economic impact is more than $2 billion.


About Oregon State University: OSU is one of only two U.S. universities designated a land-, sea-, space- and sun-grant institution. OSU is also Oregon’s only university to hold both the Carnegie Foundation’s top designation for research institutions and its prestigious Community Engagement classification. Its 26,000-plus students come from all 50 states and more than 90 nations. OSU programs touch every county within Oregon, and its faculty teach and conduct research on issues of national and global importance.