Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Dear Oregon State University community,

I am very pleased to become a member of the OSU community and am inspired to serve as the university’s 15th president.

I look forward to working with each of you — and those we serve as Oregon’s statewide university — to advance the momentum and impact of this outstanding and internationally recognized land grant research institution. I pledge to listen and learn; to be accessible, transparent and accountable; and to engage as a partner.

Together, we will build on more than 150 years of faculty excellence, research scholarship and innovation, and outreach and engagement. By doing so, we will serve our mission to promote economic, cultural, social and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world.

I recognize and thank the OSU Board of Trustees and President Emeritus Ed Ray for their outstanding and difference-making leadership of OSU.

The times we live in — and that remain ahead — are like none other. As one of our nation’s great public universities, Oregon State University and our community must commit to reforming systemic racial issues here at home and across America.

As a land grant university, we must accept that the societal, public health and economic challenges of our state, nation and world are also OSU’s challenges and responsibilities. The tools that we have within the university are powerful: teaching, research and service. They also are intergenerational and, if we act, these tools will produce lasting positive impact within the university community and beyond for those that need assistance the most. 

I encourage your engagement in addressing these challenges. And ask that you join me to advance OSU’s values of inclusivity and diversity — and a culture of collaboration and innovation — to provide for transformative education that is accessible and successful for all learners. However, it will be through action — not words or promises — that we will affirm that Black Lives Matter and end injustice, violence and racism across America. And create an inclusive community that provides justice, equal opportunity and lasting changes for Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.

Today, our society faces additional challenges  both old and new. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our nation and world to how vulnerable we are to current and future health crises. It has placed on display the vast health disparities that still plague Black, Hispanic, Indigenous and other underrepresented populations. The pandemic also has exposed vast disparities and has created a recession that will intensify the great divide in economic and educational opportunities among members of our society. And this divide will only grow due to unemployment and fiscal neglect of our public educational systems.                            

It is our responsibility as members of the Oregon State University community to address these challenges head on through teaching, research and public service.

As I look ahead, I am very impressed by how our university community continues to work effectively and collaboratively to address the fiscal and other impacts that the pandemic is causing for OSU’s educational, research, outreach, athletics and other programs. I thank each of you for your resilience and flexibility. The behavior of the virus will dictate what lies ahead and what actions will be needed. But I am confident that as students, faculty, staff and stakeholders, we will proactively seek to address matters of health and wellness, while sustaining and advancing student success, faculty excellence, research, and outreach and public service.  

We will not achieve these outcomes alone. It will require the commitment of institutions and individuals. We will continue to work with communities, partners and higher education stakeholders statewide. We also must receive greater support from state and national leaders to address the impacts of the pandemic, provide for lasting social change, support student success for all learners, and advance research innovation and public service.

As a new Oregonian and as OSU’s 15th president, I am committed to working collaboratively with you by listening, learning and addressing these challenges and opportunities together.


F. King Alexander