Trustees discuss president search, approve city land swap

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The University of Oregon Board of Trustees approved six agenda items and learned about a range of initiatives at its quarterly meeting Sept. 15-16 the Portland location of the Lundquist College of Business.

Longtime trustee Ginevra Ralph served as chair of her first regular board meeting, after assuming the post July 1, succeeding Chuck Lillis in the role.

Ralph has been a member of the board and has served as vice chair since the board’s formation in 2013. She was a trustee of the UO Foundation from 2006 to 2013. The board of trustees approved her nomination as chair in May.

“Being a member of the UO Board of Trustees has been one of the great honors of my professional career,” Ralph said. “While I’m proud of all that the university has achieved over the last eight years, I’m more excited than ever about the things we have yet to accomplish. While the university is experiencing great change this year with the presidential transition, I expect more great things ahead.”

Ralph, a UO alumna, received her bachelor's degree in history with distinction from the Clark Honors College in 1983 and her master's degree in special education in 1985. She later served on the UO College of Education faculty as an instructor/research assistant and practicum coordinator.

She has long maintained a deep connection to the local community, including co-founding Eugene’s John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in 1991 with her husband and currently serving as director of education and development. The Ralphs received the Governor’s Arts Award in 2005. She has served on many civic and nonprofit boards and was named Eugene’s First Citizen for 2015.

Interim UO President Patrick Phillips was among those speaking to the board. Other updates included those on advancing the university’s academic priorities, quarterly financial reports, the annual report on retirement plan management, and developments in career readiness programs.

The board also heard overviews from the School of Journalism and Communication dean and faculty members, Vice President of Research and Innovation Anshuman Razdan, UO Portland Vice Provost Jane Gordon, and The Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavior Health interim Executive Director Randy Kamphaus.

Agenda items the board took action on:

  • Changing the name of the Executive and Audit Committee to the Executive, Audit, and Governance Committee to more clearly articulate its responsibilities and role.
  • Approval of the process to begin the presidential search process.
  • Renaming the portion of East 13th Avenue from the Volcanology Building to the Lillis Business Complex as Lillis Way in honor of Chuck and Gwen Lillis’s longstanding leadership and contributions to the university. Those include gifts to science, scholarships, theater arts, athletics and, most notably, the home of the business school, along with Chuck Lillis’ long-held role as chair of the board.
  • Reducing the capital expenditure authorization for fiscal year 2023 by $61 million relating to the purchase of the former Concordia University campus in Northeast Portland, which closed ahead of schedule in fiscal year 2022. At its regular May 2022 meeting, the board authorized an increase to the fiscal year 2022 capital budget by $61 million in anticipation of that possible outcome.
  • Authorizing $15 million for the Knight Campus phase 2 to complete the design development process and establish a full project budget to be brought to the board for authorization.
  • Approval of a land swap with the city of Eugene to allow for construction of a new indoor practice facility adjacent to the current football practice fields at the Autzen Stadium complex. The proposal would allow for the rerouting of Leo Harris Parkway, which would create a contiguous parcel to accommodate the new facility and two outdoor practice fields.
  • Extension of the leases for six existing radio towers located around the state for cumulative terms beyond 20 years. The towers are used to transmit the signal for public broadcasting station KWAX, a classical music radio station overseen by the UO. As a public broadcasting radio station, KWAX must comply with Federal Communications Commission requirements to provide public service announcements including emergency alert notifications.
  • Adding the tuition rate for the new online Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis to the graduate tuition notes section of the tuition approval, which was submitted to the board at its meeting last March.
  • Approval of the FY23 audit plan proposed by the Office of Internal Audits.

Full materials and recordings of the meeting can be found on the UO Board of Trustees website.

By Jim Murez, University Communications