Trustees name Patrick Phillips as interim university president

Zoom meeting of UO Board of Trustees

Dear University of Oregon community members, 

The Board of Trustees met today and voted to appoint Patrick Phillips, current provost and senior vice president, to serve as interim president of the University of Oregon. The university is very fortunate to have such a strong, visionary leader who can maintain the upward trajectory of this institution. We are grateful to Patrick for agreeing to serve in this critical role as we begin the process of selecting the university’s next president.

Patrick has served as provost since July 1, 2019. As chief academic officer, he has been the steward of the university’s academic mission and has worked with faculty, staff, students, and other members of our community to maintain the highest possible quality of scholarly activity and educational programs. Patrick has been a leader in conceptualizing and launching many of the university’s academic and research initiatives, even as we navigated the many challenges of the past several years. He is also a top faculty member and award-winning scientist, with more than $8 million in active funding from the National Institutes of Health. Patrick joined the university as a faculty member in 2000 and has served as the director of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, head of the Department of Biology, associate vice president for research, special advisor to President Michael H. Schill, and inaugural executive director of the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact. 

The board unanimously agreed that Patrick is the right leader for this interim role. He brings decades of experience and leadership as well as deep connections to the university and our community. We are confident he, along with the vice presidents and deans of the schools and colleges, will allow the university to not lose any of its momentum building upon our academic and research impact and our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and student success. Patrick Phillips will start as interim president August 20. 

Patrick has appointed Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Janet Woodruff-Borden to serve as interim provost and senior vice president. Janet has served as executive vice provost for nearly three years, leading academic and faculty affairs efforts for the Office of the Provost. Prior to serving as executive vice provost, Janet was the vice provost and dean of the University of Oregon Graduate School, now titled the Division of Graduate Studies. Janet will begin serving as interim provost on August 20 as well. 

Although this is a time of change, it is also a time of great excitement for our university. This year, the University of Oregon will continue to bring to life our academic and research initiatives, further the success and support of our students, and cement our place as one of the top research universities in the country. We are excited for our entire university community to be part of these efforts and the incredible opportunities that will come from them. 

As I mentioned in the announcement last week, the Board of Trustees will discuss the launch of and process for an international search for the University of Oregon’s permanent president at its regular board meeting scheduled for September 15-16. As the process is determined, more information will be provided to the university community with opportunities to engage in the process and a webpage will be published on the Board of Trustees' website.

Please join me and the other members of the board in thanking Patrick and Janet for their service as interim president and interim provost of the University of Oregon. 

Sincerely, 

Ginevra Ralph 
Chair, Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon