UO Board of Trustees will fill three open positions this spring

The University of Oregon Board of Trustees will need to fill three openings after a pair of its inaugural members and its student trustee step down from their posts as their terms come to an end in June.

Board Chair Ginevra Ralph and trustee Ross Kari, who were both appointed to the board when it was formed in 2013, will leave the board this spring at the conclusion of their terms. Julia Lo, a senior in the Clark Honors College, will step down upon her graduation.

All nominations for at-large or designated positions on the board are submitted directly to the governor’s executive appointments office. The deadline to submit application materials will likely be in early March.

To fill the open seats or make reappointments, Gov. Tina Kotek nominates candidates from the submissions and sends them to the Oregon Senate for a vote. The governor’s office has not yet finalized its appointment schedule for the coming year, but it is anticipated that nominations would be submitted to the Oregon Senate along with the governor’s other executive appointments during the spring.

If confirmed by the Senate, terms for each of the nominees would begin July 1.

The first term of faculty trustee Ed Madison of the School of Journalism and Communication ends this spring. Faculty members, staff and student trustees are eligible for two terms. Madison will be seeking re-appointment for a second term on the board. He is scheduled to talk with the University Senate in the spring about his time on the board.

Ralph and Kari were appointed to the first 14-member board of trustees by then-Gov. John Kitzhaber in 2013 and helped launch the university’s own institutional governing board.

“Ginevra and Ross have been invaluable to the university for the expertise they’ve brought to the board and the critical roles they filled as we embarked on establishing a new governing system,” said interim President Patrick Phillips. “They’ve selflessly given so much of themselves to the university since 2013 and even before that. We owe them a debt of gratitude that is beyond words and will greatly miss their presence on the board.”

Phillips also praised the work of student board member Lo.

“Julia’s impact in such a short time also cannot be overstated,” Phillips said. “She’s demonstrated she is a hard-working, critical thinker in the time we’ve been privileged to have her on the board. We are certain she has a bright future ahead of her and can’t wait to see what comes next.”

Ralph, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1983 and a master’s in special education in 1985, both at the UO, taught students with severe cognitive and physical disabilities. She later served on the UO College of Education faculty from 1992 to 2001 as an instructor/research assistant and practicum coordinator.

She was a trustee of the UO Foundation from 2006 to 2013, and was a member and past board president of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. She was appointed board chair in 2022, succeeding Chuck Lillis, who had held that title since the board’s inception.

She co-founded Eugene’s John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in 1991 with her husband and currently serves as director of education and development. 

Kari, who earned a bachelor’s in math in 1980 and an MBA in 1983, both from the UO, held many roles in the financial services sector, spending a large portion of his career at Wells Fargo, rising from senior financial analyst to executive vice president and chief financial officer. He was named executive vice president and CFO at Freddie Mac in September 2009, a position he held until late 2013. He is a former member of the UO Lundquist College of Business Board of Advisors and is currently chair of the board of trustees’ Finance and Facilities Committee.

Lo is a senior at the Clark Honors College, majoring in biology and minoring in business administration. She is a Wayne Morse Scholar and works as a student researcher at Oregon Health & Science University, focusing on how access to community resources leads to better health outcomes as well as rural veterans’ access to care in Oregon.

She is the founder of Be Write Back, a foundation that creates free kits for children to write letters to their incarcerated parents. She has served as an advocate for the Governor’s Re-Entry Council to implement the Bill of Rights for Children of Incarcerated Parents.

Additional details on the process can be found on the board of trustees website. General information about executive appointments can be found on the governor’s boards and commissions website. Any questions can be directed to the board’s office via email at trustees@uoregon.edu or by calling 541-346-3166.

By Jim Murez, University Communications