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Senate confirms long-time education leader, COCC president as two new members of State Board of Higher Education

Current member Jim Francesconi is reappointed
to another 4-year term

PORTLAND, May 23, 2012 – Dr. Orcilia Zúñiga Forbes, a long-time education leader in Oregon, and Dr. James Middleton, president of Central Oregon Community College, will join the Oregon State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) as new members, and Jim Francesconi, a Portland attorney, has been reappointed and will continue to serve on the Board. Governor John A. Kitzhaber announced the appointments on May 16, and the three were confirmed by the Oregon Senate today.

Dr. Middleton replaces Dr. Preston Pulliams, district president of Portland Community College who has been on the Board since 2007. Middleton’s term begins July 1, 2012 and runs through June 30, 2016. Dr. Forbes is a new Board member whose term begins July 1, 2012 and runs through June 30, 2014. Under Senate Bill 242, the Board increases this year by three new members, to 15, and Forbes is the first to be nominated. New members’ terms are staggered, with the initial appointments for less than four years. The Governor will appoint additional members for Senate confirmation later this year. Francesconi will serve another 4-year term, ending on June 30, 2016.

Matt Donegan, president of the State Board of Higher Education, said, “We are very pleased to welcome Dr. Forbes and Dr. Middleton to the Board, and to have Mr. Francesconi reappointed for another term. We’re excited about having the benefit of their many years of experience in postsecondary education, and their direct work with students, faculty and Oregon’s communities. Our gratitude goes out to Dr. Preston Pulliams for all of his years of dedication and wise guidance, serving thousands of students and helping Oregonians attain their education and career goals.”

Orcilia Zuniga Forbes is currently vice president emeritus of University Advancement at Oregon State University, having retired from there in 2004; she served as a vice president in this role at OSU beginning in 1998. Prior to this, Forbes was vice president for student affairs and vice president of university advancement at the University of New Mexico from 1988 to 1998. She served in multiple leadership roles at Portland State University for more than two decades, from 1965 to 1988, including assistant director of health services, dean of students, and vice president/provost of student affairs. Prior to this, Dr. Forbes worked as a nurse in schools in Minnesota. She serves and has served on a number of distinguished boards, including Meyer Memorial Trust, University of New Mexico Foundation, the Chalkboard Project, Portland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation, Jeld-Wen Tradition Foundation, and Providence Health Systems, among many other important appointments. Dr. Forbes has a B.S. in Nursing from the University of New Mexico; a Master’s in Public Health from University of California, Berkley; and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Education Policy and Management.

James E. Middleton has served as the fourth president of Central Oregon Community College since 2004, during which time he led the institution in doubling enrollment over a four-year period, completing significant facility expansion, and opening two additional satellite campuses. Prior to joining COCC, he was president of the College of Marin in California from 1993 to 2003, followed by one year as a visiting scholar at the Community College Leadership Development Initiatives at Claremont Graduate University. Before his work in California, Middleton spent 11 years at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, first as director of integrated studies and then as dean and vice president of academic affairs. Middleton serves and has served on a number of boards and other important appointments, including the Executive Board of the Oregon Community College Association; State Board of Higher Education’s Access and Affordability Working Group, the Rural Education Access Committee, and the Community College Growth Management Committee. He has a B.A. in European Literature and Thought from the University of Iowa; a Master’s in English Literature from the University Leeds in England; a Master’s in English and an Educational Specialist Degree in Community College Education from the University of Iowa; and a Doctor of Arts in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan.

James L. Francesconi was appointed to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education in February 2007, and served as vice president of the Board from 2009-2011. He is currently an attorney with the law firm of Haglund Kelley Jones & Wilder LLP. Francesconi is a co-founder of Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN), which provides before- and after-school programs; and is a founding board member of the Oregon Idea, which works to unite the business community, community colleges, universities and OHSU in advocating for more resources for postsecondary education so as to improve Oregon's economy. Francesconi served as a city commissioner on the Portland City Council for two terms, from 1997 to 2004. For 18 years he successfully ran a litigation firm which he founded, during which time he became a leader in the social justice-based Portland Organizing Project, and founded the Youth Employment Empowerment Coalition. He received a B.A. in Humanities from Stanford University, and his J.D. from the University of Oregon. Francesconi is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

The Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities and one branch campus, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu