Press Release

Di Saunders, Director of Communications, OUS, 503-725-5714, 971-219-6869 (cell),
Endi Hartigan, Communications Associate, OUS, 503-725-5702,


Symposium video highlights effective college retention practices for underserved Oregon students

Board of Higher Education hosted “From Day 1 to Degree” symposium to a full house in November 2009

Portland, OR, March 31, 2010: The Oregon University System (OUS) is pleased to announce the availability of a 25-minute highlights video and summary of the “From Day 1 to Degree” symposium, hosted by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, at which Oregon and national leaders presented today’s promising practices in pre-college preparation and postsecondary retention programs. The symposium offered important data and practical ideas for improving services and increasing student preparation and retention at Oregon colleges and universities, with a special focus on underserved student populations, including Latino, Native American, African-American, first-generation, rural and low-income students.

Approximately 350 participants convened to a full house at Portland State University (PSU) for the event on November 19, 2009, representing Oregon public universities and community colleges, private colleges, K-12 education, philanthropy, business, and community organizations. Because of the overwhelming interest and demand for the event among Oregon educators and policymakers, OUS developed a web-based streaming video of symposium highlights, a written report, and a web-based video of the full event, to best share this critical information locally and nationally. The video and report can be accessed at:  

The highlights video showcases national and local leaders involved in retention efforts as well as powerful student voices on the need for services. “From Day 1 to Degree” featured keynote speaker Deborah A. Santiago, co-founder and vice president for Policy and Research at Excelencia in Education in Washington D.C., who offered a national perspective on working with Latino and other underserved students at colleges and universities to increase preparation, retention, and student success. Leaders of effective Oregon programs such as the Native American Youth & Family Center’s Early College Academy, César Chávez Leadership Conference, the Oregon State University College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) and many others led discussions on effective pre-college and in-college initiatives and faculty effectiveness in college retention.

Featured student speaker Natalya Payne, a senior at Portland’s Reynolds High School and a student participant in programs offered by Reaching and Empowering All People (REAP), said, “The biggest thing that counselors, teachers, and others in positions of leadership can do to help us be successful is to not just tell us that 50% of us are going to fail, but to give us the resources so that we can change that.” Board of Higher Education and university leaders are hoping that the information shared from this event will help educators to do exactly that.

“From Day 1 to Degree” was the second symposium organized by the Student Participation and Completion Subcommittee of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education, formed of community, policy, and education leaders from across the state and chaired by Board Director Dalton Miller-Jones, Professor of Psychology at PSU. Miller-Jones said, “Through public outreach across the state, we came to understand the profound barriers many students face when engaging in postsecondary education. We also see an incredible thirst among Oregon educators at all levels to receive and share information on how to better serve underserved populations. ‘From Day 1 to Degree’ allowed us to put our best minds together to work collectively on this. Most importantly, we need to recognize the urgency to take coordinated action.”


Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, 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

- OUS -
Eastern Oregon University | Oregon Institute of Technology | Oregon State University | Portland State University
Southern Oregon University | University of Oregon | Western Oregon University | Oregon Health & Science University - Affiliated