Press Release


Contact: Di Saunders – Office, 503-725-5714; Cell, 503-807-5539

Higher Ed Board appoints John Minahan as President of WOU

PORTLAND, Dec. 1 – The State Board of Higher Education (the “Board”) met today at Portland State University to consider the appointment of the recommended candidate for president of Western Oregon University, among other items considered by the Board.

OUS chancellor George Pernsteiner recommended to the Board that Western Oregon University interim president, John Minahan, be appointed as president, effective immediately. Pernsteiner described the review process undertaken to reach this recommendation. This included several campus meetings with faculty, staff, students, and community members, all of which produced very positive commentary on the quality of Dr. Minahan’s leadership at WOU, and the many campus advancements made in his 15-month tenure as interim president. Pernsteiner noted that, based on the results of these consultations and the performance of Minahan, that a national search for a new president would be a costly, unnecessary exercise given the caliber of the current interim president, the positive impact Dr. Minahan has had on the campus in a short period of time, and his willingness to continue to serve as WOU’s president.

Board members interviewed Dr. Minahan at the meeting, asking about his efforts at WOU in the past and his future plans in areas such as increasing campus diversity, improving teaching and learning, developing a strategic plan for the university, aligning the campus mission with the public good and needs of the mid-valley region, and his accomplishments to-date as interim president. At the completion of this process, the Board voted unanimously to approve the Chancellor’s recommendation that John Minahan be appointed as president of WOU through June 30, 2009. This appointment is subject to the contract terms proposed by the Chancellor and approved by the Board president and Board secretary.

Pernsteiner said, “There was an overwhelming level of support for Dr. Minahan to become permanent president from every segment of the campus, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and the mid-valley community. I heard again and again about the strength and positive outcomes of John’s leadership, his commitment to students, faculty and academic excellence, his ability to quickly stabilize the campus’ financial situation, his view to the future, and his overall commitment to and love of the university,” noted Pernsteiner. “I was often told that every day Dr. Minahan is there he is a gift to the university and the community, and everyone wishes to have him at Western for a long time.”

Minahan was appointed interim president at WOU in August 2005, succeeding Dr. Philip Conn who served as president from 2002 to 2005. Dr. Minahan served as provost of WOU from 1998 to 2004, and served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Professor of Philosophy from 1986 to 2004. Previous to this, he held academic leadership positions at Xavier University, the University of North Florida, and the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Dr. Minahan received his B.A. in Philosophy from Canisius College and his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Georgetown University in Washington DC.   

In other action and discussion at the meetings, the Board and/or Committees:


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. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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