Oregon University System logo


March 2, 2001


A special meeting of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education was held on the campus of Southern Oregon University. The meeting was called to order by Board Vice President Lussier at 9:04 a.m.


The following Board members were in attendance:

Mr. Tom Imeson
Ms. Leslie Lehmann
Mr. Bill Williams
Mr. Jim Willis
Ms. Phyllis Wustenberg
Mr. Tim Young
Mr. Jim Lussier

(Board President VanLuvanee joined the meeting via telephone, but was later disconnected by the phone system, just prior to the formal vote.)

Absent: Dr. Herb Aschkenasy (business conflict), Mr. Shawn Hempel (ill), Dr. Geri Richmond (business conflict)


Vice President Lussier extended his gratitude to Directors Lehmann, Williams, and Willis for their efforts as the Board representatives to the Search Committee. He then turned the meeting over to Mr. Williams, who served as Committee chair.

Mr. Williams thanked all those who gave their time, always displaying high standards and professionalism. He paid special recognition to SOU Search Coordinator Mary Hussell, Search Liaison Virginia Thompson, and members of the Search Committee, as well as the campus Screening Committee, for their outstanding involvement in the process. To his fellow Search Committee members he observed, "The physical and emotional commitment is amazing and these people have done a superb job. They've developed a level of collegiality that will take them long beyond this search."

Further explaining that each applicant was given serious and appropriate consideration, Mr. Williams said that the Committee pledged to bring forward the strongest candidates. The Board interviewed three finalists in Executive Session on March 1. One finalist removed himself from consideration at the beginning of the interview process. The Board then deliberated and was able to identify a candidate with whom they instructed the Chancellor to negotiate. The finalist chosen was Dr. Elizabeth Zinser.

Vice President Lussier asked for a motion. Mr. Williams moved and Ms. Lehmann seconded the motion that the Board offer the position of president of Southern Oregon University to Dr. Elizabeth Zinser. Those voting in favor: Directors Imeson, Lehmann, Williams, Willis, Wustenberg, Young, and Lussier. Those voting no: none.

Chancellor Cox noted that he had never seen such congruence between the Search Committee and the Screening Committee. "It's as if we spoke to the same people and yet we spoke with them independently," he said.

Reminiscing about his time spent as president of SOU, Chancellor Cox shared that it was the best time of his life. Looking to President-designee Zinser and her husband Don Mackin, he said, "I hope that you are able to look back and say the 'Ashland experience' was the high point of your lives as well."


Dr. Zinser addressed the Board, saying that "it was a dream come true," to become president of SOU. "My heart is in what's to come at the University, region, and state. It's a coming home to that part of higher education that I care most deeply about. It is about the living, learning community, the residential experience, and the ability to serve the people. This is a step forward for me. I can fully appreciate the Chancellor's comments, and I look forward working in this community and further cultivating the 'Ashland advantage.'"

Concluding her remarks, Dr. Zinser paid tribute to Interim President Hopkins-Powell. She also complimented the Board, Search Committee, Screening Committee, and members of the University community for their support.

Mr. Lussier, on behalf of the Board, thanked Dr. Hopkins-Powell for her service to the University.


The special Board meeting adjourned at 9:25 a.m.

Diane Vines
Secretary of the Board

Don VanLuvanee
President of the Board