“[Oregon State University-Cascades] must be a statewide priority,” said OSU President Edward Ray at the State of the University address held on the night of May 3. about the development and success of the four-year branch campus underway here in Central Oregon.
Over 300 members of Beaver Nation attended the address, which for the fifth year in a row has been held in Central Oregon. In attendance were alumni, accomplished OSU students, faculty, and members of the Central Oregon community; elected officials such as State Representative Knute Buehler were also in attendance.
“We are here tonight to celebrate Central Oregon—its beauty, economic vitality and livability—and to hear how the region’s growing partnerships with OSU and OSU-Cascades are bringing educational, economic and cultural benefits,” said Kathy Bickel, OSU’s Vice President for Alumni Relations.
Ray spoke about “examples of the incredible momentum, excellence, innovation and leadership occurring within OSU, especially at OSU-Cascades,” but another purpose of the address was, “a call to action.”
“We cannot build a four-year university from the ground up from the allocations that Oregon State University has traditionally received from the state,” Ray explained—allocations that have historically sustained the seven public universities in the state.
OSU will work with the OSU Foundation and will contribute financial support in order to raise funds to help pay for the OSU-Cascades project, Ray said, but sufficient state funding is necessary.
For the 2017 legislative session, OSU is requesting $9.5 million in reclamation work, $11 million in infrastructure improvements on the recently purchased 46-acre expansion site, $39 million for a second academic building, and $10 million for a student success center.
Just recently, some of the capital improvements were included in a recommendation brought forth by the seven public universities of Oregon to the Higher Education Coordinating Commission, “which is empowered to make a recommendation to the Governor in the coming months,” Ray said; but he hopes that the full $69 million sought out will be included in the Governor’s capital budget, “which we may see sometime in December.”
In addition, goals to enroll 3,000 to 5,000 students over the next 10 years will require $150 million to $250 million in new capital investments for OSU Cascades.
“Investing in this University campus is about more than just bricks and mortar,” Ray explained. The investments in OSU Cascades would make a difference for Central Oregon—providing students a future to contribute to the success of the community and to “compete successfully in their careers with anyone, and anywhere and at any time.”
OSU-Cascades students will have the opportunity to have experiential learning opportunities, such as internships in local companies, research experiences with faculty members, or a capstone project within majors.
“Right now, one in five of our students participate in these experiences, but our goal is that every OSU-Cascades student will participate in at least one of these before they graduate,” said Becky Johnson, Vice President for OSU Cascades.
More than 1,100 students are currently enrolled at OSU Cascades, 160 of those being freshman and sophomores—“living proof of Cascades’ exciting transformation into a four-year institution of higher education,” Bickel said.
The first building of the OSU-Cascades four-year university is to be opened this coming fall term. It will be the academic building. Ray announced for the first time that evening that it will be named Tykeson Hall “in honor of the philanthropy and phenomenal leadership support that the Tykeson family has provided.” Tykeson is the CEO of BendBroadband.
“Let me assure you that while we know that we are not done, we can be confident that working together, the best is yet to come for Oregon State University, and OSU Cascades,” Ray said in closing.
Dylan bailey | The Broadside