VIP: Conversation with Mary Cullinan, President of SOU

| Print |  Email
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
MaryCullinan0407.jpg Photo by Timothy Bullard

ViP

Mary Cullinan, President, Southern Oregon University

Mary Cullinan has been around academia long enough that she says she can sense the mood of a university simply by walking around campus. “You can feel when people are angry or not getting along,” she says.

The mood on campus at Southern Oregon University, where Cullinan is president, has been an anxious one since October when she leveled with her colleagues that the school faced a
$4 million shortfall. Despite much hand wringing, the new president was firm. Programs were pared and schools consolidated. By 2010 there will be two dozen fewer faculty positions at SOU.

The shortfall made a rocky start for Cullinan’s love affair with the 5,000-student university in Ashland.

Cullinan developed a crush on SOU almost four years ago when she interviewed for its provost position. “I loved this place and the school’s liberal arts mission. It stuck in my brain.” She got a job offer in east Texas instead, but after three years at Stephen F. Austin State University as vice president for academic affairs, Cullinan made her way back to Ashland, moving into the SOU President’s House last September.

She wasn’t expecting a lavish budget when she arrived, but neither did she know the depth of the shortfalls. The 56-year-old English literature scholar chooses her words precisely: “It was a question of degree.” 

Like a steadfast lover, she is quick to come to the defense of the small, regional university in her care and to point out that the current budget crisis resulted from years of paltry support from the state. She suggests that it’s a poor economic strategy to allow such negligence to continue. Then she quickly moves forward to talk about plans for the future: partnerships, an MBA program, civic engagement, new relationships.

With a smile that’s almost shy, she confesses  she’s still delighted to wake up every morning on campus. SOU is at a crossroads, Cullinan says, and she’s there to nudge it in the right direction.

— Christina Williams


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Closing the Gap: The two Oregons and the way forward

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

"Nostalgia is not an economic strategy."


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

On the Brink

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Leslie Carlson channels the big idea.


Read more...

Everything old is new again: How the EEOC is reinventing itself

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
BY TAMSEN LEACHMAN | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

It is important to understand the EEOC’s priorities, and ensure that your leadership understands the shifting expectations of regulators and the heightened standards to which you (and they) may be held.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS