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

Loose Talk

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

When gossip crosses the line.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Urban benediction

Linda Baker
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
072215 THUMB Credit-PontificalAcademyofSciencesBY LINDA BAKER

Charlie Hales has long viewed sound urban planning as the route to salvation: social, economic and environmental. This week, the mayor's city design philosophy got the nod of approval from a bona fide spiritual authority, Pope Francis.


Read more...

Preserving the Legacy

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

A New York floral and gift business takes on the iconic Harry & David brand.


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