The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Becky Johnson Oral History Interview

August 3, 2015 – 12:00p.m.

Video: “A Leader for Central Oregon's Four-Year University” . August 3, 2015

Location: Graduate and Research Center, OSU-Cascades, Bend, Oregon.
Interviewer:  Janice Dilg

1:19:12 - Abstract | Biography | Download Transcript (PDF)


Janice Dilg: Great, if you would introduce yourself please.

Becky Johnson: I'm Becky Johnson, I'm vice president for OSU-Cascades, and I've been at OSU for about thirty-two years now.

JD: And I'm Janice Dilg, oral historian for the OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Project. Today is August 3rd, 2015 and we are conducting this interview at the Graduate and Research Center in Bend, Oregon. Welcome.

BJ: Thank you, thanks for coming all the way out here to do this.

JD: Happy to. If you wouldn't mind by just providing a little bit of biographical background; where you're from, a little of your early education and interests that led you to where you are today.

BJ: Sure, happy to. So I grew up in Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin - went to school there at the University of Wisconsin and got interested in natural resource economics. Went to grad school at Michigan State University and ironically I really wanted to go to grad school at Oregon State University. And I applied to five different schools and they were the only one that did not offer the assistantship, and so I ended up going to Michigan State. And as it turns out, that was great because had I gone to Oregon State they wouldn't have hired me out of grad school to be a professor. So I came to OSU in 1984 in the College of Forestry as a resource economist and was there for about twenty years before I became associate dean in the College of Forestry. Did that for a few years, was in charge of OSU 2007 - which was one of our major strategic planning efforts - and that led to me becoming the vice provost for Academic Affairs and International Programs. I did that for about five years and then ended up coming over here to lead the OSU-Cascades campus.

JD: So I want to fill in some of those areas that you just brought up, including going way back to - you said you had an interest in natural resources; what sparked that interest?

BJ: We spent all of our summers at our summer cabin in northern Wisconsin - and in Wisconsin they call that "up north" - on the lake, and I was very involved with fishing and hiking, and had we not had a cabin I would have liked to have camped as well. We didn't do a lot of camping. But very much interested in natural resources. The guy that lived across the street from us in Madison worked for the Department of Natural Resources and he kind of took me under his wing. He was probably my lifetime mentor in terms of natural resources and would take me fishing and take me doing a lot of things in the outdoors, and so that kind of got me on that path.

And I had a friend who had moved to Madison in high school who was from Oregon and she talked about how wonderful Oregon was and all of the great environmental kinds of assets that we have here in Oregon. And I think it was in high school too, that I read this book, I think it was called Ecotopia, that was about the Pacific Northwest seceding from the United States and becoming this hippy commune of environmentalists. And anyway, so I always had a very glamorous image of Oregon. And when I was a senior I did come out for my first backpacking trip, that we actually did in Washington in the North Cascades National Park, which is very rugged and very strenuous. But I really enjoyed it and so I was kind of hooked.

JD: And where is the connection between formal education and natural resources? Loving to go camping and fishing is one thing, but saying "this is what I want to make my life's work of" is another.

BJ: Yeah, and I often think about all the students we advise and how they come to their major and what they're going to do. And I went to the University of Wisconsin, I played basketball and I played golf on their varsity teams there, and I was mostly interested in playing sports. But I was good in school and paid attention and I had a TA my very first year. I had tried to sign up for a sociology class, and in those days you had to walk around to different buildings to get your schedule filled out, it wasn't all online like it is now. And I remember it being cold in the winter in Wisconsin and I was tired of walking around as a freshman and not being able to get in anything. I walked into this room, all the sociology classes were filled, but the economics class was open, and I said "okay, I'm signing up for economics." And I happened to have a TA in that class that was just fantastic. And I've since looked him up again and written to him about what an influence he had on my life in terms of steering me down the path of economics. And so I just kept taking economics classes, but I was never declared a major in economics; I just kept taking classes.


And I got to be kind of at the end of my junior year and it's like, what am I going to major in? And so I looked at what I had the most credits in and that was economics, so I decided I would major in economics. Never saw an advisor my entire career at the University of Wisconsin. So I decided I was going to do that and then I sat next to a graduate student when I was a senior in an advanced theory class, I said—you know, we got to be friends—"what are you doing?" And he says "I'm a graduate student in Natural Resource Economics." And I was like "well, what's that?" And it's like oh, I can combine this love of the natural resources that I have with my career that was kind of by accident in economics. Because up until then I thought what do you do with a degree in economics? I thought I would work in a state office building somewhere in Madison, Wisconsin and be pretty bored. So it sounded great that you could do these things.

And of course that meant I had to go to grad school. And then once I had chosen grad school and you get your masters, by then the life of a professor was starting to look pretty good, because you get to know your professors. And it's like okay, well what do I have to do to become a professor? Well now I have to get a PhD, and things just kind of go along that path.

JD: And when you were growing up, was education a big emphasis in your family? Was there an expectation, either by your parents or you, that you would go to college?

BJ: Really an expectation. My dad went to college, my mother did not, and she always regretted that, and she really, really wanted her kids to do that. She felt embarrassed that she didn't have a degree and all of her friends did. And all of her friends had been in sororities, and she felt like she really missed out. I had two older brothers; my oldest brother was not an academic at all, kind of barely got out of high school, so my other brother and I were the good kids. You know, it's like, okay, we don't want to be like the older brother. And so it was never any question that we would go to college. And my parents paid for it, which was wonderful, so I didn't have any debt coming out of undergrad. I had a little debt coming out of grad school. But it was very nice. And again, going to school in your own hometown gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of going home for the Sunday meals and taking your laundry with you and having access to the parents' car. So there were a lot of advantages to having that kind of family and parental support while you're going to college.

JD: And so you do your dissertation and then, "after college, what?" is the perennial question, I think.

BJ: And you don't know any of this until you're in the middle of it, right? I mean, at least I didn't. My parents weren't academics, so I had no idea how this all works. So you get into grad school, and like I said, you kind of get your masters and then you see that a lot of your classmates are going on for PhDs and you explore all this, and you end up getting your PhD. I may have TA'ed one or two classes. That just meant helping grade a few papers or things like that. And so by the time you get your PhD, now people are saying "okay, you've got to go to your professional society meeting the year before and starting interviewing." And all the schools come to the annual meeting and you can sign up for interviews with all these schools that have jobs.

And it was a process. I remember the first kind of call I got was from Louisiana State University and the guy asked me "I want to make sure you're really serious that you could live in the South." And at that time I didn't have any other offers so I said "yeah, yeah I could live in the South." And I'm pretty sure I could not live in the South. But that offer never came through. But this was my only interview I actually traveled for, was at Oregon State University. I was lucky enough to get the job and moved out here, and I've been here ever since.

JD: So talk a little about coming out for the interview, your first impressions of Corvallis and the campus.

BJ: I remember distinctly driving down I-5 and turning off at the Albany exit, so I didn't come down to 34 there. And when you first start coming in on Highway 99 into Corvallis and out on 9th street, it's not impressive. And I had lived in Madison my whole life and then East Lansing, which is tied to Lansing, so both much larger towns. But Madison in particular, being a very progressive town, I was a little nervous, kind of about "what am I getting into here?" But that was at night, so you're seeing a different perspective. And then you wake up in the morning and you see the hills and the trees. And the size of the trees is amazing, coming from the Midwest and having small pines, and now all the sudden you've got these giant Douglas firs. And so it was a nice town, easy to get around, all that was great, but I was a little bit worried about how small and how conservative Corvallis might be.


JD: And so then you go for your interview; talk a little about what that process was like, and even the Forestry Department at that point.

BJ: So I think there were maybe four women in the College of Forestry when I came here, as academic faculty, as professors. And when I left twenty years later, so I was the fifth and I think there were still five when I left. Now there had been some turnover, but very slow to adapt to that. And we were in Peavy Hall, which is now going to be torn down and replaced with a new forestry building. But Peavy Hall, I think, was built in the sixties, and at the time they didn't have any women forestry students, and I'm not sure they had any women in forestry faculty, probably not. And so the only women's bathrooms were for the secretarial staff. And so, as the composition of the College of Forestry changed, they had to convert a bunch of men's bathrooms into women's bathrooms, just so we'd have the facilities that we needed. So it was—and I heard from people who had tried to get into the College of Forestry as students back in that time and were told basically, "you're not going to get in here, let me take you over to Agriculture or some other major where you'll be happier."

So it was interesting to come into a culture that knew it wanted to change and needed to change, but it was slow; slow to change. I can't say I experienced any discrimination or any challenges in that regard from any of my colleagues or administration. It was difficult in the classroom to teach to mostly a male audience who basically was not going to—they were not going to respect me until I kind of proved myself. And there were a lot of young men who would sit in the back with their baseball caps on and they were spitting into their cans, you know, their chew, and leaning back in their chairs like this [leans back with arms crossed], like "what the heck do you know" kind of thing. So that was, I'd say, the only evidence of, I don't want to call it discrimination, but it was challenging.

JD: And what did you figure out were the things that you had to say or do in order to earn their respect and bring them in?

BJ: It's mostly a matter of treating them with respect and showing—and obviously you have to know what you're talking about, so you have to know your subject matter. But I felt like, if you could get a couple weeks into this term and develop some type of a rapport and a relationship with people, but respect especially, you would get respect back in return. And I know some of my other female colleagues had a lot more difficulty with this than I did, and I felt like they were always fighting. They were always kind of fighting these students. And if you didn't fight them and you tried to get to know them a little bit better, they would definitely come around. But it was upsetting to me that you had to—you didn't have the respect. You knew that the male forestry professor that entered the room had the respect from day one, and we had to earn it.

JD: And you mentioned that it was a department that knew it needed to change and was working to change. Do you think that was a factor in your hiring? Or how did that play out with your colleagues?

BJ: So I was actually in the department, at the time it was called Resource Recreation Management, so my area of expertise is in non-market evaluation of natural resources. So I wasn't working on timber issues; I was working on recreation and wildlife, and fish and wildlife, water, all of the values that we have for forests that aren't involved in cutting down a tree and taking it to the mill. So the traditional forestry is in the forest management area, forest engineering, those were particularly male-dominated. In my Recreation department we had two or three women in that department and a very, very progressive department chair. I think he's—he went on to become dean at University of Montana's College of Forestry, and I think he might be provost there now. But he was super supportive and enlightened. He actively tried to hire women.


So it was the college that was taking longer to kind of come along with that particular department. So it was lucky I went into a department that was very progressive. Our students, we had a lot more women students that were interested in recreation than were interested in more of the traditional forestry, but I had to teach them classes in the traditional Forestry department as well, and those were the most challenging.

JD: And what was the dean's name?

BJ: That was Perry Brown. He never became dean in Corvallis; he was associate dean in Corvallis.

JD: Oh okay, sorry.

BJ: I was hired by Carl Stoltenberg, and then George Brown was the next dean after that, and then Hal Salwasser was the dean after that. So I worked for all three of those deans.

JD: And so what were your goals, or perhaps the department that you were in, goals for "here's what the coursework is now, here's where we'd like to see it in ten years or fifteen years?"

BJ: Forestry went through a lot of that. Forestry's been such a changing field over the last twenty, thirty years that we, both as a department and as a college, spent a lot of time in strategic planning and trying to think about the future. Because obviously our students, whatever you're teaching them, it's going to be four years till they get out and then another period of time before they meet mid-career, and so what are you preparing them for? And it was always a challenge because we went through the spotted owl wars where all the sudden we weren't harvesting as much and people were more interested in these non-timber kinds of values, but there wasn't any revenue coming from those non-timber kinds of values. So people were looking at user fees for recreation, which of course are now kind of standard in the Forest Service field and National Park Service. So there are some ways of generating revenue, but it's nothing like the revenue you would get from harvesting timber, so there's always that challenge there.

So first of all it was economic values of timber versus other kinds of values. And then it was, now we have all of the climate change and the carbon sequestration and endangered species and all these things. So the College of Forestry is way different now than it was thirty years ago, forty years ago or fifty years ago, when the main objective was how can we most efficiently grow trees, harvest them, replant them and have a healthy forest? And now it's so complex, and so we're always trying to figure out what are the tools students need? And what you always come down with are, there some fundamental skills like critical thinking, being able to work in a team, and can you communicate?

And when we would talk to the employers, OSU had a great reputation for hit-the-ground-running foresters. And so we were teaching them their great skills in mensuration and tree identification and how to lay out a road, all those kinds of things. But the challenges; they can't write as well as we'd like them to be able to write and they can't communicate as well as we'd like them to communicate. And I think we hear the same thing across all industries now. I still hear it. I wish students could communicate better and I wish they were better critical thinkers and problem solvers. And so those skills are hard to figure out. What's your curriculum? You know, you try, you do a lot of team projects in forestry and you try to put problems in front of them that they haven't seen before, so they have to bring out those kinds of critical thinking skills. But I think every discipline is challenged with how to develop that into their curriculum and test for it. How do you know all the people have it when they graduate?

JD: So you started your teaching as an assistant professor in 1984, do I have that correct? And you're talking about students and kind of ongoing concerns and desires. What do you recall about what the student population just generally was at OSU when you began? And how that's changed, if it has?

BJ: I probably can't speak to the student population in general, because when I started, and probably for my first twenty years - Forestry's pretty isolated. It's at the edge of campus, all of our courses were taught in one building, in Peavy Hall, and there wasn't a lot of reason to get connected across campus. I was a faculty senator probably for one term, two to three year term for that, that got me out a little bit more. But I wasn't doing a lot of committee work or getting involved. I was familiar with my colleagues in Agricultural Economics and Resource Economics that were Ag Econ or in Econ, so certainly knew those people. But the students in Forestry, again, within the Recreation department, these were kids that wanted to save the world and they were very idealistic. They all wanted to work for the Park Service, and some for the Forest Service, but mostly the Park Service. "I want to be an interpreter, I want to be at Mount St. Helens and explaining to the visitor how this ecosystem is changing." And of course there's very few jobs in that field, but they were so passionate about it.


And I remember my colleague one time that said "I've talked to so many parents who are like 'oh, I'm really worried that my son or daughter wants to go into Recreation Management, you know, I think they should be in Business or Engineering; I'm just worried they're not going to get a job." And he said "well, your son or daughter can go to school for four years studying something they hate so that they can then get a job in something they'll hate for the next thirty years of their life, or they can go and do something they're passionate about, and they'll probably figure out how to make a living once they get out of here." And so it was fun to be around students that were really committed to something; that knew they weren't going to make a lot of money in the field when they got out, but they were just so passionate about it that it made it totally worthwhile.

JD: And teaching comes with lots of different elements to it. And being a professor - once you were a professor and you're actually a professor yourself, not looking at the professor life - what were the things that were kind of what you expected? And perhaps some of the things that you didn't expect?

BJ: Well, I think I started to say, when I was talking about grad school and the fact that I hadn't TA'ed very much, nobody teaches you how to teach. You arrive at your very first job, and I was assigned four or five classes that I never had before. I was an economics major. And there was a faculty member on sabbatical and I was supposed to teach, it was Recreation Planning and Management, and there were all these tools that they were using that I literally had never seen. So I'm just picking up the notes from the person on sabbatical and trying to teach that person's class, when I've never taught any class. I've never had a class on theory of education or learning or pedagogy or anything. And this is the way it works at a university. It's crazy. I don't know why we don't train our PhD students to teach, because - I was teaching probably four classes a year; Forestry has a pretty light teaching load compared to a lot of other colleges - but just draw them right into that, and just you do what you know. And that's what's hard about higher education, is nothing changes because all we know is what we were taught. And so if we were taught with a lecture format, then we teach with a lecture format.

And over time that changed as I started to do—I was lucky that we got to—we had a teaching workshop very early in my career at College of Forestry where we could take two weeks in the summer and go to Silver Falls State Park for an intensive teaching workshop. And that made a huge difference in my teaching, to be able to sit back and think about, "what are the objectives of this class?" "How do we make sure that we're teaching to the objectives, testing according to the objectives and hopefully doing some hands-on activities that make it more interesting than just sitting and lecturing to students?" So that was a rude awakening as you get out of grad school and you get your first job. And then, like I said, my PhD dissertation was on the impact of user fees on grain shipments in the Great Lakes, so it had absolutely nothing to do with forestry or natural resources, but it's what you were getting paid to do while you were a graduate student.

JD: Right.

BJ: And so even on the research side I was very much handicapped, because most PhD students would take their dissertation research and turn it into the first couple of journal articles that they will then have toward their promotion and tenure. And so nobody in College of Forestry cared about grain user fees in the Great Lakes, so I didn't even try to publish that work. But I was lucky, again, to have a couple of colleagues that quickly got me onto projects, mostly funded by the Forest Service. We got those into a few journal outlets, but I was probably a couple years behind where I should have been if I had gotten a job that was very in tune with what my PhD research had been.

JD: And so then, as you start to move through your tenure, you become involved in more administrative roles. Talk about what led to that progression, that change when you became, I guess, the first was being associate dean of Academic Affairs and International Programs?


BJ: Right. And I think I applied maybe for one job the whole time I was at OSU that wasn't at OSU. So there was the department chair position at Colorado State University had come open, and I think I was probably an associate professor at that time, and I applied for that and did not get it. I didn't get an interview for that position. But it was the first time I'd thought about, "maybe I want to do something in administration." And I have to say, and I probably shouldn't say this on camera, but the main reason I thought about doing it is I thought I could do it better than what I was seeing. And I just felt like there was room for growth and room for making a difference, making an impact. And I know now, being on the other side, that faculty are always frustrated with administration, so I'm probably not doing it any better than my predecessors, because you can't make everybody happy, obviously. But at the time I thought I could do better than that.

And we were organized where we had associate deans that were focused either on research or academic affairs, and I knew research wasn't my area of kind of specialty. You have to do what you do to get promoted and I got promoted to full professor and had a research career that was respectable, but certainly not setting anything on fire. I was much more interested in the classroom and the academic side of the job. And so that was the position that was of more interest to me, just kind of student development, student progression. And again, my department head that hired me went on to have that job before he went to Montana, so I was pretty familiar with what that job was, and when it came open I applied for that. It was an internal search; there were three of us within the college that applied for that, the other two were men. The other two were very, very upset that they didn't get the job and that I did. They had been there much longer than me, and I'm sure they thought I just got it because I was a woman. And maybe I did, who knows?

JD: Maybe. I think one of the things that we should note during this time period is Measure 5 happened in Oregon, which kind of drove a big hole through lots of things, particularly education. But perhaps talk a little about how those changes were affecting OSU. And you were involved in some of the big picture aspects of, you mentioned the 2007 strategic plan, just jumping a head a little bit, talk a little about what you knew about OSU navigating those significant changes.

BJ: I felt like OSU was in budget-cutting mode for the first twenty-five years, at least, that I was at OSU. I swear. I mean, maybe the first couple years we got some major raises, but after that it seems like every year it's like "oh, we're getting cut again, we're getting cut again, and we're going to defer raises until next year." And it just seemed like OSU had this culture of never having enough, always in a budget-cutting mode. And it wasn't until we started INTO-OSU and brought international students to OSU that we actually started increasing budgets, hiring new faculty, feeling like "wow, we actually have some resources."

So Measure 5, what I remember most - again, I was not that active at the university level when Ballot Measure 5 passed - but that's when we closed Journalism and Religious Studies. I think those were the two main ones, maybe the only two actual degree programs that we closed at OSU. And probably not great foresight on the journalism one, because you're putting your graduates out into all the major media within your state, and now we have none. It would be like closing your College of Education and not having any OSU graduates in K through 12. But that got closed. And in Eugene, I remember that they, I believe they closed the Leisure Studies Department, and that had an impact on us because that was like the only competing program to our Recreation Program. And not a big impact, by any means, but I'm sure it was a benefit to now be the only place a student would go in the state of Oregon if they wanted to study recreation management types of issues.

JD: And how much, when there's a change in top administration, president of the university, how important is that to the tenor of the campus and the functioning of the university?


BJ: I would say when you are in the rank and file faculty, hardly any at all. You are completely tuned into your own department, and not even so much the dean of your college. You have your own internal departmental politics, you have your internal department budget, you're mostly worried about how many courses do I have to teach and where am I going to get my next grant and how am I going to publish a paper this year so that I can get promoted or tenured? And honestly, the president of the university has very little impact on those things down at that department level, other than, obviously, the allocation of resources comes from the top.

So I would say, I was hired when MacVicar was president. I remember getting invited to his house right when I came here, but I don't think I met him, I think his wife invited all of the women that were—the women faculty that were hired that year. And they wanted me to get involved with a group that had the OSU Thrift Store. And as I started to learn, these were all the spouses of faculty that were doing these things, they weren't women faculty. But there were so few women faculty that they just thought "well, women are women, right?" So I should be interested in the same thing that—it's like "I don't have time to volunteer at the thrift store, I'm trying to get tenure." Anyway, so that was interesting. But I—so MacVicar, Byrne, Risser, and then President Ray. By the time Risser was there, I was more involved at the university level, and so once you get involved at the, say, college dean level or anything in the central administration, obviously the president makes a huge difference in your job and the direction of the university.

JD: And as associate dean, what were the issues or the changes that you felt you were able to help accomplish or accomplish during your tenure in that position?

BJ: I think at the time I was in that position, our most difficult challenge was recruiting students to the College of Forestry. Again, the timber economy had declined throughout Oregon, and if you were a high school student in an urban area, the thought of going into forestry was like, I mean, you wouldn't even think of it. Why would I want to do that? And the truth was that there were a number of Forestry majors that are very diverse: if you were in Wood Preservation you'd be studying chemistry; if you were in Wood Manufacturing you'd be studying business skills; if you were in Forest Engineering you'd be studying engineering principles; if you were in Recreation you'd be studying a lot of social science principles. So all the disciplines that you might be interested in, you could be a sociology major or you could be a forest recreation major and studying the social aspects of people who are having conflicts or not conflicts, and then in the natural environment. But nobody thinks about that. They think, if I want to study engineering I'm going to be a civil engineer and I'm going to build roads. Well you could be a forest engineer and you could build roads on some of the steepest terrain you would ever want to see and have incredible challenges and incredible roads, but nobody kind of thought of that.

So it was very difficult to recruit students during that time. And so we were trying to figure out how to get our recruiters into rural classrooms in particular, because we would have a lot more chance of getting students from rural areas. And high schools have a lot of rules about not wanting every university and every program sending a recruiter into their classrooms, so you had to have connections and relationships to be able to do that. But just that whole recruiting, that was one of the major emphases.

And then a lot of times we'd get our students that were already at Oregon State University and then would discover Forestry and then they would transfer. And so it's like, okay, how do we get in front of those students? So we had a class called Wilderness Survival when I first got there, and it was an evening class and it would have, I don't know, two hundred students that would come and fill up an auditorium for three hours once a week to learn wilderness survival with a very engaging, energetic, young professor. And that's how we would get some students that then would transfer into the Recreation major.

And you know, you're just trying to figure out how you can get more people interested in that. And then student success and how do you retain them? And then, of course, where do they go in terms of jobs? We did a lot of work with employers trying to figure out, what are you looking for? What are we missing? What can we do differently? So you get more involved in that strategic leadership side of the programs.


JD: And so then, a couple years later, you move into the vice provost position, again for Academic Affairs and International Programs. How was that different than being associate dean?

BJ: Well I did that, I'm sure I got that position, because I was asked to lead the strategic planning effort for the entire university. And that was with Paul Risser and Tim White. And they wanted to have a more inclusive, collaborative strategic planning effort, because usually you hire some consultant who comes in and works with the leadership and you do your strategic plan for five years and nobody pays any attention to it. They wanted to do it differently. And so we actually, all the deans participated on subcommittees, we ended up with, I don't know, something like six hundred people across the university involved in one way or another through the strategic planning process, and so people felt very engaged.

The difficulty is when it actually comes time to adopt the strategic plan that might have a consequence for someone, then people start to back off and "well, I'm not so sure this is the way we want to go." And at that time, we were talking about having three major areas of emphasis at Oregon State. The idea is, we can't be great at everything, so what are—and those are now our three, those have endured as our three areas of specialty, which some people call Healthy People, Healthy Economies, and Healthy Environment, but they have longer names than that. But basically it's the Ag/Forestry versus the - not versus - but then there's the Health and Human Sciences, Vet Med and Pharmacy focused on Healthy People, and then there's the Engineering and Business.

And of course, that leaves out the entire Liberal Arts and Science Colleges. And so a battle at OSU, I think over time, has been how do you elevate those two colleges to be at the kind of same research and scholarly level and not just seen as teaching units? Because before I got to OSU, apparently in the state of Oregon they wanted to separate things that come out of universities, and so the U of O got arts and sciences and then we got all of these applied things. You know, we have the Forestry and the Vet Med and all these other things. So in Liberal Arts, in particular, they weren't allowed to have graduate programs for many, many years. And so we're at this place where we're saying, what is OSU's strengths? Where are our strengths? Where should we focus? And our strengths are in these areas, like Engineering and Natural Resources and healthy communities, healthy people.

And yet, what is the role then for the arts and sciences? And they didn't just want to be the support to these things that are considered our signature areas. And so that kind of, I wouldn't say it derailed the process by any means, but it left it in a little bit of limbo. And that's right when President Risser left and President Ray was arriving. And so what was—so President Risser did not sign off on the plan before he left, and then President Ray came and was hearing a little of this kind of grumbling from certain factions. And so he said "well, we'll take one more year on this process and wrap it up," and then it did become the strategic plan.

And so there's four areas now. And we still talk about three signature areas, but arts and sciences is an equal area just as valuable as any of the other three areas. And we have these divisions now, but they're not very functional. We just, we take certain colleges and we say "you're in that division, you're in that division," and we're still working on how to figure out how to make those divisions more operational and have some meaning. So that whole process of shepherding that many people through a strategic planning process, getting people to buy in, getting the administration to sign off at the end, couldn't have been all bad, because the provost did—so President Risser left, the provost Tim White became interim president. The vice provost Sabah Randhawa became interim provost, and Sabah asked me if I wanted to be interim vice provost, to take his place. And so I did that and then all that became permanent. Tim White actually left and we got a permanent president, Sabah became permanent provost, and I became permanent vice provost.


JD: And was the discussion about being part of the process of developing a branch campus part of the strategic plan? Or happening in a little of the same time period? Or was it right on the heels of that?

BJ: Yeah, it would have been, it actually started in 2001, so it was a competition—and I've learned some of this since I've been here—but this community has wanted a four year university for about thirty years. And they have a committee here of very influential people who were trying to lobby the state government to let them have a university. And this was Kitzhaber's first term and he decided that there weren't enough resources to have an eighth university in Oregon, because there weren't enough resources for the seven that we already had. And he basically kind of said no, and then he came back and said well maybe it would be okay to have a capstone university or a branch campus of an existing university.

So he sent out a kind of RFP if any of the existing universities would like to develop this capstone university here in Bend where the students would start at COCC for two years and then come to this branch campus. So U of O and OSU put in a proposal. And Henry Sayre led our proposal-writing process and I helped him develop, actually, the Tourism and Outdoor Leadership degree that was going to be one of these first degrees that would come in, because it made so much sense for central Oregon. So I worked with him a little bit on that. And then the position came open in 2001 for who's going to be the academic leader of the branch campus, and I applied for it. And Henry Sayre and I were the only two candidates for that position. And I came over here and did interviews, a lot of interviews on campus, all went really well, I got lots of positive feedback. And then the provost, Tim White, called and said "we're giving the position to Henry."

And I was pretty devastated at the time, but he was the one who had been over here as the leader of our proposal; he was making all the relationships here in town, he wrote the bulk of the proposal, so he kind of had a head start on me for sure in that. And at that time I was still the interim vice provost, so it was, you know, I could come to the Bend or I could—anyway, I remember it just being, really wanting that position and being very devastated that I didn't get it. I wasn't vice provost and I was still in College of Forestry. And sometimes there is, again, a silver lining. And then the position became available ten years later, whatever it was, nine years later, and I ended up doing it then. But at the time we were doing the strategic planning we didn't even—I don't remember even talking about Cascades. And now I'm over here living this and realize "you guys don't even talk about us" [laughs]. And it's true, when you're over there you don't.

JD: Well, and so, you know we don't have to go too far down this path, but so OSU was awarded the campus, and lots of things happened at that same time - 9/11, major budget cuts at the state level - but it has persevered, and been successful.

BJ: It's had its ups and downs, and those budget cuts were devastating here. So when we put forward our proposal, as I recall, it was for a starting budget of like 7 million or 7.5 million dollars. We're going to offer these degree programs, we're going to hire this many faculty, and when the legislature actually funded it, they funded it for half that amount. So it's like "we want you to do this, here's what you told us you need, but we're going to give you half, but go do it anyway." How familiar does that sound, you know? This is what happens all the time. So you just had to go with what you had and probably offer fewer degrees, and that cripples the whole start-up. You know, you don't have what—one of the things that's been very enlightening since being here is to learn about how difficult it is to start a new university. Because the first thing students want is a variety of majors, and at that time we had 235 students when we started.

Well how many majors can you have that you're going to divide 235 students into without having one student in every class? So you've got to start with majors that are very broad, so we had Liberal Studies, we have Natural Resources, so we don't have English and History and Political Science and Sociology and Anthropology. We have these umbrella degrees where you'll take a course in each one of those things. Well that means you have one English professor, you have one Political Science professor, you have one Communications professor, and they all want to have more colleagues. They all want to grow in their own disciplines.


But when you do that, you don't add any new students. And so if you want to add new students, what you have to do, if you're going to survive, you have to keep adding new majors. So you've got this tension all the time where the faculty that are here can't understand why you're starting an Engineering program and hiring Engineering faculty when we only have one English professor. Wouldn't it be better to hire another English professor? And then you keep saying "no, because you only have twenty students in your class now." So it's always just a little bit of a battle that way about growing the university that nobody thinks about when you're at the large OSU with 230 majors. And in the College of Forestry we never thought about what the next major was going to be, we thought about what should our major become?

So you have a whole group of faculty that are in the same discipline that sit around and think about where is my field going in the future? And how shouldn't we tweak our curriculum? And maybe we need a name change or maybe we need a few different courses? But it's not what's the next Forestry degree going to be or what's the university degree going to be? Because we have them all.

JD: Right. So you're speaking from a bit of experience and wisdom here, but can you step back just a little to when you first came over as interim and then appointed as the vice president here? What drew you to take on this challenge?

BJ: So that first lack of funding was a big challenge, so it didn't get started on the right foot and it grew slowly. And then in the kind of 2005, 2008, it slowed even more in terms of enrollment. And so there were some concerns that it wasn't being as successful as it could, and constant budget pressure. Every time the legislature meets; "why should we give money to OSU-Cascades when it's not growing very much, when these other universities could use that money much more?" And then you've got central Oregon over here that's saying "we're completely underserved. You're making all of our students drive 130 miles to go to a university."

So there were these challenges. And we had hired a new leader in 2008 and she did not work out; I don't think she lasted more than a year. So we had this open position and the provost, my boss, was trying to get somebody to come over here for a six-month interim position while we searched for another leader, which would have been the fifth leader in nine years at OSU-Cascades, so not a very attractive job. And nobody wanted it. He was asking all these people in Corvallis if they would be willing to come over for six months, and eventually I just felt like "gosh, he's my boss, I need to do this, I need to volunteer and offer to do that." So I did. I said, "I'll go over for six months and do that, but I'm coming back, so don't give my job to somebody else."

So I came over here and it was another one of those legislative sessions where they were threatening to close OSU-Cascades, you know; "look, your leader just lasted for a year, nothing's good over here, the community's really unhappy." The Bulletin was writing negative letters all the time, negative articles about OSU-Cascades and how it wasn't living up to promises. And so I stepped into all of that. And then the Ways and Means Committee was having these meetings around the state during the session, they'd try to go around the state and have these hearings so people can come and testify about where the money should be allocated in the state budget.

So that was in my first month here. And they were, of course, talking about closing the campus, and I think 600 people or something showed up at that hearing at Cascades Hall - and all these satellite rooms, because they didn't all fit in the biggest room that we had - and just testified about "you can't close our campus, you can't close our campus." And I was so impressed by all this community support that I decided I wanted to stay, so that's how I ended up doing it.


JD: And I think that's a wonderful illustration of what it seems to be your role is, both dealing with the academic university administrative side as well as a serious community component. Perhaps talk a little about how you've handled those two important aspects moving forward from your trial by fire.

BJ: Well that's really different, because my job as vice provost was very internally focused at OSU. But the provost office is focused on running the university, whereas the president is external. So here you're kind of playing both roles. Especially when I got here and we were smaller, I was much more involved in the internal academic decisions; hiring every faculty member, professor that we were hiring, I would meet with that person. And then over time, since I've been here, it's shifted more. And I also have to do all the fundraising and all of the community-building, legislative, all of that, those things that the president does as well. So you've got to kind of do both of those roles here.

But the community relations was job one when I got here, because it was so bad. And so I was going to every Rotary Club - there's four in Bend, there's one in Sisters, one in Prineville, one in Redmond - and then there's Kiwanis, and then there's Chambers, and so if I was asked to speak to anywhere, I did it. Yes, I'll come speak to anybody, anytime about OSU-Cascades. And going to all of the fundraising events for the probably three-hundred-plus non-profit organizations that we have here in central Oregon. I don't go to 300 but I go to one or two per week. You know, I'm going to these fundraisers whether they be auctions or concerts or whatever they are, everybody's very creative about the ways they raise money here. And the golf tournaments, whatever. And so trying to go and support all the other organizations so that when we need it they'll support us. And that really, I think, has made a real big difference, and a positive difference.

And so we had just, I think, overwhelming community support when we decided that we wanted to finally become the four-year university that central Oregon has wanted for all of these years. And I just read an old newspaper article from 2000 when they were trying to get this campus and they were given a consolation prize of the branch campus, and one of the committee members here from central Oregon said "okay, but the promise is that in ten years we'll have a four-year university, right?" And she was asking the chancellor at the time, of the Oregon University System, and it's like "yeah, that's the goal." So that would have been 2010, we should have had a four-year university, and now we're just going to have our first freshman and sophomore classes next fall, in the fall of 2015. So we're about five years behind on that. But just overwhelming community support for making that transition into a full-fledged four-year university. And then as soon as we announced where it was going to be, it's been nothing but a controversy ever since.

JD: And maybe just talk about that a little, because I'm sure that's been occupying much of your time and effort in the past year.

BJ: Yeah, and again, talk about stepping into a job you have absolutely no experience in. You know, I have no experience in land use, I have no experience in trying to do real estate transactions. And so the first thing I did was have a group of five of, I think, the very best real estate experts in central Oregon agree to meet with me, and we set up a map of everything from Redmond to Bend and said "blank slate, where should the university go in this area?" And first of all, there's very limited opportunities. We had hired a consulting firm to tell us how many acres we would need to have a nice compact, urban-integrated type of university, and the answer was forty to sixty acres. And so you get out a map; there's not very many undeveloped forty to sixty acre parcels within anybody's urban growth boundary.

And so we wanted to be in the heart of the city, if we could. That was the goal, was to have a more modern university where the students and faculty are very integrated into the fabric of the community rather than to sit on the outside of a community and have some of these town/gown kind of relationships and differences. And we thought—we studied millennials and what they want; they're much more interested in urban environments, they want to get out of their cars, they like walking and biking and transit. We wanted one of our kind of signature experiences to be this internship and working in the community. We want our students to get out into the community and do those kinds of experiences, and all of that is easier if you're right in the fabric of the community.


So that was the goal. And there is 130 acres just a half mile from where we're sitting here that is undeveloped right now, in the heart of Bend, and it's undeveloped because the majority of it, about 120 acres, is a pumice mine and a former landfill. So the ten acres that's clean and ready to go is what we purchased, and our hope, of course, is that we will figure out ways to remediate and gain ownership of the other 120 acres so that we can then have a very, much bigger than we need, campus. We need forty to sixty and we'll end up, hopefully someday, with 130 acres.

JD: And one of the pieces of this that's intriguing is there's a lot of talk and emphasis and action on online education. And so somehow that seems, perhaps, in opposition to say "no, what's really important is that we have a physical place where students and faculty and community gather."

BJ: I think that's a place that higher education is struggling in general, is where are we going to go in the future? And I don't believe that everyone is going to want to learn online in the future. And I still strongly believe there's a lot of benefit from learning in a group setting, face-to-face with a professor or instructor, and what you learn from your colleagues and as you're walking to and from class, who you're talking to, you're interacting with, who you're eating lunch with. As opposed to sitting in your house and doing your online education and maybe never leaving your house over the four years of your degree. Now there's some people where that's perfect for, and some people where that's the only choice they have. They don't have access to a four-year university or they have a job. Some people prefer to learn online, and I think we need both, but I don't believe that we are going to see an elimination of universities in terms of face-to-face instruction.

But I do think it is why I don't think we need 500 acres for a university in the future, because I don't believe we're going to be like the universities of the past. And we're already doing a lot of hybrid instruction where we only have the students come to class once or twice a week, and then we had them do a lot of their work online. So you're getting a little bit of the best of both worlds when you need fewer classrooms and you need fewer parking spaces. It can really help in terms of the infrastructure.

But the problem with us and online education is the online is all delivered from Corvallis. So any of our students that take an online class is revenue lost for us and revenue gained in Corvallis. And if we are expected to advise those students and register those students and kind of take care of them for four years, that's not going to work if all the revenue goes to Corvallis. So I've been thinking a lot about, how can we develop maybe more of a niche that we are going to be the face-to-face university? That if you want to do online then you sign up in Corvallis, and you can still live in Bend but you're not going to go to OSU Cascades. And what we will try to maybe focus on is for the parents and students that want to have the face-to-face interaction, and that type of education experience, then that's what we will do. I would love to be able to participate in the online; it's just, Corvallis already has it. It has that market. We can't offer the same class online, that would be stupid. So we are cut out of the online market at OSU-Cascades, for the most part.

JD: Well both that example, and you alluded to some others earlier, about both, I guess, the cooperation and perhaps the tension that exists between this campus, the Cascades campus, and Corvallis, and how that's evolving, as clearly Cascades is in growth mode, as is Corvallis. And I guess, both internally and externally, how does that play into your role and what you're focusing on?

BJ: It makes it really hard. And of course I had no appreciation of this until I came over here. Now I realize why there were so many leaders in so few years at OSU-Cascades, because it is very hard. And we visited our colleagues at UW-Tacoma, UW-Bothell, WSU-Vancouver; everybody has the same challenges. And so it's just kind of inherent that there is a mothership and there are these satellites, and there's just always going to be some tensions. I think that the benefits outweigh those difficulties.


I think there's no question we want to be OSU, we want to have that quality of the brand and of the educational experience; we're held to the same standards on our faculty curriculum, it has to be identical. I'm happy to take on all of those challenges to be able to say "we are OSU." Our diploma doesn't say OSU-Cascades on it, you know, it says OSU. And so there's just a few of these things that come up, like the Ecampus, that are literally intractable. And it's not because the Ecampus people wouldn't love to help us solve it. I honestly don't think there's a—they say "why don't you take your degrees that are unique?" of which we have maybe three, "and put those online?" And so we can do that, but all of the first two years of Bacc Core and general education are already online from Corvallis. So it ends up with maybe ten or twelve unique classes that we might have in a niche major, like Tourism and Outdoor Leadership, which is very hands on, I can't even imagine putting that degree online. So it's just, there's just some challenges that I don't think have easy answers.

JD: So we've been talking some about challenges, I would like to give you an opportunity to talk about what the successes are and what's going well and what you envision is really going to be a success in the new future.

BJ: I think the main opportunity for OSU-Cascades is to become this four-year university, because central Oregon is changing and growing at an unbelievable pace. And I think most people in the valley have no clue how fast things are changing over here or how big it is, because most people come over here to vacation. And you don't get the entire picture when you come over and stay in Sunriver or go skiing at Mt. Bachelor or whatever. And this is now over 200,000 people live in central Oregon, and it is the fastest growing area of the state. It is diversifying in a really big way with tech companies, and executives who don't have to live in any particular place.

So we're getting very wealthy entrepreneurs from mostly the Bay Area whose companies might stay in the Bay Area, but they're now living here in central Oregon. And there's a direct flight from Redmond to San Francisco, takes about an hour, and those people will fly down there maybe Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then live here the rest of the time. Or they'll stay here for the majority of the time and just work online. And then a few of them will bring maybe more of their leadership team here, even though their base of operations is there, and so there's incredible talent, incredible wealth, here in central Oregon that most people, I think, are completely unaware of.

So now you've got—you also have a very growing K-12 population. So some people think "oh, it's a bunch of retirees, second home owners;" we were adding the equivalent of an elementary school every year here in central Oregon. That was the growth in our K-12 population. Even through the recession, central Oregon grew, even though our jobs were more severe than anywhere in the valley. People were still moving here without jobs, because they just want to live in central Oregon. So our K-12 population is growing like crazy, and 60% of those students who graduate and go to college choose to go to a four-year university. So they're all leaving central Oregon.

So I think the opportunity here to build a compelling, successful four-year university is just unbelievable. Again, it's a wonderful place that students would love to be in while they go to the university. And there still is, like you mentioned, with online education anybody could move here and get a degree from any online university. I mean you don't have to go to OSU-Cascades to get a degree in central Oregon if you're willing to get your degree online. Eastern Oregon has online degrees, Stanford, everybody has online degrees, so you could do that. So our challenge is, how do we differentiate ourself? What's our market that we're going to try to target here? And I still think that there's a huge role as universities for students to make that transition away from their home to a life on their own, and I think a lot of parents still value that. They want to send their kids somewhere where there will be some degree of supervision and advising and help and overseeing those kids at least for their freshman year, but probably for all four years. There's definitely a support structure around those kids. And so I think that there will always be a market for a residential university experience. And again, if you were going to do that somewhere, where better than central Oregon, which has so many amenities?


JD: As I've been preparing not only for your interview but a couple of other OSU emeritus professors or existing professors, or an alum, it seems like there seems to be a fair amount of women in leadership roles associated with OSU-Cascades. Is that an accurate perception, or an inaccurate perception? Or at OSU in generalm is that changing from perhaps when you came and it was a little unique to have?

BJ: Well it's 100% here, so I guess you'd say we have a lot of women in leadership here. I'm trying to think - I don't think any of those have changed from man to woman. Since I've been here we've added a couple of leadership, I think we've added three leadership positions since I've been here, and they were all filled by women. Two of those were on the academic side, one was an internal search, one was an external search, and then our vice president for finance and administration is a woman that got added since I was here, but she replaced a woman who was in charge of administration at that time too. So I don't know how it happened; the first two leaders of OSU Cascades were men, and then we had the very short term woman.

And I do think that women leaders are probably more likely to hire women than men leaders, just because we're all human beings, right? And we might understand more what that résumé looks like, how it got to where it is, what people's strengths and weaknesses are as women, and I don't think there's anything wrong or right about that. I would be happy if half my leadership team were men. I think diversity is good. I think we'd be better if we had some gender diversity in our leadership team, but you also have to, of course, hire the best person that applies. And here we don't get a lot of applicants for those kinds of positions, because there's not - again, in Bend there's no other university, so there's not a whole pool of people who might be looking to switch positions or things like that. And being a start-up and so small, it's hard to attract people from other places.

At the university, in terms of OSU, I think it was many years before we started getting women in leadership positons while I was there. And we have never had a woman president at OSU, we've never had a woman provost, I don't believe, at OSU. So it's one thing to have some of these vices be women, it's another to say, "who's at the top?" And so I'm kind of waiting for OSU to have somebody at the top, at a leadership position, be a woman. And we'll see. It certainly is changing at universities around the country; it's not unusual anymore to have women there.

It certainly has been more women at the dean's level than there were when I first got here. It used to be, kind of, Home Economics was the only college that had a woman dean, and then Liberal Arts and maybe Education, what you would consider traditional women's fields. But then Tammy Bray came as the dean of Health and Human Sciences and set the world on fire, and Ilene Kleinsorge did a great job in the College of Business. And so I think, in general, it started to change a little bit, but it's still hard to get women to the very top. It's very easy to get them to the level just below the top. And that's what we're good at, right? Assisting [laughs].

JD: Change happens slowly. There's a couple of other things that you've been involved with that I think would be important to capture here as well, in part I think because they draw on your economics background. And one is that, for many years, you were on the governor's council of economic advisors. And for many years now you've been a board member of EDCO, or the Economic Development for Central Oregon. Talk a little about those two different organizations, why they're important, and why you were involved with them, and what you've contributed to them.


BJ: Well the governor's council of economic advisors was very interesting. It wasn't something I had any experience with or even knew what they were doing when they invited me to become a member, and they're basically in charge of forecasting the state economy. And if you're familiar with our kicker law?

JD: Mhmm.

BJ: You have to forecast two years in advance where we're going to be at the end of the legislative session, and if you're off by two percent you have to give all the money back. And you don't have to just give the amount you're over two percent, you have to give all of it back. And of course that is very - it plays havoc with budgets. And so when times are good you're giving money back, and then when times are bad it's not like there's a pool to draw from. So if we take that two percent kicker and put it in a pool for when we need it, wouldn't that be better? And we could stay nice and—but no, we give it back to the taxpayers. So, political statement.

Anyway, so the state has to forecast. It's totally unrealistic, nobody can forecast a state economy for two years in advance. So they have this group of advisors that are mostly bank economists, because bank economists are the most involved in forecasting, but they knew that tourism was a big part of Oregon's economy and they thought maybe we should have somebody who knows something about the tourism economy in the state of Oregon on the governor's council of economic advisors. Because the whole point is, is it going to go up, is it going to go down? And that wasn't really my area of expertise - I'm not a macroeconomist, I'm a microeconomist. And I have to say, I think they wanted a woman on the governor's council of economic advisors; all levels of government at that time were thinking about gender diversity. And it was super fun. I really enjoyed it. I loved the people that were on there, I learned way, way more than I contributed, and that was fine with me.

I did not, again, I didn't forecast the tourism economy, so I'm not sure why they wanted me, but it was really a fun job. And we only met quarterly, got to see kind of how these models were working, and we would all give our opinion and they'd have to then set the mark of where the state economy was going to be. And certainly, while I was on it, I'm sure we had some kickers, so we were wrong. And I'm sure we had some on the other side where we were wrong as well. But it was just a, it was really a learning experience. And there's just a lot of different times you get on committees and boards, sometimes you're a contributor and sometimes you're soaking it all in and learning. And that was definitely more on the learning side.

With EDCO, EDCO here is our economic development organization that's all about recruiting and getting companies to stay in central Oregon. So it's a move/stay/grow kind of thing. And their executive committee and their board of advisors are mostly at that strategic level. They have a whole staff that gets involved, so if a company from the Bay Area is thinking about coming and moving here, they might work with them for two or three years, like the Apple and Google in Prineville. Totally secret, nobody gets to know about it till it's a done deal. But there's all these land use permits and how many taxes will Prineville be willing to give up to have a Facebook data center here? All those negotiations. So their staff is doing all of that kind of work trying to help businesses, and you can imagine they probably work with a hundred businesses for every one they get. And so it's a very - again, interesting, not something I've got a lot of experience in. But in this case they want their board of directors to be connected to the community, have the pulse of the community, and so I think in that regard it's a much better fit. I think I'm more of a contributor there than I was at the governor's council of economic advisors.

But the university's also a huge role in recruiting companies and getting companies to stay here. And when I first got here, EDCO was very disappointed with where OSU-Cascades was. They were actively trying to recruit a private university here because we were so slow; "when are you going to become a four-year university? That's all we hear from when we're trying to recruit a company, 'do you have a university?'" "Well, we have this branch campus. I know, not the same thing." So as soon as I got here, I tried to repair that relationship, and they've become a fantastic supporter of OSU-Cascades. They dropped their efforts to recruit a private university and we added an engineering degree and a computer science degree, just because they were telling us "this is what we're hearing from companies." And so they're pretty happy with us now, and we're happy with them, and it's been a good relationship.


JD: Well I want to give you a chance to just kind of sum up here as we close; just your final recollections about your career to date at OSU, and/or thoughts for the future of the institution, and yourself.

BJ: It's kind of fun to reflect on thirty-two years of how OSU has changed, because it really has changed quite a bit. And I hadn't thought about my little tea at Mrs. MacVicar's house in quite a while. And so there's no question that women faculty, women administrators are far more common and more respected and more just part of the university than they were when I first got here. And so I think there's been tons of progress that way. There's still progress to be made - we have an ADVANCE grant at OSU now that's focused on advancing women in STEM fields, in particular. We certainly don't have representation in all colleges where we might like to have it. We don't have any—I think we've had one woman graduate in our engineering degree that we have here at OSU-Cascades. So even with an all-women leadership team, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to recruit the women students that you'd like across all the different disciplines.

But I think we've made great strides that way. Like I said, I think OSU, financially, is in the best situation it's been since I've been there. I feel like there's a huge shift from a culture of not having what you need and what you want to be able to grow and develop your programs, to actually having resources to do things over and above. And again, it's not universal across the university, but we've added at least thirty faculty positions every year, I think, for the last four or five years, while other universities were cutting, cutting, cutting. Look what's going on in Wisconsin and Mississippi right now, where higher education is just getting axed. So I think there's a lot of successes to point to at OSU. And we're getting more than our fair share of high achieving students from the Portland area, so I think OSU is becoming a little bit of that school of choice for high achieving, especially because of our engineering programs that are there. A lot of those high achieving students want to go into engineering. And even our athletic programs finally are looking like they might be having a little bit success.

It's always been interesting, since I've been there, to feel like you're the maybe less well-off of the two universities. They had a lot more out of state students than we had for many years, which gave them a lot of money, of course, to work with. They've had the Nike machine helping them with all of their image and their advertising. They've had very successful, aggressive presidents that had a lot of clout at the state level. And so it's been interesting now, in the last five years, as they've had four presidents in the last five years, I think, and we've had a lot of stability and we've had a lot of success. We still don't beat them on the athletic field but I feel it's felt really different at OSU. And I think that's really good, to feel that you have a university that people, I think, are really proud of and feel like you're going somewhere.

JD: This has been great to capture your recollections, and thank you so much for your time, Becky.

BJ: Yeah, happy to do it. It's been fun to think back on some of that stuff.



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