Dear Faculty, Staff and Students:
I received news on Monday in a meeting with the chair of the State Board of Higher Education that my contract as president of the University of Oregon will not be renewed. I was told I could resign or accept the termination of my contract, which runs through July 1, 2012, and I am weighing those options at this time.
This turn of events is a result of the ongoing difference of opinion over the future of the UO. But meaningful change often turns on uncomfortable moments, and it is my hope that I will be leaving the university well-positioned to take advantage of ongoing reforms to our state’s system of public universities.
Since becoming the UO’s 16th president in July 2009, my focus has been on enhancing the education of our students at Oregon’s flagship public university. I have sought to do this by focusing on our critical public mission and tapping the brilliance and innovation that resides here among our faculty, staff and students.
The UO has had a leading voice in public discussions that resulted in this year’s legislative overhaul to the structure of Oregon’s entire educational system – from early childhood education through post-doctoral studies. Our bold ideas have led to the promise of additional changes in the not-too-distant future, including eventual consideration of our proposal for individual universities to form local governing boards.
But our primary mission has been to provide educational opportunity and academic excellence, and you have taken both to new heights. Enrollment is at an all-time high this year, topping last year’s record enrollment. Much has been made of our ability to attract out-of-state and international students, but we are also educating more Oregon students than ever before. This year’s freshman class is the most diverse and has the highest grade point average of any incoming class in UO history, and we have raised freshman-to-sophomore retention to a new level.
We are what great students look for in a university. We are different, and embrace difference. We have brilliant, dedicated faculty, cutting-edge research, and award-winning programs. Through careful financial stewardship we were able to give well-earned salary increases to faculty and staff. The UO’s research grant funding is setting records as well.
Even though the past 2 ½ years have been difficult economic times for our entire country, we have generated a quarter of a billion dollars in private gifts at the UO and we have half a billion dollars in ongoing construction projects.
One of my proudest accomplishments is the concerted advocacy for public policy, governance and funding changes to strengthen the university and the entire state. I remain hopeful that honest debate and the exploration of new ideas – whether academic or political – will be celebrated and encouraged.
I wanted you to hear this news from me personally, not read about it elsewhere. I encourage all of you to channel your energy into advancing the momentum we have built together. Thank you for the great work you do. I am intensely proud to be your colleague.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
UO President Fired!
Text from President Lariviere's letter to the campus on 22 November 2011: