Ten SOU trustees appointed and confirmed
Three new and seven continuing members have been appointed by Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed today by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Board of Trustees of Southern Oregon University.
The new trustees are Brent Barry, superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District; SOU faculty member Andrew Gay; and SOU alumna Christina Medina, regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp.
“The Board of Trustees is truly excited to welcome aboard these exceptionally qualified individuals,” said Daniel P. Santos, the board’s chair. “Each will add a unique perspective and expertise to the university’s governing board. I appreciate Gov. Brown’s appointment and legislators’ confirmation of these community leaders, whose service will enable the university to continue to meet the needs of our students and the challenges of higher education.”
Returning to serve additional terms as trustees are Lyn Hennion and Bill Thorndike, who have served on the board since its inception; Sheila Clough, who was appointed to fill a vacancy and then completed a full, four-year term; Jonathon Bullock, Shaun Franks and Barry Thalden, who have completed their initial terms on the board; and Debra Fee Jing Lee, who was appointed last year to fill a board vacancy.
The terms of all of the new and reappointed trustees begin July 1 and run through June 30, 2026, except for that of faculty member Gay, whose term, by law, is two years.
Outgoing SOU faculty member Deborah Rosenberg and non-faculty staff member janelle wilson, as well as community members Paul Nicholson and Steve Vincent, are completing their service June 30 as members of the SOU Board of Trustees.
“I sincerely thank these trustees who have given SOU two full terms of service and are now retiring from our board,” Santos said. “We are a stronger SOU today because of their service, dedication, guidance and expertise.”
Continuing trustees are Santos, an SOU alumnus from Salem, and SOU student member Mimi Pieper. Non-faculty staff member Katherine Cable, a registration systems analyst at SOU, was appointed in February to the board’s SOU staff position and will begin her term July 1. One vacant seat on the SOU board will be filled at a later date.
“Each of our trustees – new, continuing or retiring – demonstrate their outstanding commitment to SOU,” President Rick Bailey said. “These trustees all have essential roles in helping us to steer this beautiful ship. Under their watch, our university embraces opportunities, negotiates challenges and commits each day to excellent service to our students and community. We all look forward to moving the university forward under their leadership.”
SOU was granted authority by the state to form its own independent Board of Trustees beginning July 1, 2015, following the legislature’s dissolution of the Oregon University System and State Board of Higher Education. SOU’s board is responsible for governance and oversight of the university.
Trustees are gubernatorial appointees, subject to confirmation by the Oregon Senate. As many as 11 at-large trustees serve four-year terms and one position each is reserved for an SOU student, a faculty member and a non-faculty staff member, each of whom serve two-year terms. The university president serves in a non-voting, ex officio capacity on the board, bringing total membership to 15.
Barry has served five years as superintendent of the Phoenix-Talent School District, and a total of 18 years in various roles with the district. He was named the Oregon Superintendent of the Year for 2022 by the Oregon Association of School Executives (OASE) and the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators (COSA). Barry was vice principal and athletic director at Phoenix High School, then principal at the district’s Orchard Hill Elementary and finally assistant superintendent for academics and student programs before being promoted to superintendent in 2017. He has also taught health and math in Prineville, Oregon City and Medford. He was born and raised in the Rogue Valley, attending Medford schools and then earning his bachelor’s degree at Linfield College and his Master of Education degree at SOU. He currently serves on the boards of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA and Rogue Power Pack, and is a member of the Bear Creek Valley Rotary Club.
Gay is an associate professor and chair of Communication, Media & Cinema at SOU, teaching digital cinema courses in storytelling, screenwriting, directing, producing, production management, film festival programming, career design and development, and short film production. He earned the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2021. Gay is an active scholar and media artist, with a variety of recent academic and creative works to his credit. He is the former board president of Film Southern Oregon, sits on the board of the Oregon Media Production Association, is a programmer for the Ashland Independent Film Festival and serves on the Teaching Committee for EDIT Media (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Teaching Media). He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy/religion from Flagler College, and both a bachelor of fine arts degree in film production and a master of fine arts degree in film and digital media from the University of Central Florida.
Medina is the regional business manager for Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp for Jackson County and northern California’s Del Norte County, and is responsible for managing the accounts of significant customers and performing governmental affairs, economic development and community and stakeholder relations functions. She has served 20 years in the electric utility industry and is bilingual in Spanish. Medina earned her bachelor’s degree at SOU in innovation and leadership, with a minor in psychology. Her volunteer roles include service on the board of directors for Asante Hospital System, as an Oregon American Leadership Forum fellow, president of Remake Talent, co-convener of R3V Reimagine Rebuild Rogue Valley, co-chair of the Medford Vision Task Force, community advisory council member for Rogue Retreat and executive board member for the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.