2011 District VIII Leadership Award Recipient

CASE District VIII named Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan the recipient of its prestigious 2011 Leadership Award. President Cullinan will receive the award at the District VIII conference in Vancouver, BC, on February 25, 2011 during it’s Celebration Luncheon.

Mary CullinanIn his endorsement of President Cullinan for the award, Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski wrote, "Southern Oregon University has been transformed under Dr. Cullinan’s leadership.When she arrived, the institution was struggling with declining enrollment and budget challenges. Dr. Cullinan was willing to make hard choices to re-structure the university, maintaining the respect and participation of the faculty and staff. More recently, she has created a forward-thinking strategic plan to guide the University’s future. Today, SOU is positioned as the public liberal arts university of the West, providing exceptional undergraduate and graduate education that is affordable and accessible."

"But perhaps her greatest achievement to date," writes Oregon University System Chancellor George Pernsteiner, "has been her relentless pursuit of a strategy that would reverse a decade-long decline in enrollment."

"She was steadfast in her efforts and unshakeable in her belief that Southern Oregon University would offer a pre-eminent education for undergraduate students," says Pernsteiner.  "The president’s prudent financial management, coupled with this year’s strong enrollment, signal that the university should be able to weather even the extraordinarily severe reductions in state support forecast for next year."

In November, SOU announced record enrollment numbers including a 26 percent overall increase over the previous year, a 46 percent increase in Hispanic students, and record student retention numbers.

"Awarding the CASE District VIII Leader of the Year in our district is always difficult, but this year was especially challenging," says Ray Au of the University of Alberta and the district’s current chair. "The pool of candidates received was among the largest and strongest we’ve had in years. The selection of President Cullinan for this award speaks to the caliber of work she is doing at Southern Oregon University and for the community it serves. We are fortunate to have her in our district."

Dr. Cullinan came to SOU as President in September 2006. Prior to that she served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stephen F. Austin State University; Dean of the College of Arts, Letters and Sciences at California State University, Stanislaus; and Professor, Department Chair, and Director of the Office of Faculty Development and the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching at California State University, Hayward (now CSU East Bay). Dr. Cullinan earned her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in Honors English from the University of Pennsylvania, and her master’s and doctoral degrees in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.