Southern Oregon University's new president will arrive with high expectations, but the unanimous enthusiasm of SOU's board trustees for their choice gives us reason to think she will meet the challenge.
Dr. Linda Schott comes from the University of Maine at Presque Isle, a campus that shares some characteristics with SOU. Like SOU, it is one of seven state universities in Maine, and it, too, was founded as a teachers college. It is small — with an enrollment of just over 1,000, it's about one-fifth the size of SOU — but with a similar mission.
SOU search committee members say Schott emerged early in the selection process as a top prospect. Of the 77 initial applicants, she was one of 10 interviewed in Portland, and was an obvious choice to be one of the three finalists to come to Ashland.
Of the three, Schott was one of two holding the top leadership post at their respective campuses. The other, University of Indiana South Bend Chancellor Dr. Terry Allison, withdrew his candidacy. The third candidate was Dr. Michael Tidwell, dean of the school of business at Eastern Michigan University.
Like SOU, Schott's university has struggled with budget problems. Under her leadership, the campus took steps to counteract declining enrollment and cut costs without affecting academic programs and sought help from the state university system to erase a deficit.
We join the search committee and the Board of Trustees in welcoming Schott to Ashland, and look forward to her arrival.