Have you had the opportunity to meet SOU’s new president? If not, here’s your chance.
Dr. Roy Saigo was approved as the interim president of SOU in June at a meeting of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. The vacancy was created when Dr. Mary Cullinan announced she accepted the job as president at Eastern Washington University near Spokane.
State Chancellor Dr. Melody Rose said Saigo was the right leader for SOU at this time of transition for the university, saying he could unite the campus after several years of budgets cuts, retrenchment and reorganization.
President Saigo seems to agree with that assessment as one who unites when he said in a recent interview with The Siskiyou that “real behavior develops real relationships.” When we asked about his vision for SOU as the interim president, he referenced back to that motto, pointing out a few of the activities that he has participated in since arriving at SOU in July: zip-line, volleyball, white-water rafting, and football. This particular meeting took place at a social ‘meet and greet’ with most of the SOU Board of Trustees at the Hawk. But Dr. Saigo has been at numerous meet and greets around campus and in the area focusing on bringing groups together to rally around the common cause of Southern Oregon University’s success.
President Saigo’s vision for SOU revolves around creating appreciation. He says he wants to get to know the students and focus on their needs. Saigo says he not only sees that students make up the university environment, but he also recognizes everyone has a part, including the faculty, staff, and the community. He said that during a meeting with the custodial staff, everyone was wondering why the president wanted to meet with them. Dr. Saigo told them that they also have an important part in continuing this university, keeping the environment clean and safe for everyone’s overall health. As students, we also have a part in keeping SOU thriving, not only with our tuition, but also with our participation and appreciation of the university environment, a point which the President brings home often in speaking with students.
President Saigo says he’s proud of the relationship he built with the Veterans Affairs Domiciliary in White City, resulting in an increased number of veteran students attending SOU. Building relationships with the area community colleges, RCC and KCC, allows SOU to extend classes to remote campuses through hybrid teaching technology. This, according to Saigo, not only benefits SOU, but also the students who cannot commute to Ashland for classes.
Saigo does not limit his vision to the valley to SOU, as a former resident of a Japanese internment camp during World War two, he sees the importance of building international relationships as well. During a conversation with an official from St. Mary’s School in Medford, he says he discovered a need that could be fulfilled through the cooperation of the two schools. As a result, this school year,40 high school students from China will attend classes at SOU.
It’s just another way Dr. Saigo sees to build relationships on and off campus.