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OSU Confirms New Interim President, First Woman In Role

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State University’s Board of Trustees has confirmed the university’s new interim president.

Becky Johnson, confirmed Friday, is currently the vice president of OSU Cascades — the university’s Bend campus, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

She will resign from that position to step into her role leading the entire university.

Board Chair Rani Borkar said Friday the choice to put Dr. Johnson forward was informed by extensive community engagement.

Johnson was nominated through a two-week process in which the board solicited input from the OSU faculty, students and staff, as well as outside stakeholders and community members. She will be the university’s first female president.

Johnson has worked at Oregon State since 1984 when she began as an associate professor in the college of forestry. She will be the university’s first female president.

She will serve as president starting in May for about a year, or until a permanent president is selected.

At the Friday meeting, Johnson discussed challenges of the past year including the pandemic, ongoing violence spurred from systemic racism, “and of course, our own university presidential situation caused disruption, significant hurt and awareness of interpersonal violence that impacts many in our community and society.”

She replaces former OSU President F. King Alexander, who resigned last month after reports of mishandled sexual misconduct at his previous university — Louisiana State.

Johnson said rebuilding the trust many felt Alexander broke will be a large part of her job.

“I think it starts with listening and building relationships across campus,” she said. “And really being committed to shared governance as we move forward with decisions and actions from the university.”

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