CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University's first woman president is beginning her term as chief of the state's largest university. Rebecca "Becky" Johnson was unanimously appointed by OSU's Board of Trustees in April following the public ouster of former president F. King Alexander.
Johnson started May 1 as the school's interim president, and will lead OSU for roughly one year or until a permanent president is in office. In a statement, OSU said that Johnson will be working to advance the university's "Strategic Plan 4.0" and the university's commitment to provide transformative learning, scholarship, research, and community service and engagement.
“I’m excited to engage with our remarkable faculty, staff and students in contributing to the powerful work of Oregon State University across Oregon, the nation and world,” Johnson said.
The timing means that Johnson will oversee OSU's resumption of on-site and in-person learning for the 2021-22 academic year.
“As OSU continues to adhere closely to local, state and federal public health guidelines, we will resume the university’s valued residential campus in-person teaching and extracurricular activities, and site-based research and OSU Extension and outreach programs,” Johnson said. “For students who can’t come to campus and online learners, OSU’s high quality response to the pandemic has showcased the university’s ability to serve learners of all ages and walks of life globally through OSU’s top-ranked Ecampus online undergraduate and graduate degree programs.”
Johnson also said that she will be working with faculty, staff, and students to contribute to campus safety, ensuring that OSU is an "antiracist, equitable and welcoming university community," and strengthening OSU's programs addressing violance and survivor support.
"We will learn from events at OSU and across the nation and world to advance the mission of the university in ways that always reflect the values of the OSU community and those we serve,” Johnson said.
From 2009 until recently, Johnson served as vice president of OSU-Cascades, the university's branch in Bend. She first joined the university in 1984 as an assistant professor in the College of Forestry.
Johnson directly succeeds Edward Feser, who has served as acting president since Alexander's resignation on March 23. Feser returns to his role as OSU provost and executive vice president.