By Justin Much
Western Oregon University will go into the school year with a familiar face at the helm.The Oregon State Board of Higher Education on Friday appointed Mark Weiss as WOU’s interim president, replacing John Minahan, who announced his retirement July 13.
The school’s executive vice president of finance and administration, Weiss will serve as acting president during Minahan’s upcoming vacation and will transition into the interim post by the beginning of fall term.
Minahan has served as the school’s president since 2005, coming out of retirement to initially serve as an interim president.
“I stand ready to serve and to continue the fine work accomplished by President Minahan’s WOU team,” Weiss said. “My goal will be to facilitate and help our faculty and staff in their continued success in serving the needs of our students.
“Many exciting accomplishments have been achieved in recent years, and there is much more to come on the horizon,” he added.The Board unanimously supported the recommendation of Weiss.
As executive vice president of finance and administration, Weiss managed fiscal operations and planning for the university, working with the president, faculty, staffers and the campus community.
“Western Oregon University is a remarkably strong and unique institution that has been recognized under President Minahan’s leadership for its successful approach to serving diverse students,” said George Pernsteiner, chancellor of the Oregon University System. “The campus is at a point of high momentum, with dramatic increases in enrollment, and influx of international students, and success rates for underrepresented students in recent years that have garnered national attention.
“Mr. Weiss will provide the leadership to sustain and grow this momentum,” Pernsteiner said. “During his time at WOU, Mr. Weiss has become a part of almost every aspect of campus life, and will bring a strong understanding of WOU’s unique opportunities and needs.”
Pernsteiner said the roles of other key members assembled by Minahan will be crucial to Weiss’s capacity, including that of WOU Chief Academic Officer and Provost Kent Neely. Pernsteiner described Neely’s leadership as “critical.”
Oregon University System said Pernsteiner spent several days on the WOU campus recently, interacting with students, staffers, faculty and administrators to garner input before making his recommendation. Weiss came to WOU in 2005.
Weiss spent nine years as a senior manager and certified public accountant with KPMG Peat Marwick of New York, and 17 years with international electronics firm Siemens in positions including senior vice president, administration and finance, and corporate director.
Weiss grew up in New Jersey and was a first-generation college student from his family. He received a bachelor’s in biology/animal sciences and his master’s of business administration, with an emphasis in accounting, from Rutgers University. He and his wife, Meg, have lived in the Northwest since 1987, and have two grown daughters, both of whom live in Oregon.
He was involved in community activities inWashington before moving to Oregon, including serving on hospital, symphony, economic development, economic development, educational, and other charitable boards of directors.
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