By Peter Wong
April 22nd, 2014
Mark Weiss is stepping down next year as president of Western Oregon University, where he has been in top positions for a decade.
The Oregon Board of Higher Education voted last week to draw up guidelines for a search for Weiss’s successor, and also for the presidency of Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. The board named Vice Chancellor Jay Kenton on Friday to be interim president of the Eastern Oregon campus.
A WOU spokeswoman, Denise Visuano, said that Weiss hopes to retire after the establishment of an institutional board — which may have a hand in choosing his successor — and the appointment of a successor. She anticipates the process will take a year.
During the decade that Weiss held top positions, WOU has enjoyed a resurgence with its guaranteed-tuition plan — an option that keeps undergraduate tuition rates stable for four years — and an emphasis on recruiting students who are the first from their families to attend college.
In fall 2005, WOU’s total enrollment was 4,879; in fall 2012, the latest posted on the university system’s website, it was 6,187. Full-time equivalent students rose from 4,106 to 5,106. Overall system enrollment increased from 80,888 to 101,393 during those seven years.
Weiss had been WOU’s executive vice president for finance and administration since 2005 when in mid-2011, the state board named him interim president to succeed John Minahan. Minahan retired after leading WOU for six years. Minahan had retired as provost, the chief academic officer, before returning as interim president in 2005.
The board removed “interim” from Weiss’s title in 2012, but set a presidential term of two years.
Weiss came to WOU via private industry, instead of academia. He spent 17 years with Siemens, the global electronics firm, as a senior vice president of administration and finance, worldwide chief financial officer and corporate director of Siemens Power. He also was a senior manager and certified public accountant with the KPMG Peat Marwick accounting firm in New York.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/animal science and a master’s in business administration, both from Rutgers University.