WOU Alumni Class Notes

Western Oregon Wolves
1970s Jim Healy ‘75, ‘82, retired last July after 39 years in education as a high school teacher, counselor and administrator, most recently at Southridge High School in Beaverton. He lives in Hillsboro with his wife, Mary. Jerry Moore ’77 has retired after 43 years in law enforcement, the last 14 as chief of police [more…]

An Inspirational Day for Western Oregon University

Map of the United States
Your monumental support of Western Oregon University’s 2020 Giving Day was absolutely amazing! Thanks to your belief in WOU students and programs, we all witnessed what happens when Wolves work together to make a dream become a reality. Because of you, Giving Day raised a record-breaking $140,629, exceeding the goal of $100,000 and more than [more…]

I Love You Emoji Began at WOU

Wolfie surrounded by hearts
For anyone who has texted the “I love you” handshape emoji, please thank CM Hall and Chad Ludwig. Hall, the co-project director of DeafBlind interpreting, and Ludwig, the director of RRCD, petitioned Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that regulates the coding standards for written computer text that includes emojis to have the “I Love You” handshape [more…]

Legacy to Western Oregon University football

WOU mascot
When he was eight years old, Blake Davis ’23 knew he wanted to follow in his great grandfather’s, great  uncles’, grandfather’s and father’s footsteps to play football at Western Oregon University. Erik Davis ’99 remembers the day Blake received his offer to play at his alma mater. “I told him although he’s a Davis, he [more…]

WOU Continues to Lead Nation in American Sign Language Education and Advocacy

Two people in a class
Western Oregon University’s Division of Deaf Studies and Professional Studies (DDSPS) is nationally known to be consistently at the cutting edge of innovation and excellence in its academic programs. Mark Girod ’94, dean of the College of Education, attributes the programs’ success to a dedicated faculty who are committed to access, equity and inclusion for [more…]

Gabbie Acevedo-Solis ’20

Future educator rises to all challenges  As a senior majoring in middle/high school education with a concentration in social science and a minor in Spanish, Gabbie Acevedo-Solis’ dream job is teaching Latin American history in a language immersion program. Given her strong work ethic and impressive grade-point average, that goal seems well within reach. She’s [more…]


1940s Macy (Elkins) Morse Alma Jean Watkins O’Meara (’42 bachelor’s) later known as Alma Jean Tipley (’65 masters) 1950s Don Carey 1970s Virginia Knapp Susan Esther Sproul 1980s Michael J. Mayfield 1990s Kathryn Meador Cheval 2000s Alan Boitz 2010s Donovan Gregg Marshal Leslie Evan Simonski-Davis   Friends of WOU Emeritus Professor Dr. Louis Edward “Lou” [more…]


1970s Linda Johnston ‘70 just completed 12 years of service on the Woodburn School Board. She has recently been appointed as garden coordinator for the First Presbyterian Church Community Garden. She works with students from Head Start through high school growing food for the local food bank. Sheila Daniels ’75, ’93, retired in 2017 after [more…]

Jeanne Carver ’75

Coach, teacher, businesswoman, and thrives on obstacles  Jeanne (Zumwalt) Carver and her family moved around a lot, following the timber industry’s demand for new access roads to logging sites. “My father was a road contractor,” she explained. “He started his own company. It was a startup way back in the ’50s.” Carver’s mother was a [more…]

Howl Writers and Staff Net Honors- from Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association

Western’s student newspaper was first published Nov. 5, 1923, under the masthead The Breeze. Early editors envisioned the paper as “an organ of expression for all the students” and a way to improve the school, urging fellow students to subscribe so the paper could become a self-sustaining, student-led enterprise. That goal was reached in March [more…]

New Faces on Campus

This summer, Western Oregon University welcomed the new Dean of Library and Academic Innovation Michelle “Chelle” Batchelor. Her work at WOU will be focused on innovative academic resources that meet the demands of current and future students as well as support for faculty members who teach online courses. Batchelor had most recently been the interim [more…]

Big News: Western Oregon University in Salem

In the last edition of Western Edge, we told you about WOU’s expansion into Salem, where the university was leasing classroom space from the Willamette Education Service District. In September, WOU purchased a permanent space in downtown Salem: the historical Vick building on the corner of High and Trade streets. The building will get a [more…]

Community Builder: Bec Williams ’98

While pursuing a degree in health education with a minor in business, Bec Williams ’98 spent all four years at Western Oregon University working at Campus Recreation. Many years later, as owner of Eugene’s Playground Sports, which offers recreational sports leagues for adults, this experience has served her well. “I had a lot of skills [more…]


Wolfie holding stuffed aninals
1960s Cori Frauendiener ’67 retired in March from Maps Credit Union, where she’d worked for 35 years, most recently as director of education partnerships. The credit union has established a $5,000 scholarship in her honor for education students attending WOU.   1970s Steve Lamb ’75 has published the book Engaging Collective Will for Student Success.Steve has retired [more…]

In memoriam

1940s Lenora J. Bond   1950s Irene (Gerold) Hake Lafona Jensen Mardene G. Keveren Eugene O. Owens Betty A. Reeves Helen Richard Arlene Jensen Ross Raymond A. Scofield LaVerne A. Streight Harry F. Sievers Ella M. Swanson   1960s Elizabeth Bachman Jack L. Gorman Ronald G. Miller Rudy H. Sonnen   1970s James R. Ammon [more…]


Western Oregon University has been located in Monmouth since 1856, but in 2019, the university also planted its flag in the nearby capital of Salem. WOU’s second location is in the south part of the city, conveniently located and designed for students seeking to start or finish their degrees. WOU classes started in Salem in [more…]

Athletic training team builds on foundation

From left: Bo Johnson, Chris Thew, Alyssa Asay and Brandon Walcott-Ayers   Long-time Head Athletic Trainer Kurtis Kidd retired in 2018 after 30 years at WOU; that kind of longevity could be intimidating for athletic trainers who follow in his footsteps. The current team doesn’t look worried. They appreciate the processes Kidd created and plan [more…]

Honoring Tina Fuchs

Tina Fuchs
In February, Tina Fuchs, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, received the Kay Rich Lifetime Achievement award from the Northwest Association of College and University Housing Officers (NWACUHO). The award recognizes the contributions that individual housing professionals make as leaders and mentors throughout the course of their careers. Fuchs has served [more…]

Dyed in the wool Wolves: The Hamors

Donna and Clark Hamor recently became Sustainers with the WOU Foundation, but their support for the university goes back for decades, a fact borne out by Clark’s collection of time-hopping WOU clothing. Donna, a WOU grad from the OCE era who earned a bachelor’s in 1970 and a master’s in 1976, and Clark, who graduated [more…]

Dance program takes leap into future

Group of dancers rehearsing in casual clothes
The Western Oregon University Dance program has graduated hundreds of students into careers such as studio owner, dance instructor, professional dancer and choreographer. Starting with the 2019-20 academic year, however, students in the program will have two new emphases to consider, each with its own important path to a job in dance. “We always had [more…]

WOU Alum Strives for Stardom

Oregon City native Hailey Verhaalen ’15 left Western Oregon University with a degree in social science, and she said the concepts she learned during her coursework have proven invaluable. But she’s not working in social science at the moment. It seems her passion for music has taken her career path in a completely different direction. [more…]

Class Notes

1950s Janice Kenison Cole ’59 is retired and living in McMinnville. She taught school for 30 years in Salem, Baker City, Dayton and McMinnville before retiring 17 years ago. 1960s The work of late artist Rick Bartow ’69 was featured during August and September at the Newport Visual Arts Center. The exhibition, From the Heart: [more…]

WOU education excellence doesn’t take summers off

Western Oregon University hosts a lot of groups, conferences and trainings during the summer each year. While most of the sidewalks are quiet, some corners of campus are hosting Zimbabwean cultural celebrations or American Sign Language trainings or high school wrestling camps. In nearly every case, the gatherings happening on campus are educational in nature, [more…]

Challenge Accepted

Ryanne (Huffman) Whitaker ’19 is a hometown girl, having graduated from Central High School and playing three years at second base for the Western Oregon Softball team. She said that, during high school, she didn’t see college in her future. Yet here she is, three years later and about to earn her degree in social [more…]

Long-time WOU Employees Choose Retirement

Every June, popular WOU faculty and staff members choose to hang up their higher education hats and retire to a life of relaxation, grandkids and travel. In June 2018, a special retirement option prompted several employees who had been at Western for decades—and who have had countless interactions with students—bowed out for retirement. Depending when [more…]

Designing for the Future

The Western Oregon University campus may be filled with stately brick buildings that seem as though they’ve been in place for decades—and in many cases, they have—but in truth, the 157 acres that comprise the grounds and buildings continue to evolve each year. Last year brought the opening of the new Student Health and Counseling [more…]

WOU in the World

One of the priorities for Western Oregon University is high-impact learning opportunities. The university strives to give students the chance to get hands-on experience in their fields before graduation. In some cases, that means internships and practicums. In others, that means students volunteer in local or national communities to support residents while building life skills. [more…]

Around Campus

Veterans Services Earns Recognition, Grants WOU Veterans Support Services had a terrific winter, earning several accolades from multiple agencies. Most importantly, the WOU chapter of Student Veterans of America (SVA) won the Chapter of the Year award from among 1,300 SVA chapters nationwide. Student Shane Follett is the president of the campus SVA chapter. “Shane [more…]

Class Notes

Dorothy Coyle Blagg ’43, ’64 taught 32 years and has been retired for 32 years. In 2018, she will have graduated 75 years ago, and plans to attend the alumni dinner this year. Tobe Wolf ’65, ’68 was honored as a longtime coach and teacher into the St. Helena High School Athletic Hall of Fame. [more…]

Winter Sports Highlights

Men’s Basketball GNAC Champions GNAC Tournament Champions Tied GNAC record for most wins in a season (31) and set GNAC record for most conference wins in a season (19) Ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II and No. 1 in West Region Tanner Omlid GNAC Player of the Year West Region Player of the Year [more…]

New to WOU

Leanne Merrill, assistant math professor
Q&A with Leanne Merrill Assistant Math Professor Leanne Merrill, 29, joined the Western Oregon University faculty in September, just weeks after defending her doctoral thesis and, oh, yeah, getting married. The upstate New York native may be young, but she has an interesting story that illustrates the importance of challenging oneself and keeping an eye [more…]

Surrounded by Old Friends

Tree Campus Designation Highlights Thoughtful Beauty For many decades, the Western Oregon University campus has been known for its beauty, most notably tree-lined Monmouth Avenue, the signature giant sequoia and the grand, mature specimens in The Grove. That beauty doesn’t come without a lot of work, mainly from the persistent and thoughtful members of the [more…]

Collaboration for Commemoration

Friends Expand Jack Morton Legacy Jack and Mary Morton were fixtures on the Oregon College of Education campus from 1955 to 1981. Jack Morton was first the registrar and then dean of students. Mary raised their two children and worked for adult and child service agencies. But they were best known for their hospitality. The [more…]