Edward J. Ray, Oregon State University’s president since July 2003, announced today that he will step down as OSU’s president when his current five-year contract ends on June 30, 2020.
Ray is OSU’s 14th president and is Oregon’s longest-serving public university president. When he leaves office after 17 years of service, he will be Oregon State’s 4th longest-serving president since the university was founded in 1868.
“I have had the great honor and joy to serve as Oregon State University’s president,” Ray said. “The timing for this transition is excellent. We have just adopted a new chapter in our strategic plan that will guide the university for the next five years, and we also will be directed by our statement of aspirations: Vision 2030 – Distinction, Access and Excellence.”
Ray also noted that the university recently completed a comprehensive self-study as part of a seven-year accreditation process that will continue over the next few weeks with an external accreditation team visiting OSU in April. OSU also has developed a 10-year business forecast and 10-year capital planning forecast to help guide university decisions.
“Personally, my health is very good,” Ray said. “Yet, I will be almost 76 years old when I step down. I believe my job includes my best efforts to assist the university and its board of trustees in making the transition to new leadership.”
Over the next few weeks, Rani Borkar, chair of Oregon State’s board of trustees, will announce the process and timeline for selecting a new president.
Under Ray’s leadership, OSU has transformed in many ways, becoming an internationally recognized public research university. Additionally, the university:
· Celebrated its 150th anniversary with a 15-month celebration that engaged Oregonians throughout the state;
· Completed a $1.142 billion capital fund-raising campaign—its first ever;
· Grew grant-funded research to exceed all of Oregon’s public comprehensive universities combined. In 2018, grant-funded research at Oregon State totaled $382 million – the university’s second-best year ever; and
· Invested in excellence in academic, research, and outreach and engagement services.
For the fifth consecutive year, Oregon State is Oregon’s largest public university with more than 32,000 students. More than 6,500 students take courses exclusively online through the Ecampus program, currently ranked as the nation’s third best undergraduate online degree program by U.S. News & World Report. Additionally, OSU’s College of Forestry is ranked No. 2 in the world; its graduate robotics’ program, No. 4 in the nation; and its oceanography program is ranked No. 3 globally.
“I am very proud of Oregon State’s students and I believe that our graduates are the university’s greatest contribution to the future,” Ray said.
Under Ray’s leadership, OSU has maintained its land grant commitment to serve as Oregon’s statewide university while becoming increasingly diverse. For example, 71 percent of OSU’s Corvallis undergraduates are Oregonians; 1,253 students are U.S. veterans; more than 25 percent are students of color; 11 percent are international students; and 6,192 are first-generation students.
“More than ever, OSU is a destination of choice – not just within Oregon, but nationally and globally for students seeking to transform their futures,” Ray said. “Our outstanding faculty are our strongest asset and difference makers by providing excellent teaching and research.”
Ray’s leadership led to the expansion of OSU-Cascades to a four-year university in 2015 and the opening of a four-year university campus in Bend’s west side in the fall of 2016.
Under Ray, OSU completed its first major capital campaign in December 2014 by drawing contributions from more than 106,000 donors. The campaign helped to build or renovate 28 OSU buildings; endow 79 new faculty positions; and created more than 600 new scholarship and fellowship funds for 3,200 students.
Ray came to OSU from Ohio State University, where he served as executive vice president and provost beginning in 1998. He was a member of the economics faculty at Ohio State for more than 30 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Queens College (CUNY) in 1966, and a master’s and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 1969 and 1971, respectively.
“My passion, and commitment to the mission, vision and values of OSU have never been stronger,” Ray said. “I remain certain that the best is yet to come for Oregon State University and those that the university serves.”